Uber and Ola will operate only between 7AM and 7PM in cities coming under Green and Orange zones
As the country starts its third phase of COVID-19 lockdown, various businesses have started operations with limited resources or by following strict guidelines. The latest entrant on this list is cab services such as Uber and Ola.
The move comes under a new set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that allow online cab services (not part of ‘essential services’) to operate partially in Green and Orange COVID-19 zones, across the nation. As for any other non-essential service, cabs can operate only between 7AM and 7PM.
In an official statement, Uber shared that it does not recommend more than two users (in addition to the driver) to travel in the same car. Furthermore, riders should travel only in the rear. Uber has also requested individuals above 65 years of age, pregnant women, users with ailments or comorbidities and children under the age of 10 to stay at home unless there is an emergency.
On the other hand, Ola has issued a 10-step guideline to its drivers and riders, dubbed ‘10 Steps to a Safer Ride’. Masks are mandatory for both driver and passengers. In fact, drivers need to authenticate themselves wearing a mask through their registered phone’s front camera before attending a ride request. In order to ensure one’s own safety as well as other users’, drivers and riders are advised to cancel a ride if either one of them is not wearing a mask or acts anything against the ‘new normals’.
As an additional step, Ola has directed its drivers not to switch on AC no matter what the surrounding air temperature is. However, Uber allows cabs to use AC but only in ‘fresh air’ or ‘outside air’ mode. The theory behind this is to prevent the recirculation of air (the primary medium of COVID-19 spread). Furthermore, customers have to load or unload their luggage themselves from the boot to maintain social distancing. At present, only Ola Cabs, Ola Auto and Ola Bike have resumed while Ola Share and Ola Outstation remain inoperational.
Both cab services have supplied masks, sanitisers and disinfectants to their driver-partners. Since the rate of usage would be much lower, drivers have been recommended to clean their cars after every trip.
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