The new public transport face mask regulations must be extended to taxis as soon as possible, Ireland’s leading e-hailing app FREE NOW has said.
While the company welcomed the new mandatory requirements, Free Now Regional General Manager Alan Fox said the regulations needed to be extended to explicitly cover the Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) sector (Taxi, Hackney and Limousine services) as a matter of priority.
Alan Fox, Regional General Manager of Free Now, said: “Taxi drivers and passengers continue to face uncertainty in terms of what is the best approach to safe travel in taxis, with many contacting us to request clarity on the current situation. The new public transport regulations fail to specifically state whether face masks are mandatory in taxis.
"Free Now strongly believes they should be in keeping with public health guidelines and we are firmly advising drivers and passengers to wear face masks. We are seeing a real increase in demand for taxis as we try and cope with the new Covid-19 normal which is encouraging, but the new regulations need to explicitly cater for Small Public Service Vehicles also and we are calling on the Government to rectify this as soon as possible.
"Taxis will play a vital role in helping better circulation to support economic recovery and as a vital transport option for our most vulnerable citizens. We cannot afford any sort of ambiguity around this going forward.”
Free Now introduced the Taxi + Screen booking option into the app on June 4 and encourages passengers to wear face coverings when travelling, not to travel in groups larger than two people, always to sit in the back seat, enter the destination before the trip and always to wash hands before and after travelling. The company has also been encouraging passengers to avoid paying by cash to limit the spread of the virus.