With the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) easing restrictions in select zones across the country, Ola, India’s leading mobility platform and one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies, today launched a new safety initiative, ‘10 Steps to a Safer Ride’ as operations resume in over 100 cities which are in green and orange zones. Taking forward Ola’s safety-first approach, this initiative strengthens the company’s commitment to enabling a safe ride experience for driver-partners and customers by reiterating the importance of collective ownership when it comes to health and well-being in the COVID-19 era.
Ola’s 10 Steps to a Safer Ride’ initiative emphasizes the importance for both the customers and driver partners to contribute equally to ensure safety during all rides. As a protocol, all rides will be driven only across the identified safe zones and to ensure every driver-partner adheres to the safety rules, a mandatory selfie authentication mechanism has been put into place before and after every ride. Furthermore, all cars will be cleaned and sanitized after each ride and a flexible cancellation policy has also been introduced under which both the customer and driver-partner can cancel the ride if they feel the other party is not following the rules or not wearing a mask.
The company has mandated driver-partners and customers to follow 5 precautionary steps each, encouraging them to practice social distancing, sanitization measures and personal hygiene etiquette at all times. The protocols have been divided as follows:
- No travel in red zones: Vehicles will not operate to and from Government identified red or containment zones.
- Selfie-authentication of drivers: All driver-partners are required to wear masks and need to authenticate this before the start of every ride by sharing a selfie through their partner app.
- Equipped with hygiene kits: Driver-partners will be provided with masks, sanitizers and disinfectants and can avail these at all walk-in centres across their cities.
- Cars to be cleaned regularly: Common surfaces like the handle, inner handle and seat to be cleaned before every ride.
- Flexible cancellations: Drivers and customers are being given the option of cancelling a ride if the other is not wearing a mask to ensure their own safety as well that of subsequent users.
- Wearing a mask is compulsory: All customers boarding the cab need to wear masks and should sanitize before and after every ride.
- AC to be switched off: To avoid re-circulation of air, the AC will be switched off and windows will be kept open during all rides.
- 2 passengers per car: Only two passengers per ride will be allowed in the cab. They will also be urged to sit by the windows on the rear of the car.
- Load and unload luggage themselves: To help maintain social distancing, customers are urged to load and unload luggage themselves.
- Cashless payments: Customers are encouraged to make cashless payments for the rides to avoid any unnecessary contact.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative and resuming operations, Anand Subramanian, Spokesperson and Head of Communications, Ola, said, “We thank the Central Government for recognizing the importance of mobility in these difficult times. As we reopen our platform to millions of citizens for their commute and driver-partners whose livelihoods are dependent on serving mobility needs, safety of both continues to be the topmost priority for us. Our fight against COVID-19 is a collective effort, and will be possible only with both our driver-partners and customers doing their bit to ensure that everyone has access to safe and high-quality mobility. 10 Steps to a Safer Ride brings together customers and driver-partners to adopt 10 best hygiene practices together for minimizing the risks of the Coronavirus on themselves and the community. In our efforts to further flatten the curve, adopting a united front by undertaking the necessary preventive measures will lead to better outcomes and in emerging stronger together.”
Complying with the Central Government’s regulations, Ola will only operate in permissible orange and green zones while adhering to the safety norms stipulated by the Ministry of Health. Starting today, operations will be launched in a phased manner across these cities. Ola Emergency services across 15 cities continue to operate as per its existing protocol exclusively for trips to and from hospitals.