Lockdowns in the UK have become something of a way of life for many. What would have once been thought to have been completely strange has become commonplace. Whether you are talking about wearing face coverings in public places, maintaining gaps of two metres while shopping or not being able to visit friends and family in groups of no more than six, it can all seem a little normal nowadays and not alien at all. However, as we emerge from lockdown and the social distancing rules become less stringent, we all need to take some degree of caution. This is certainly the case when getting out and about which is why a full taxi service should mean taking the right steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
To begin with, booking a taxi will be best completed online or over the phone. There shouldn’t be the need to turn up at a taxi firm’s office and wait for a driver to become available in the waiting room. All this requires is a little forethought on the customer’s part, after all. Professionally run taxi firms must play their part, too, however. This means adequately manned phones and a reliable web or app-based booking service.
Booking in advance also means better planning on the part of drivers and their coordinators. Cleaning the interiors of taxis is a big part of professionalism in the industry. Few self-respecting cabbies want to drive around in cars with dirty upholstery, of course. However, in the post-lockdown world, customers will be right to expect immaculate taxi interiors. Wiping down surfaces and frequent vacuum cleaning should allay any residual fears customers might have, something that should be done between fares wherever possible which is why pre-booked services are so beneficial. Bear in mind, too, that clean cars is something that marks taxi firms out from most bus and train service providers where such frequent and thorough cleaning is much less viable.
Preventing Airborne Transmission
Expecting drivers to use face coverings is also something taxi firms ought to promote. Crucially, this should be the case even if the law allows for more relaxation. This is as much about self-protection as it is making customers feel more confident about booking taxi services once more. However, wearing a face mask is only one way to combat disease transmission. Aeration is the other. Therefore, wherever it is practical to do so, drivers should be encouraged to drive with their windows open. This does not mean they have to be fully wound down, especially in inclement weather conditions, but to ventilate the car enough to lower any potential transmissibility of the virus.
Although we know now that it is the airborne transmission of coronavirus that makes it so problematic, hand cleanliness is also a strong countermeasure that will help to prevent it from spreading. Therefore, anti-viral hand sanitisers should be made freely available to passengers. Both customers and drivers should use them routinely, especially when cash has been exchanged. In the main, however, contactless forms of payment will continue to be the preferred method for some time to come. With all these measures in place, it should be possible to operate a full taxi service in a way the public can trust regardless of where the country happens to be on its roadmap to recovery.