Free taxis in Rome for Doctors fighting Coronavirus
On 14 March, Italians stood on their balconies and applauded Italy’s doctors, nurses and medical professionals. Italians honoured the brave men and women, who continue to fight to save Italy from the devastating COVID-19 virus, but that’s not where it stops.
Taxi companies were already formulating plans to give free rides to anyone who needed to reach the Bambino Gesù Hospital. However, taxi drivers decided to do more.
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A group of 50 Roman drivers have made their cars available to only transport Spallanzani doctors, for free. Spallanzani is a line of hospitals that have taken responsibility for the majority of the fight against the Coronavirus. They are advertising this service with a poster depicting a nurse holding Italy and the inscription: “This taxi joins the voluntary and free transport service of medical personnel.” Any driver participating in this service will post this advertisement on their personal white cab. Both the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, and the health director of Spallanzani, Francesco Vaia, thanked the participating taxi drivers via a tweet on Twitter.
The organizers of this movement have assured all health care personal that measures will be in place to protect them and their patients. All cabs will be thoroughly sanitized, and all passengers in the medical field will be provided with masks and gloves. Most taxi drivers are discontent with this. They believe that this protocol should be in place at all times, during this pandemic, to not only protect drivers but all passengers, as well.
However, Nicola Di Giacobbe of the National Coordination Unica Fit Cigil explained that new protocol is being discussed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease in all cabs. For example, there have been discussions about limiting the number of passengers and not allowing any passengers to sit in the seat next to the taxi drivers. One issue that the organization is having trouble solving is the drivers’ contact with money. Most of these issues are focusing on the safety of drivers.
What about the protection of customers?
Most unions are discussing the possibility of limiting the amount of taxis a day to specific time slots. These taxis would only be used as an essential travel service. This is a voluntary position.
At the national level, the Italian government is discussing the possibility of allocating almost 2 million euros to solve this safety issue. This budget would go towards the instillation of partitions that would separate passengers and drivers. However, this amount appears to be insufficient, and the installation would not be immediately effective.
Ph: Marius GODOI