Urban mobility is also preparing for the coronavirus. Uber and Kapten (including FreeNow, formerly MyTaxi, from the same group as Katpen) will provide compensation "for a period of up to 14 days". In the case of Uber, this will be given to all drivers and couriers who use the platforms and, because of the coronavirus, be “quarantined by a public health authority”. Kapten says that it will compensate drivers infected with the confirmed virus. This Wednesday, the Portuguese Taxi Federation will create a contingency plan for “contagion risks for taxi professionals and their passengers”.
We work daily to help ensure the safety of everyone on the Uber platform and remain concerned with the current situation. We have a global team of experts dedicated to Uber's operations, safety and protection – under the guidance of recommendations by a consultant specializing in the health field – and working to respond as needed in each market we operate, worldwide. We remain in close contact with local public health organizations and will continue to follow their recommendations, ”says Uber.
Until the time of publication of this article, the Observer questioned the main operators of these transport in Portugal about preventive measures in relation to the coronavirus are being implemented – such as disinfectant in passenger vehicles or the use of gloves by drivers. Bolt said it would not comment on the issue. Uber says it is working with health officials, not saying whether or not it will require additional hygiene measures from drivers. Kapten says that it is “suspending face-to-face service, opting to reinforce remote service, either by phone or e-mail”.
Free Now and Kapten – mobility platforms that belong to the same Group and that will soon integrate a single app – are aware of the situation and providing as much support as possible. We prepared a list of recommendations aligned based on the indications given by the General Health Directorate and which we shared with our drivers and partners ”, says Sérgio Pereira general director of Free Now and Kapten Portugal.
Uber was the first platform for passenger transport in uncharacterized vehicles (TVDE) to announce that it is applying compensation in case of quarantine and, according to an official source, "this is already happening in some markets". "We believe that this is the right thing to do," said the company. The drivers of these platforms, as a rule, do not have an employment contract or work on their own through a company created for this purpose. The same measure also applies to couriers from the Uber Eats food delivery platform.
According to Kapten, Uber's competitor and the second TVDE to announce possible support, there has been “an understandable and slight slowdown” of the service, but the company does not consider that there has been “a sharp decrease in activity”. “We are studying and preparing measures so that we can act and mitigate any economic effects that this situation may have on our activity and that of our drivers”, says the person in charge of TVDE and the taxi platform.
With regard to the activity of drivers, in the event that a case of coronavirus infection is identified, Free Now and Kapten will financially compensate that driver for a minimum period of 14 days ”, says Kapten.
Compensation “for a minimum period of 14 days” by Kapten to drivers who may be infected with the virus will be based on “the remuneration obtained by the respective driver in the last 14 days”.
The Portuguese Taxi Federation told the Observer that “it requested an urgent meeting with the General Directorate of Health, on February 28, for clarifications and recommendations on the subject Covid-19 ″. However, to date, it has received no response.
Asked about the measure implemented by Uber, the taxi drivers association defended itself by saying that “not being an employer, it can only provide legal and administrative support, within the framework of the Labor Law, to professionals who are required to be isolated due to illness ”.
This Wednesday, the association will hold a meeting with the “FPT clinical staff so that a contingency plan is designed that minimizes the risk of contagion to taxi professionals and their passengers”.
José Domingos, director at the National Association of Road Transport in Light Automobiles (ANTRAL), said that this association “is analyzing this situation” and in contact with health and government officials, having, for now, posted a role with DGS recommendations for its members.
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