Those dangling bottles of hand-sanitizer might be more than just a courtesy! A small-scale study comparing swabs taken from rideshare vehicles with those taken in taxis and rental cars found that the rideshare vehicles had the highest overall presence of bacteria and other germs.
The insurance-quote site NetQuote reports on their study, which took swabs from three rideshare vehicles (of unknown brand), three taxis, and three rental cars. They then compared counts of "colony-forming units" (i.e. the number of viable bacteria cells present in a sample) in swabs of seat belts, door handles, and window buttons, as well as steering wheels and gear shifts in the rental cars.
All told, rideshare vehicles had 6,055,963 colony-forming units (CFU) per square-inch, about three times as many as were found in rental cars (2,000,510), and scores more than in regular taxis, which had only 27,593 CFU.
This is of course a very tiny sample, and perhaps these were just extremely clean cabs, but the study results are eye-opening.
As Business Insider notes, rideshare vehicles also showed the highest proportion of bacillus germs, which are "gram-positive bacteria," and which are connected to things like food poisoning.
This latest gross-out news is sure to send the germphobic screaming away from their ride-hailing apps for a bit, or at the very least leaping for the hand-sanitizer before, during, and after riding in an Uber or Lyft.
Meanwhile, Uber's having a rough second day on the New York Stock Exchange, with shares presently trading at $36.78, or 11.5% below where they closed on Friday, which was already 7.6% below the stock's initial offering price of $45.
Lyft isn't fairing much better following its competitor's IPO, with shares down 6% from Friday, at $48.