Ride-sharing firm Ola have asked the UK Government to consider categorising taxi and private hire drivers as key workers during the pandemic, so they can access the same level of support as those currently considered as key workers.
In a letter seen by TaxiPoint, Marc Rozendal, Managing Director of Ola, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a very concerning time for us all and since March 2020 we have taken significant steps to ensure our drivers and passengers can travel as safely as possible with high safety and hygiene standards, at this time of global health concern.
“Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers (PHV) have worked tirelessly throughout the crisis to safely transport key workers and deliver essential supplies despite enormously challenging circumstances.
“In light of this pivotal role, I would ask the Government to consider designating taxi and private hire drivers as ‘key workers’. Drivers are working to deliver an important service but at present are unable to access the same level of support (such as childcare) that other transportation workers may benefit from.
“I understand that the Government is currently considering its approach for Phase II of the COVID- 19 vaccine rollout, after the most vulnerable have received vaccinations in Phase I.
“Given that taxi and PHV drivers are frontline workers delivering services in a public-facing role, I would urge the Government to consider the targeted vaccination of transport workers including taxi and PHV drivers in the early stages of Phase II of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Their services are a vital component of our transport infrastructure, and importantly, will play an important role in economic recovery post pandemic.”
Ola is one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies. Founded in India in 2011, they operate in over 250 cities worldwide and, according to the company, have delivered over five million journeys to UK customers since they launched in 2018.