Ride-hailing firm Uber and automaker Bajaj on Wednesday announced they’re partnering with auto drivers to install safety partitions just behind the driver seat in 100,000 autos across the country. The partition would act as a protective barrier for restricting contact. The aim is to facilitate social distancing between drivers and riders for making travel safer in the new normal.
Safety kits consisting of face masks, hand sanitizers and vehicle disinfectants will also be distributed to 100,000auto-rickshaw drivers across 20 cities including New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and Pune. The other cities include Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mysuru and Madurai. Additionally, Uber has been leveraging its technology to provide drivers with mandatory specialized training modules via the Uber app on the correct usage of PPE (personal protective equipment), and sanitisation protocols for their vehicles.
Since the lockdown opened up Uber has resumed operations in more than 70 cities. “We are seeing green shoots and most importantly the recovery is strongest in our auto product. It is because of the price point, reliability and many other factors,” said Nandini Maheshwari, director, business development, Uber APAC, in an interview. “When you take an auto-rickshaw we want you to know that you will be hundred per cent safe and secure.”
Maheshwari said the partnership would help the firm to stay ahead of the curve and be ready to assist millions of riders with safe and reliable transport options in the ‘new normal’. Over the coming few months, she said Uber will leverage its close ties to continue to instil confidence in the driver-partners and provide peace of mind for millions of its riders.
“As our country opens up, we at Bajaj Auto are keen to assist our driver-partners in giving a safe ride to their customers,” said Samardeep Subandh, president, intra-city business, Bajaj Auto. “Towards that, we are reaching out to more than 100,000 drivers to install safety partitions and deliver disinfection kits irrespective of the make of the vehicle.”
To maintain the highest safety and hygiene standards, Uber has launched a comprehensive set of safety measures, such as the Go Online Checklist, a mandatory mask policy for both riders and drivers. The other such initiatives include pre-trip mask verification selfies for drivers, mandatory driver education and an updated cancellation policy allowing both riders and driver to cancel trips if they don’t feel safe.
Uber has also allocated $50 million globally to purchase safety supplies like masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant sprays for drivers. In India, the teams have already been distributing protective equipment to active drivers across more than 70 cities where operations have resumed. Uber’s new in-app safety feature will notify drivers to replenish their PPE supplies after they have completed a predetermined number of trips.