COVID-19 advisory: Riding an Uber or any other ride-hailing services safely

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With options limited following the ban on Okada and Keke Napep, only ride-hailing offers personalized transport. How safe is it with COVID 19?

With the Akwa Ibom and Lagos State government's recent ban on Okada and Keke Napep, commuting to and from work in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria has become that much more difficult. Many are thus left with the choice of patronizing either the government-run BRT buses or yellow buses. When there is a need for more personalized traveling, Lagosians and other Nigerians usually hail a ride on Uber, Bolt, or other ride-hailing services.

hand-steering-wheel

Ride-hailing can get you to your destination quickly. Is it still safe today?

However, with the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, there are concerns about how safe ride-hailing services are these days. The following are a few pointers to keep you relatively safe on that Uber or Bolt.

1. Ask the last time the car was disinfected

It’s within your rights to ask when last the Uber or Bolt driver disinfected his or her vehicle. Experts say the Coronavirus can remain on plastic or steel for as long as 3 days. Periodic disinfecting of the car interior either with UV or clinical disinfectant is one certain way of assuring a level of safety.

You can inquire and confirm this by phone immediately the driver calls for a pick-up. Reject cars with too long an interval between disinfecting sessions. Disinfecting your car against Coronavirus is a must-do these days.

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Disinfecting your car is a great safety precaution

2. Don’t sit with the driver

This is a sensible precaution to take. When you are alone in the car with the driver, opt for the back seat instead. This creates some sort of “social distancing” and prevents any transmission. Remember that some strains of the Coronavirus will not manifest in overt symptoms in some carriers.

If your party includes more than one passenger and you all still can sit comfortably together at the back, then do so. If you need more space, get another car instead of risking a front passenger seat.

driver-and-passengers

You need to maintain a one-meter distance from the driver at least

>>> Now that the price of fuel has dropped, will Uber's and Bolt's rates drop also? See how prices dropped: Coronavirus: Open market price of petrol drops to ₦114.53 per liter

3. Pay with plastic

Uber and Bolt drivers, unfortunately, are very vulnerable to exposure from Coronavirus. This is because they deal with strangers all day long, and may interact closely with their riders through receiving cash.

To limit your own risk, try to pay with your card in-app rather than with cash. Paying with cash may necessitate receiving change from the driver. This exposes you to the same risk the driver has been exposed to.

Check out the impact of the Coronavirus on global auto in the video:

Coronavirus hurts the global auto industry

4. Don’t share rides- especially with strangers

Ride-sharing is not yet so popular in Nigeria but is growing by the day. As it is, colleagues may sometimes decide to share a cab to save expenses. Sometimes even, individuals from the same pick-up point, such as an airport may decide to share a ride.

Don’t do this if the other rider is a stranger. You cannot ascertain the other rider’s exposure risk, so don’t take that risk yourself. Be safe always.

>>> Naijauto continues to provide the most up-to-date tips about auto-related tips and events

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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