BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
Ground transportation firms Uber and Addison Lee are
implementing new safety measures for their vehicles as the UK begins lifting
lockdown restrictions and encouraging people to return to work, including the
installation of protective screens between drivers and passengers.
Addison Lee will fit Perspex screens across its fleet of
4,000 vehicles next week, while Uber, which is preparing to make 3,700 job cuts, has contracted the AA to install
partitions in 400 cars in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham as part of a trial.
Liam Griffin, chief executive of Addison Lee, said: “We know
there is significant demand from drivers, passengers, businesses and the
general public for more to be done to make transport cleaner and safer as we go
back to work – including calls for the introduction of partition screens into
private hire vehicles.”
Both firms are also distributing free protective equipment such
as masks to drivers, with Uber adding a feature to its app that requires
drivers in most of Europe, the US, Canada, India and Latin America to verify if
they are wearing a mask by taking a selfie when logging into the app as part of
a new “Go Online Checklist”. Riders will also be required to prove they are
wearing a mask and have washed or sanitised their hands before requesting a
ride and they will need to sit in the back seat only and open windows for
ventilation. The firm is also reducing the maximum number of passengers allowed
in an UberX ride to three from four.
Both drivers and riders can cancel trips without penalty if
they feel unsafe or if the other person or people are not wearing facemasks on
arrival. Drivers who repeatedly fail to wear a mask risk losing access to the
app to accept rides.
In the UK, Uber has partnered with Unilever to distribute
free hygiene kits including antibacterial spray and hand sanitiser to drivers.
The firm is spending US$50 million to purchase supplies for drivers around the
Transport for London has advised all taxi and private hire vehicle
companies to have riders sit in the back seats of vehicles and for drivers to carry a bottle of hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
However, it has not yet made any recommendations on the use of masks, gloves,
or partition screens.