An Abbotsford taxi company has implemented additional protections against the spread of COVID-19 to perform a much-needed services during the crisis.
Central Valley Taxi has installed plexiglass in all their vehicles to separate the driver and passenger, and equipped their drivers with gloves, masks and cleaning materials to wipe down their cab’s interior after each customer.
“The plexiglass seems to make the customers feel a little bit safer … It’s to make the drivers feel a little bit more comfortable too,” said Margaret Curran, officer manager for the company. “When they are picking up people from the hospital, picking up patients, you don’t know who you are picking up, but they still have to go home.
“The next customer feels safe because they’re away from the driver and the driver’s away from them… They make sure everything’s clean, disinfected, and on to the next.”
Curran said that people in the community might not be aware that some cab companies are providing service. She says that seniors, nurses and hospitals are some of their biggest customers at the moment.
“[We want to] let people know that we are still out there. We are trying to ensure that everybody’s safety is our number one concern,” she said. “We are out there bringing people for dialysis, we have seniors that are going to get groceries, we’re doing deliveries for the hospitals. They’re constantly everywhere.
“The majority of our trips are for essential services.”
Curran said that their 12 drivers – which is down from a regular 30 – are working around the clock to get everyone and everything to where they need to be. She says the dispatchers have to make tough decisions on what trips take priority.
“There’s some days where it could be up to an hour wait, because we’re looking after the most important ones first,” Curran said. “I’m going to worry more for an 80-year-old woman needing to go home, compared to a 20-year-old person – and we explain that to the customers and they all understand.
Nurses are also a priority.
“We’ve got to worry about them getting to where they need to go… And you can’t let a delivery of blood samples sit there for two hours; they have to go [first] as well.”
Curran gives “kudos” to the drivers still working during the pandemic, and wants to let customers know that the cabs will arrive.