Dragon Taxis, South Wales’ largest taxi and private hire vehicle operator, are offering free rides to help the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to elderly and vulnerable patients across Cardiff, Bridgend, Newport and Torfaen.
It is a similar story for the Veezu owned taxi and private hire operator V Cars who will be assisting vulnerable communities in Bristol, Bath, Chippenham and Swindon.
GP practices across South Wales and the South West are taking their first steps in the process to tackle the pandemic by vaccinating the elderly and vulnerable in the local community.
Both Dragon Taxis and V Cars are working with participating GP practices to offer rides only to those eligible persons who have been invited to make a vaccination appointment, if they have no other means of transport. The offer provides a COVID-safe private hire journey to the vaccination centre, and the patient has the option to book a safe journey home too.
For ease, the telephone operators at the participating GP surgeries will co-ordinate the free journey with the Dragon Taxis and V Cars dispatch centres using a dedicated web-based booking system. The system is designed to ensure that only the eligible persons who need it get access to the free rides.
It is hoped that the gesture of goodwill will benefit the elderly and vulnerable within the local community who, without the help of Dragon Taxis and V Cars, their vaccination may have been delayed.
Jack Price, Regional Director of Dragon Taxis and V Cars, said: “In these first few weeks of the programme, we are helping to assist the first wave of people get their vaccinations. We want to help our local community beat COVID by assisting those who do not have another means of transport.
“We don’t want to bring any additional pressure on the NHS or GP practices and it’s vital that people do not call their GP’s or NHS asking about free rides. Our offer is strictly on appointment only for those persons who are eligible.
“We’ve had tremendous interest within the local communities. We are also exploring the option of fixed rates and reduced fares for future waves of people who are invited for their vaccination. Even if you are not eligible for the free journey, we may be able to help you. This might be a useful option as public transport services are being reduced.”