7 Questions to Ask Before Booking Car Services
Do a Google search for “how will travel return?” and the results turn up mostly business travel articles that mostly address airline uncertainty. Drastic air travel service changes, cuts, and the resulting impact on so many employees and travelers, may make it seem like airlines are getting an outsized amount of media coverage right now. Of course, other travel sectors are feeling the impact of the pandemic just as much as the airlines are. Hotels are both beefing up cleaning protocols and working on new ways to help, such as converting into temporary hospitals to provide more beds in harder hit COVID-19 locations.
But what about ground transportation? Cars are part of the fabric of American culture, often projecting their owners’ styles as people go about their daily lives. Around the globe, we drive for recreation, as a side hustle or as a primary vocation. And we travel as passengers not just in cars, but also taxis, coaches and limos.
The car service industry, that is, the ground transportation industry, is also facing major disruption from the coronavirus. Road warriors of business travel notwithstanding, many people interact with cars more frequently than with airplanes and have an increased awareness of all the things we touch inside and outside of them. And, it’s possible that travelers’ concerns about the virus are further heightened when thinking about riding in the more enclosed space of a personal vehicle as compared to a larger airplane.
Will car service outlast COVID-19?
We don’t think there’s any doubt it will. But for now and at least the foreseeable future, it’s going to look a little different. To be clear and as in other travel sectors, duty of care has always been a priority for car service operators. As we’re all quickly learning, however, some additional precautions must be taken to protect both drivers and passengers from a highly contagious virus that results in anything from mild symptoms to hospitalization.
In order to stay as protected as possible, we need to know as much as we can about how the virus is transmitted. Here’s what we know about COVID-19: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. As the virus is spread through person-to-person contact, serious efforts at physical distancing are being implemented and displayed nearly everywhere, including at grocery stores, at press conferences and even in new plane seating configurations (not that most of us will mind being unable to book a middle seat on a flight.)
So, if you’re in need of car service despite our current situation, what steps can be taken to provide the safest ride possible? Aside from travelers securing personal masks and gloves, having the best information and asking the right questions of your car service operator can help.
7 Car service questions to ask for travel safety
A number of car service providers state their COVID-19 precautions on their websites, but not all. And, since the situation is so fluid and we regularly learn more, it can be challenging to keep up with the recommendations from the responsible government agencies. Here’s a list of some of the questions you should ask your car service operator before booking your car:
1. Do you train drivers on cleaning and safety procedures and make sure they’re followed?
Drivers should be trained on cleaning all door handles, cup holders, seats, seat belts and buckles, car seats, even their own dashboards and seat between each traveler who rides with them.
2. Do you provide car cleaning supplies, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for drivers to keep in their cars?
Drivers should be prepared to clean vehicle interiors and exterior door handles with liquid cleaners or wet wipes between each traveler. They should also wear a mask and gloves as recommended (or even required) by government agencies.
3. Do you check drivers’ temperatures every work day and enable them to stay home when they’re sick?
An elevated body temperature is one indication that a person may be fighting off an illness, even if they don’t feel like they’re sick. No one should work in a public environment if they aren’t fully healthy as it increases risks to both themselves and people around them.
4. What policies and technology do you provide to limit or eliminate close contact between drivers and travelers?
Drivers always want to be courteous and helpful. If travelers prefer to have assistance with luggage, drivers should wear disposable gloves and know how to properly remove them after completing the traveler’s trip. There are also technology options available to make payments that don’t involve handing cash or cards between people. For business travel, a managed travel program that includes an online booking tool offering car service may be the best option right now.
5. Are your cars outfitted with physical barriers between the driver and passenger’s seats?
This added measure of safety is not always available, however, more car service operators are installing them for the physical comfort and safety of drivers and travelers.
6. Do you make multiple stops and/or pick up multiple travelers going to the same location?
Some car service operators have traditionally allowed multiple pickups, such as for travelers attending the same meeting who are staying at different hotels. Now, however, you may want to limit that to single travelers only to minimize risk.
7. Do you ask for and review all customer feedback to help ensure safety protocols are being maintained?
Everyone has come to expect reviews for every kind of product and service. An affirmative response to this may be a good indication that the company is monitoring their drivers’ compliance with coronavirus prevention guidelines.
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