Masks, selfie, no AC: Ola resumes operations in multiple cities under new rules amid coronavirus
With the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) easing restrictions in select zones across the country, ride-hailing company Ola said that it has launched a new safety initiative, called ‘10 Steps to a Safer Ride’ as operations resume in over 100 cities which are in 'green' and 'orange' zones.
Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola
As a protocol, Ola said that all its rides will not operate to and from government-identified 'red' or containment zones, and will ensure that every driver-partner adheres to the safety rules. All driver-partners are required to wear masks and need a mandatory selfie authentication mechanism has been put into place before and after every ride.
Furthermore, all cars will be cleaned and sanitised after each ride and a flexible cancellation policy has also been introduced under which both the customer and the driver-partner can cancel the ride if they feel the other party is not following the rules or not wearing a mask.
The company said that the driver-partners will be provided with masks, sanitisers and disinfectants, and can avail these at all walk-in centres across their cities; common surfaces like the handle, inner handle, and seat are to be cleaned before every ride.
For riders as well, wearing a mask is compulsory and all the riders should sanitise before and after every ride. 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. And, to help maintain social distancing, customers are urged to load and unload luggage themselves. To avoid re-circulation of air, the AC will be switched off and windows will be kept open during all rides. Customers are also encouraged to make cashless payments for the rides to avoid any unnecessary contact.
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 May 4, operations will be launched in a phased manner across these cities. Riders can check their city here, and the list will be updated regularly. Ola Emergency services across 15 cities continue to operate as per its existing protocol — exclusively for trips to and from hospitals.