Taxis are continuing to show solidarity with the communities they serve after over a year on the front line of the fight against the pandemic. With vaccination efforts advancing, taxi drivers are once again stepping up to transport the most vulnerable members of our communities.
In Berlin, Germany, thousands of free taxi rides to and from vaccination centres have been offered to those aged 80 and over. The city’s taxi association has worked with local authorities to launch the initiative, which has been highly successful. “We have already taken around seven thousand people to vaccination centres,” said Hermann Waldner, who heads up the Berlin taxi association, part of IRU member BZP.
IRU associate member Free Now is offering free rides worth a total of EUR 1 million to passengers travelling to and from vaccination centres in the EU cities served by the app. The initiative is part of Free Now’s strategy to support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Belgium, Brussels taxis are partnering with municipal authorities to offer an accessible service to the elderly and those with reduced mobility who would struggle to reach vaccination centres otherwise.
Over-80s travelling to receive COVID-19 vaccines are also being offered free rides in Rome, Italy.
These are just a few examples of how taxi operators are playing their crucial role as essential workers. But they are often not recognised as such and commercial drivers are not included in priority groups for vaccination.
IRU continues to call on governments to provide better support to the road transport industry, a key element of urban mobility networks, including professional drivers in vaccination plans in line with their vital contribution throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.