Uber driver barred from airport pick-ups for refusing to pick up potentially sick passengers

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A highly-rated Uber driver says that the company has barred him from picking up fares at Newark Liberty Intentional Airport after he refused to pick up passengers he suspected were sick.

Ralph Lieber has been driving for Uber for three years. He has a Diamond rating and around 6,000 trips under his belt. He also has received many positive reviews from his customers.

But Lieber is no longer allowed to pick up customers at the airport because he says that on five or six occasions he canceled trips with passengers if they were wearing medical masks.

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“It’s all about the principle and [Uber] was the one who put out the email saying we could do this, saying, ‘If you felt your safety was in jeopardy, you can cancel a ride,” Lieber says.

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Lieber is 67 years old and is at risk of contracting the coronavirus. He says that he is just being safe. He appealed Uber’s airport ban, but lost. He argues that he has followed Uber’s regulations, which state, "If you feel uncomfortable picking up a passenger for safety reasons, you can choose not to accept or cancel the trip."

Lieber says that without the airport fares he will lose about $300 a week.

Drivers who still can pick up at the airport say that they do not agree with Lieber’s argument.

“Everybody has a right to be picked up. If you choose not to pick somebody up, then stay home,” says driver Benny Skoro.

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Lieber says that Uber does not provide a threshold for how many trips a driver is allowed to cancel before they are blocked from accepting rides. He is banned for one year.

Lieber says that without the extra income, he will likely have to look for another job.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Uber for comment but did not hear back.

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