Many ride-hailing cab operators are leveraging their technology and driver-partners' network to enable citizens to access essential medical services during this lockdown. They are in a way simultaneously also helping the government and the authorities contain the spread of COVID-19.
The most recent development comes with Meru and Flipkart joining hands to deliver essential goods. Flipkart customers will get their package in Ozone sanitised cabs operational across Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad. As many people are staying indoors supporting social distancing during the ongoing lockdown, access to grocery and essential items is being provided through this safe and sanitised supply chain. It will also help provide income opportunities to driver-partners of Meru, which is an app-based ride-hailing cab operator in which Mahindra holds a majority stake. The latter has additionally come up with many measures to help people during this crisis.
Many ride-sharing platforms including Ola and Uber also had suspended their services in many cities in March. However, some of these app-based taxi service providers including Ola are resuming operations with emergency based services. These services are accessible in select cities only and will facilitate riders to book a ride to the hospital in case of an emergency. This service will be for medical trips that are non-COVID and do not require an ambulance.
On the other hand, Uber has also launched a new feature named 'Uber Essentials', which facilitates essential travel for residents in select cities. The company has already partnered with the city's traffic police and identified a select fleet of vehicles for cab operations to city hospitals. And to ensure seamless movement to these medical institutions, Uber has also issued curfew passes sourced from local law enforcement authorities.
The outbreak of this COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country all over the world. Governments have enforced lockdowns and restricted vehicular movement in an attempt to stem the spread of novel Coronavirus. However, now it's good to see some cab operators selectively offering rides especially for essential services that will cater to crucial medical travel requirements across the country.