UITP Director shares top COVID-19 tips for taxi operators and drivers around the world

As we all face the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, those of us working in the public transport sector are continuing to advocate for this vital and crucial service.

As operators and authorities work hard to maintain a minimum service, it’s clear that many vital workers in our society rely on public transport to get them to work, shop for groceries and care for the sick.

At UITP we’re thinking of the many people around the world impacted by the world as it stands. We’re continuing to work with our more than 1,800 members in 100 countries, remotely, to share expertise, best practices and good examples and also stories – connecting at a human level is very important now as we lose the opportunities to network face-to-face.

One particular area within urban mobility that I have long been a part of is the taxi sector. In fact two years ago my first book looking at taxis in the era of digitalisation was published. I have been speaking a lot lately about what the COVID-19 pandemic means for public transport, and with this in mind, I’ve written top tips for the taxi operators during these times, based on examples of good practice measures adapted by taxi sector in different countries.

Some examples of good practice measures from Taxi operators include:

  • Encouraging the use of taxis via mobile applications. This situation limits both cash exchange and facilitates the follow-up of those travelling in the vehicle.

  • Implementing QR Code for street-hailing. By reading the QR Code (depending on the passenger's request) to the passenger phone that gets on the taxi, s/he has both the information about the taxi and shares her/his phone number with the central system. On this occasion, it is possible to reach the relevant passenger when necessary.

  • The doors to be opened and closed by the driver while the passengers get in and out of a taxi.

  • Regular deep cleaning and disinfection of vehicles and make available disinfectant dispensers for passengers.

  • Establishment of temporary transparent screens between the drivers and passengers for limiting the interactions of drivers with passengers in line with social distancing standards.

  • Organising (online) training programmes regarding the issues to be considered during the COVID-19 process for all drivers and ensure that all workers receive the latest and most accurate information about COVID-19, including ways to limit/avoid transmission.

  • Checking the body temperature of drivers daily and asking them not to come to duty if they are not well/having symptoms.

  • Consider the option to use taxi drivers/vehicles for delivery works while the demand for regular taxi services is small but demand for home deliveries is increasing as more people work from home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

I hope that these tips prove helpful for those with a vested interest in the taxi sector. I’m proud to have many taxi services call UITP home. Our membership is varied and truly reflects what our industry is: a global family.

We must all support public transport now, tomorrow and in the future, as this vital service for urban living must not only survive, it must thrive. Our cities depend on it.

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