We’ve come across a report by insurance comparison site NetQuote which states that ride-hailing and hired cars (Uber to you and me, although there are others…) are loaded with bacteria!
NetQuote commissioned a team to take swabs from seat belts, door handles and window buttons from three taxis as well as three ride-sharing vehicles. These are services that connect drivers with empty seats to passengers looking for a ride. Scientists then swabbed the steering wheels, gear sticks and seat belts from three hire cars.
Of the vehicles tested, ride-shares yielded the highest bacteria levels by far – more than six million colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch on average. The hired cars averaged more than 2 million CFUs, while taxis had an average of just over 27,000 CFUs per square inch. The tests also revealed that the seatbelts in ride-share vehicles contained 38 times more bacteria than those of the average taxi.
To put it in perspective, toothbrush holders contain about 2.1 million CFUs per square inch and toilet seats contain about 172 CFUs as claimed in the report.
The report doesn’t suggest giving up on public transportation to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful germs. Instead it concluded: “When you rent a car, take a moment to wipe key surfaces such as the steering wheel and gear lever with a soap-based wipe before you touch them. “And once you leave the cab or ride-share, wash your hands as soon as possible — and avoid touching your face until you do.”
Enjoy the ride, just make sure you wash your hands afterwards!