Cabbies respond to COVID-19 threat; to meet over security concerns
A taxi stand in the Corporate Area
Egeton Newman, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), has ramped up the association's hygiene awareness campaign in the wake of the island's announcement of two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"We are presently engaged in what we dubbed Operations COVID-19 Campaign, we did a presentation to operators this morning. We are now in Falmouth and we are going across the island with a simple message, using our various communication platform to encourage members to sanitize their units after every dispatchment," Newman told Loop News.
Under what he dubbed the "TODSS Operation COVID-19 Battle Plan & Important Actions", operators are encouraged to employ the following practices in their day-to-day movements of people and goods:
- Wash hands
- Don’t touch face
- Sanitize vehicle
- Cough or sneeze into crook of hand
- Stay out of people’s faces
- Wear gloves and other personal protective gear;
- Frequently wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
- Have a alcohol-based hand sanitizer on hand at all times;
- Encourage passengers to cover noses and mouths when coughing and sneezing;
- Allow proper ventilation in vehicles;
- Limit physical contact with the public;
Newman plans to strengthen this specific sensitization push through TODSS' monthly parish road safety awareness and order meetings, chapter meetings and driver training and round table consultations.
TODSS is also having a discussion Thursday at the Mona School of Business to address security concerns in light of the recent near abduction, and suspected kidnapping of female UWI students in separate incidents.
"We invite all Papine Transport Operators and UWI & UTech Students to our RTC at Mona School of Business 11 am this Thursday. We invite all Portland Transport Sector Operators to our Road Safety Awareness and Order Meeting this Sunday at 10 am at Port Antonio New Testament Church of God which will be hosted by Pastor Desmond Green," Newman said.
Newman said the recent abductions have given the taxi industry a marketing black eye.
"Many responsible investors are leaving the sector allowing it to be taken over by persons with a criminal intent. The overcrowding of the Kingston Metro Transport area with over 10,000 operators creates a space for persons to hide under the cover of a taxi to cover out deeds," Newton said.
In the meantime, the Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague is encouraging all members of the public to practice safe habits to prevent the risk of community spread of COVID-19.
Even as the imposed travel restrictions remain in place for China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Spain, France and Germany, Montague said he is encouraging transport operators within the island to protect themselves, their families and their passengers.
The minister met with members of the national umbrella group of all taxi Associations, the National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA), on Tuesday to discuss these measures.