What carpooling companies, taxis, limousines, and other chauffeured passenger car rental alternatives need to know about the COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms usually include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of smell or taste. As our understanding of how the virus spreads evolves as more information becomes available, we encourage you to visit the CDC website for the latest information. The virus is believed to spread mainly from person to person.
Between people who are in close contact (at a distance of up to about 6 feet)
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks
Recent studies indicate that the virus can be spread by people with no symptoms. It could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus, and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not believed to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning about the virus. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying conditions may be at increased risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
As a carpool, taxi, limousine, or other rental vehicle driver, how can I protect myself and others?
As a rental car driver, possible sources of exposure include having close contact with passengers with COVID-19, or touching surfaces that a person with COVID-19 has touched or manipulated.
Stay home if you are sick
If you have a fever or symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider for advice and guidance before you visit their office.
You should not return to work until the criteria for discontinuing isolation at home have been met after speaking with your doctor or nurse.
Wear a cloth face covering
The CDC recommends using cloth face covers in public settings where other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain, especially in areas where there may be many infected people.
Cloth face covers can prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from passing it on to others.
These face covers are not surgical masks or respirators and are not suitable replacements for such equipment in workplaces where respirators or masks are recommended or required.
Avoid offering carpools or picking up multiple passengers who would not otherwise travel the same route together.
Ask the passenger to use the back seat; do not allow passengers to use the front seat.
If possible, avoid close contact with passengers.
Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from passengers when you are out of the vehicle.
Request that passengers sit within six feet of the driver when transporting passengers in large vehicles such as vans and buses.
Consider asking passengers to handle their own bags and personal belongings when getting in and out of the vehicle.
If you work for a company that offers a large fleet of vehicles, ask company management for a car / taxi (where applicable) that has a bulkhead between driver and passengers, if available.
Avoid using the air recirculation option of the car ventilation during passenger transportation; use the car vents to allow fresh air to enter and / or roll down the vehicle windows.
Avoid offering items like water bottles or magazines that are often provided free to passengers.
Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers or other drivers, such as door frames / handles, windows, seat belt buckles, steering wheel, gear shift lever, signaling levers and other parts of the vehicle before cleaning and disinfecting them.
Clean and disinfect
Get and keep a cleaning sprayer with sanitizer or disposable wipes and trash bags on hand in your vehicle.
Follow the directions on the cleaning product label.
If the surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned with soap and water or detergent before disinfecting them.
At a minimum, clean and disinfect frequently touched vehicle surfaces at the beginning and end of each shift, and between each transfer of sick passengers.
Disinfectants suitable for hard, non-porous surfaces include:
EPA registered antimicrobial products to use against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus external site icon
Diluted household chlorine bleach solutions prepared and used according to manufacturer’s label disinfection instructions, if suitable for the surface
Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Implement daily preventive measures
Avoid touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Proper hand hygiene is an important measure to control infections. Keep in mind where you can access and use soap and water facilities during your shift. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Key times when you should wash your hands include:
Before, during and after preparing meals
Before and after using the bathroom
After cleaning your nose, coughing, or sneezing
Other times when you should wash your hands at work include:
Before starting and at the end of work shifts
Before and after breaks at work
After handling passenger personal effects, if unavoidable
Between each transfer and after handling / exchanging money
After putting on, touching or removing the face cloth cover
Before wearing and after removing warm gloves
Before and after fueling
Carry disposable tissues in your vehicle to use when coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. Throw the used disposable tissues in the trash.
Ask passengers to wear a cloth face covering and cover their mouths and noses with disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing. Ask the passenger to throw the disposable tissues in the trash after leaving the vehicle.
Immediately notify management, your ridesharing company, and / or the appropriate authorities of any passengers who intentionally spread their germs inside the car.
If you are not comfortable transporting a visibly ill passenger for safety reasons, you can choose to refuse to transport him. However, passenger discrimination based on race, national origin, or other reasons outlined in your company’s policies is not permitted.
What steps should my shared transfer or taxi / limousine service company take?
The shared transportation services or the taxi / limousine transportation companies for which you work as a hired driver must create and share a series of response measures to COVID-19 to inform and help protect drivers and passengers. They should:
Actively encourage sick drivers to stay home.
Tell employees where they can find accurate information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and how it spreads.
Encourage and help obtain hand sanitizer, disposable wipes or other cleaning products so drivers can clean the surfaces of frequently touched vehicles.
Develop technology policies and options that allow and prioritize contactless transactions and limit or eliminate close contact and the exchange of objects such as pens and electronic signature pads between drivers and passengers.