‘New normal’ ushers in Grab’s ‘no-touch policy’ in car services
MANILA, Philippines — Call it a chivalrous move, or maybe Grab drivers are just practicing self-care for the so-called “new normal”.
Once ride-hailing services of Grab Philippines resume, passengers will have to wear face masks at all times and will no longer be allowed to open and close the doors by themselves.
This, after Grab Philippines released on Thursday additional safety and hygiene protocols in its ride-hailing services to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) once it resumes its operations.
In an online media forum, Grab head of Transport and Shared Services Ronald Roda said its car services will comply with the two-passenger limit and cashless payment.
Passengers and drivers will also be required to wear face masks at all times. Vehicles must also be disinfected at the end of every trip.
Drivers must also install a barrier between them and passengers, Roda said.
Both drivers and passengers will also be allowed to cancel their trips, or what Roda called “valid cancellation,” if either of them is not wearing a face mask or not abiding by other safety protocols.
“Effectively, … if the passenger does not have a mask or there’s more than two in a car, the driver is allowed to cancel the ride,” he said.
‘No-touch’ policy and other measures
Under its guidelines, Grab drivers will have to open and close the doors for passengers, as passengers will no longer be allowed to touch the doors themselves in order to minimize contact.
Passengers will also not be allowed to book their rides for others for contact-tracing purposes. However, this rule may be set aside emergency cases. Grab cars will not be allowed to transport COVID-19 patients.
“They are required to show their booking code to their respective driver-partner before entering their assigned vehicle. However, exceptions will be made in specific cases of emergencies wherein the destination is a hospital and the account holder or companion was the one who made the booking,” Grab said in its statement.
Eating and/or drinking will not be allowed inside the car, Roda said.
Passengers and drivers will receive messages and notifications to remind them of the proper safety and hygiene protocol during their rides.
“Our focus is on safety, and we are leveraging all the tech that is necessary to the point of having to remind both passengers and drivers all the time, with messaging on the app and pop-ups that there are new rules to be followed,” Roda said.
Drivers have to undergo safety training before they will be allowed to ply the road again, Roda said.
About 20,000 drivers are expected to be ready for deployment once transport network vehicle service (TNVS) units are once again allowed on the road upon the easing up of lockdown measures.
Metro Manila and other “high-risk” areas have been under strict quarantine measures since March 17, which shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting May 15 to May 31.
The further downgrading of quarantine measures, or the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ), is looming after the metropolis’ mayors as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force against Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommended such to the President.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to make an announcement on the community quarantine measures on Thursday night. (with reports from Consuelo Marquez)
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