Uber has announced new measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus in line with its strategy on strengthening its policy against the pandemic. The firm operates taxi-hailing services in various countries around the globe.
Starting on 18th May, its customers and drivers in Africa, Canada, Europe, India, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, and the US will be required to wear face masks. However, the UK is not included in the list due to the government position that doesn’t require people to wear face masks while in restricted areas.
However, United Private Hire Drivers Union has been advocating for mandatory wearing of face masks for drivers and passengers during journeys now that the government is easing its restrictions and working on a return to work for its people.
The drivers’ working conditions which he considers exploitative and lacking regulations has exposed them to immense risk. Several taxi drivers have lost income and those still at work aren’t well protected. He would like to see “Uber limiting the number of booking per vehicle to two and have a mandatory wearing of masks for both drivers and passengers.”
“As well as working with Unilever to provide drivers with free sanitizing products, Uber is distributing millions of masks and directly reimbursing drivers if they choose to source the PPE themselves,” says a spokesman of Uber.
They are also planning on a pilot program of setting up partitions in at least 400 cars in Newcastle, Sunderland, and Durham in partnership with AA. These locations were chosen based on having gotten buy in from the local regulator or city council. This move will help the firm understand how to safely move passengers going forward.
This measure has also been adopted by taxi firm Addison Lee which has announced fitting 4000 cars with perspex partitions. According to Liam Griffin, chief executive at Addison Lee, there is a need for safe and clean transport for both the drivers, passengers, businesses, and the general public as people return to work.
Transport for London has equally announced new guidelines for taxis and private hire vehicles. They advocate for social distancing with passengers encouraged to use back seats and drivers are encouraged to always have with them a hand sanitizer gel that has at least 60% alcohol.
On the use of a face mask and other personal protective equipment, they are waiting for guidance from the London Strategic Coordination Group before announcing additional safety measures.
Currently, there is no proof that shows that partitions in cabs will lessen the spread danger of spreading the virus. However, studies have demonstrated that using face coverings can help lessen the spread of virus infection. This is in in areas where it’s hard to keep a 2-m distance.