Italian taxi drivers call on government to provide passenger PPE to alleviate COVID-19 driver risk

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Italian taxi drivers have demanded government provide customers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to alleviate the risk to working drivers.

Uritaxi, a not-for-profit national taxi driver organisation, has made the call following the recent deaths of three taxi drivers working in Italy.

In a translated statement, Claudio Giudici, President of Uritaxi, said: ”The deaths from coronavirus of taxi drivers Angiolino Masserdotti, Giuseppe Allegri and Stefano Martini, require us to immediately request the Government to order the use of masks for customers.

“We have asked the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport for the equipment necessary for the protection of taxi drivers, but in response we have been obliged to equip ourselves with it.“

The taxi industry in Italy, like most industries in the country, has been hit heavily since the outbreak. Total lockdowns and no tourism has provided very little work to a once vibrant trade.

Last month a spokesperson from taxi union Unione Radiotaxi d'Italia (URI), who are members of European taxi industry representatives TaxiEurope Alliance (TEA), said the demand for taxis is almost at zero, but drivers cannot choose not to go to work.

The Unione Radiotaxi d'Italia said: “Taxis in Italy, as services of general economic interest, have an obligation to guarantee a certain supply of the taxi service, despite of the actual offer.”

The URI drivers' union also highlighted new measures brought in by the Italian Ministry of Transport that ensures taxi drivers provide their services equipped with protective masks and gloves. There is also a ban on passengers sitting next to the driver and no more than two customers can occupy the backseats at any one time.  

They added: “Some drivers have handcrafted transparent bulkheads to isolate the front seats from the back seats, hoping that this system will reduce the risk of contagion between the passenger and the driver.”

Image credit: Needpix

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