As London commuters struggle to space out, alternative transport could help essential staff get to work safely.
Around 20% of the global population is now under lockdown, contributing to worldwide efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as an urgent matter of public safety.
The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out new restrictions mirroring an Italian-style lockdown yesterday (23 March 2020). Despite the strict measures announced, commuters shared photos of the busy London underground this morning, with some lines on the tube looking particularly crowded.
Currently making up half of the UK’s deaths, London has been hit especially hard by coronavirus, in part due to the UK’s capital being so densely populated. London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, recently urged Londoners to stop using public transport as part of the country’s effort to halt the rapid spread of coronavirus.
Guidance for commuters advises them to leave additional space between one another when using public transport, meaning if there is a row with two seats on a train, only one should be used, encouraging people to keep 2 metres distance. Although data shows the London underground is quieter than this period last year, reports suggest social distancing is not always happening in practice because reduced lines are running.
Key workers such as NHS staff need to commute to work, but if crowded public transport continues to threaten their ability to do so safely, there may be a growing a need for more transport options to assist essential staff getting to their place of work.
Taxi drivers have an important role to play in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, by transporting NHS staff to hospitals or offering a delivery service to people who are self-isolating in their homes.
With taxi insurance in place, drivers can legally carry passengers or goods and are well equipped to repurpose their skills by using their driving experience to fulfil transport and delivery needs, helping more of the UK population to avoid public transport or simply stay in their homes.
The new Government restrictions warn that people are only allowed to be outside when it is absolutely essential. For example, to buy food or medication, for daily exercise, for essential workers like NHS staff to travel to work and to help the vulnerable. Boris Johnson said the UK is making a “heroic effort” but that the Government will continuously review and bring in further and faster measures where that is necessary.
As many have said, these are uncertain times and measures to cope with this global pandemic are fast changing. During the UK lockdown, taxi drivers can help support the need for essential travel in our united effort to overcome this unprecedented challenge.