If you’re a taxi driver working during the COVID-19 crisis, you’ll no doubt be worried about your own health and safety as well as that of your passengers. The best way to prevent the spread of Coronavirus is to minimise human contact. But while many businesses, schools and public premises are now closed, there remains some demand for taxis in relation to reduced contact and essential travel, and of course taxi drivers can also help to bridge the gap in the supply of delivery services for food, pharmaceuticals, and other goods.
Here are some tips for taxi drivers to keep safe during COVID-19. Try and follow as many of these as possible and promote a safe space for you and your passengers during these challenging times.
- Hand hygiene – We hear again and again that ‘the spread of Coronavirus is in our hands’, meaning both that each and every individual can make a difference to preventing transmission, and that the virus is often contracted by hand to face contact. Wash your hands regularly, for a minimum of 20 seconds and with soap that lathers. During your shift use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Make hand sanitiser available to your passengers too, and ask them to use it on entry to your car.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands. Keep conscious of this by keeping them on the wheel.
- Wear a mask. Generally face masks are more effective when worn by a person with Coronavirus to stop them spreading it, rather than preventing somebody from contracting it. But that is not to say it does not mitigate risks, and many people also use face masks to stop the impulse to touch their face.
- Use your driver app to phone/text passengers to let them know you’ve arrived rather than calling to their door
- Do not allow passengers to sit in the front seat.
- Consider installing a perspex divide between the front and back of your car, if you do not already have one.
- Regularly disinfect your car by wiping down door handles, seatbelts and other areas with antiseptic wipes.
- Avoid handling passengers’ bags and other goods if you can. Of course, this may not be possible in the case of elderly or incapacitated passengers, so think about wearing gloves and sanitising your hands after helping them.
- Have a supply of tissues in the car to catch coughs and sneezes for both you and your passengers, and a bin with a closed lid to immediately allow for quick disposal.
- Let people know about the measures you are taking to protect both you and them from the spread of the virus. Put a sign up in your car outlining the steps you’re taking and ask them to please oblige by COVID-19 safety practices and etiquette.
- Cash is not king! Encourage passengers to make contactless card payments where possible, and if you do have to accept cash be sure to wear gloves/sanitise immediately after handling.
- If you start to offer deliveries be sure to do door step drop-offs rather than handing orders and packages over to people. This protects you both.
- Self-isolate. If you have come into contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus then you should isolate at home until the potential period of incubation is over.
- Follow your government or state guidelines. The COVID-19 crisis will be handled differently by different governing bodies across the world, with varying levels of security depending on the crisis timeline. Obey the recommendations given to you at all times.
There’s no doubt that these are difficult times for many people. While you will be concerned over a drop-off in income at this time, things will improve and the taxi industry will come back as the Virus subsides. For now, the most important thing is the health and safety or you, your family and your community. If we can all put that first by being individually responsible we will come through this together.