This Kerala taxi firm has a novel solution for driver's safety during Covid-19
As countries around the world prepare to loosen the fetters of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns, several institutions and companies are coming up with innovative ideas to adapt to the post-corona era. With easing of restrictions in India in the third phase of lockdown, vehicular movement has been allowed with certain guidelines but taxi services still face the challenge to garner demand.
A private taxi firm in Kerala’s Kochi, MGS Travels, has come up with an idea to install transparent partition in its cabs, covering the driver’s seat entirely. This would ensure required social distance between the driver and the passengers. The firm took this initiative after receiving suggestions from the Ernakulam district administration.
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Around 50 of the company’s cabs have been fitted with transparent polycarbonate sheets, with support of moulds, nuts and bolts. Another batch of 50 cars will be ready for use in next 2-3 days.
The taxi firm’s Managing Director, MS Anilkumar told HT Auto over a telephonic conversation on Tuesday that installing of these partitions makes the cabs 100% secure to travel. “The Covid-19 disease has been very disrupting for taxi business as most people are working from home and nobody is ready to use public transport or a taxi. Our initiative aims to overcome this situation in order to increase confidence level of passengers and drivers alike," he said.
The cost of covering the driver seat in each vehicle has cost about ₹3,000. However, the company now plans to make use of PVC plastic sheets to bring down the cost of installation to ₹500 per vehicle.
Other safety measures being undertaken by the firm are disinfection of cabs after every trip, temperature scanning of drivers and passengers, providing hand sanitizers and making wearing masks compulsory.
MGS’ cabs are currently being deployed for transportation of people returning to Kochi by repatriation flights and ships. They are also being used to transport asymptomatic people from quarantine centers back to their homes. The installation of a transparent partition between the driver and the passengers helps prevent the spread of infection.
A second model of transparent sheets, separating front and rear rows of a car, is awaiting government approval. “This model could help us accommodate three passengers instead of two as currently," Anilkumar said.