Taxi drivers across Southend are receiving free face coverings, which they can hand out to passengers free of charge.
A total of 80,000 face coverings are collected, thanks to the funding from the government helping to give it to transport providers. Not just Southend, the taxi companies across Borough are contacted to see if they too want these free face coverings for their drivers, with 150 coverings for every licensed taxi.
Ron Woodley, the cabinet member of the transport, capital, and inward investment, said, “Whilst some restrictions have eased, we are still living with coronavirus, and we need to do what we can to protect others. Wearing a face covering is for other people’s protection and well-being, but sometimes it is easy to leave the house without one.
“So I’m pleased we’re able to support taxi drivers in this way and give them a little added protection while they go about their jobs.
Presently, in Southend, there are four largest taxi companies- AC, Radio Cars, 333444, and Andrews who can participate in the scheme and all the other independent operators.
Andy Rice from Andrews said, “So far with our passengers, there has been pretty good compliance, but this just gives our drivers an extra level of reassurance, knowing we have free masks to give out. Conditions are genuinely relaxing now, people are letting their guard down, and this is a good reminder to have the masks available.”
Meanwhile Krishna Ramkehlawon, the Director of Public Health said, “Please be mindful that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and others. Some people are more vulnerable to Covid than others.”
Earlier, in September 2020, Uber had made it compulsory for face coverings for its drivers and passengers. Uber in its press release mentioned that for the safety of everyone, face coverings are mandatory for anyone who is riding in Uber.