With the COVID-19 virus pandemic, different areas around the world are on lockdown and with more passengers choosing to stay at home over these last few months the already beleaguered taxi industry has been taking a beating.
Worse yet, taxi drivers are also exposed to potential virus carriers and they also need to clean and disinfect their taxi to prevent the further spread of the virus.
It can be downright scary to be a taxi driver at this time, but many, like me, are still choosing to work out of necessity. However, most taxi companies have taken extra steps in ensuring protection against the virus. Many now thoroughly clean and disinfect their taxi cabs at least once a day. There are also taxi drivers who do a bit of cleaning every after each passenger. Although this isn’t as thorough, they still wipe touch surfaces like car doors, windows, or areas that were in contact with their passenger.
Apart from the current threat of the virus, taxi drivers may find themselves in a sticky situation. There’s dealing with different kinds of passengers who are strangers, working even with harsh environmental conditions like rainy weather or poor road quality. Then there’s also the risk of carrying cash around. That being said, taxi drivers need to know a few of these tips to help keep them safer while they go out for their shift:
Inspect The Taxi
Before the trip, it is best to check the taxi’s condition. Different parts of the taxi should be inspected to prevent unwanted and surprise breakdowns in the middle of the road. While inspecting the vehicle, this is also the best time to clean the taxi thoroughly.
Invest On Equipment
A good relationship with your dispatcher is a good investment. The dispatcher can help you and save you from a variety of problems you might face. With a good relationship with your dispatcher, you can rely on them to assist you in your shift. They’ll be able to provide accurate information and keep you updated with whatever is happening in your surroundings.
Aside from investing in a good relationship with your dispatcher, there are equipment that you should invest in like cameras. Having a rearview camera and a dashboard camera can both boost your security. They can back you up in case your vehicle gets involved in an incident.
Your mobile phone is also good equipment to have with you through your shift. However, you should NEVER CALL, TEXT OR USE YOUR PHONE IN ANY WAY WHILE DRIVING. If you need to use your phone, make sure to pull over the side of the road or to the parking lot first. Even if there is less traffic because of the pandemic, there can still be accidents if you do not focus on the road.
Observe Your Passenger
Even if there are limited passengers at the current time, taxi drivers should still observe and read their passengers. Keep an eye on them if you think that they are acting suspiciously. However, be careful not to make them uncomfortable. Just be alert and be aware of your passenger.
Avoid Wearing Expensive Jewelry
Your expensive watch may be a gift from someone special but that doesn’t mean you should use them at all times especially while driving a taxi. Jewelry can just attract attention especially from robbers who may be looking for their next target. Also, don’t show your big wad of money when giving out the change to your passenger. Be discreet and don’t show them how much you got because they can be tempted to take it from you violently.
Take Time To Know Routes
Not all taxi drivers know the streets in the area they service like the back of their hand. However, it will greatly help if you know the potentially dangerous places and stay away from them. Alleyways and back lanes can be dangerous and the criminals would lure you there because they know no one is likely to see you get robbed or assaulted in the area.
If you think you are in that situation, don’t leave your vehicle even if the passenger tells you to do so. It’s for your own safety. In worse case scenario, head right over to the nearest police station and file a report of the incident. Your cameras will be handy at this time as evidence.
Knowing the routes or shortcuts can also help prevent disputes between you and your passenger. Most passengers think that taxi drivers know the shortest and quickest road to take and if you don’t, some will get angry.
Familiarize Yourself With The Emergency Procedure
Different cab companies have their own safety procedure in case of an emergency. It is best to familiarize yourself with them so you’ll know exactly what to do in case that situation arises. There are signals and call codes or emergency buttons that can vary from one cab company to another. Know them by heart so you’ll always be prepared.
Keep Calm And Control Yourself
Everybody can have a bad day and it can be quite common nowadays when people are feeling the stressful pandemic situation. However, you should learn to keep your cool and stay calm. Remember that violence won’t solve anything and a slight disagreement can turn into a huge incident if both parties don’t calm down.
Even if the passenger gets physical or verbally shouts at you, don’t do the same. Defend yourself and get other’s attention for help. Distance yourself and call the police.