Sadly, Australia is yet to defeat COVID-19. This means social distancing rules and health and safety measures are still incredibly important – including those taken when hitching a ride. Today, the ABC reported that a Silver Service taxi driver worked while infectious around Sydney’s west and south west for eight days earlier this month.
The government has warned that “anyone who caught a Silver Service sedan taxi on September 7-10 and September 14-18 in Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra” could be at risk.
'You'd be safer on a train': What you need to know before jumping in a taxi https://t.co/A9LcBb9xKs
— ABC News (@abcnews) September 21, 2020
While Uber and other ride sharing services have offered extra hygiene measures to remain COVID safe, including mask and social distancing requirements – the question remains: if you have to catch a cab, how do you stay safe?
The Point to Point Transport Commissioner in NSW has issued a set of guidelines for operation of COVID safe taxis, which includes car cleaning tips and information on vehicle sanitisation stations.
However, clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at University of Sydney, Fiona Stanaway, told the ABC: “you’d be safer on a train, really.”
“There’s almost no one on the trains at the moment so you are more spaced than you can be in a taxi,” she explained. “Your risk increases the closer you are the longer in contact.”
How Do You Stay COVID Safe In A Taxi?
The Transport Commissioner in NSW has offered information to passengers, which advises you sit in the back seat, use contactless payment methods where available, do not travel if you’re feeling unwell and handle your own luggage.
To further put your mind at ease, there is also work being done to try and limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 in cabs. Following the case of the infectious Silver Service driver, the ABC reports that authorities would be working with the taxi and ride-sharing industry to introduce a mandatory “check-in” system for contact tracing, like the QR codes currently used at venues around Australia.
9Now reports that taxi company 13Cabs is also offering drivers easily-accessible, professional cleaning of their cars at pop-up TaxiTech workshops.
Clearly, it’s going to take a joint commitment and effort from drivers, passengers, the wider taxi and ride-sharing industry and even the government to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe during this challenging time.