8 April 2020

Taxi Firms Offering Services to The NHS and The Vulnerable

March 2020 brought what has been described as “unprecedented”, “unparalleled”, “greatest pandemic in history”, “the biggest threat to the UK economy”, “biggest threat to the UK SME sector”, “the biggest threat to the taxi market” and even “a scary flu pandemic” …. Whatever your interpretation is of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has certainly been a challenging time for UK (and world) businesses including the taxi driver.

It is amazing what people are capable of in times of adversity, the agile of mind or lateral thinkers adapt to the challenges set out before them and challenge the impact of this pandemic with British grit, steel, and determination and showing the good heart that keeps society beating on a daily basis.  Here are some of our take homes over the last couple of weeks:

Uber’s Response

Uber have recently announced that they will be offering 200,000 free journeys specifically for NHS staff, to help them get to work and back. All journeys of up to £15 will be paid for by Uber, as long as the person has an eligible NHS email address.

To view and apply for the offer, staff should head over to www.uber.com/NHS.

“The incredible nurses, doctors and support staff of the NHS are doing heroic work at the forefront of this crisis, and everyone at Uber thanks them for their extraordinary efforts”, said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

“We hope we can help in a small way with meals and transportation as they work tirelessly day and night.”

Gett’s Response

The Gett taxi app also offers £10 off to all NHS workers in London, during the coronavirus pandemic.  Gett is a Black Taxi app and is connecting NHS staff with Black cab drivers via the “Gett NHS” option within the app.

Duncan Burgess, Gett UK Managing Director, said: “London’s Black Cab drivers are the best in the world and it’s clear that many want to do what they can to support NHS staff members at this difficult time, while also getting a bit of cash in their pockets at a time when ride volumes have fallen. We’re very happy to provide the technology to make this happen. We will cover all the card processing fees, and the full £10 will go straight to the drivers.”

What Can Taxi Drivers Do During The Crisis?

It has also been revealed by a poll conducted by the taxi industry publication TaxiPoint, that 1 in 5 taxi drivers are still driving on the road amidst the pandemic.

Over 1300 taxi drivers were surveyed, with 79% saying they were choosing to stay at home. Many cited concerns over the safety of themselves and their families, and that they feel they fall into the community’s most vulnerable people within the pandemic.

With the ongoing lockdown, many taxi drivers have seen a significant drop in passenger numbers, with most of the population remaining in their homes. To make up for this, some drivers have started delivering essentials to the most vulnerable people.

Numerous drivers have also begun to ferry NHS staff to their work and back. Some have been doing this completely voluntarily, with others carrying them at heavily reduced rates.

The Department for Transport (DfT) have confirmed that taxi and private hire drivers can continue working during the coronavirus lockdown. However, they also urged drivers to stay at home whenever possible.

Paul Elliot, DFT Policy Adviser, Buses & Taxis Division, told local councils:

“Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear – people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave the house are set out in the government guidance.”

“Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as possible.”

“Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered critical workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of extremely vulnerable people may be considered critical workers on a case-by-case basis.”

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