Even booking cars via the ride-hailing Grab platform would be different under the “new normal,” as the Singapore-based company prepares its fleet ahead of its expected resumption of operations when Manila eases its lockdown to general quarantine on June 1.
These preparations, Grab country head Brian Cu said, are meant to address the physical distancing standards set by the country’s ad hoc task force on containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Grab, alongside other car-hailing services, were banned from operating starting March 16 when President Duterte declared a lockdown in Luzon that was thereafter enforced in other parts of the country.
Short of an actual ban, Grab’s new rules said senior citizens, those below the age of 21, the sickly and pregnant women are “highly encouraged” not to leave, subject to exemptions by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Other regulations are now standard, such as mandatory wearing of masks, deep disinfection per trip, and contactless transactions via GrabPay or through credit or debit cards.
But others may be deemed drastic: Drivers are the only ones allowed to open and close doors. Passengers, in turn, are not allowed to book for other people anymore, in aid of effective contact tracing. A rider is required to show his or her booking code to the drivers.
Each car is only allowed two people at most, and both are required to sit close to the windows at the back of the vehicle.
Passengers are allowed to cancel a ride if the driver is not wearing a mask.
The company expects to deploy around 20,000 drivers during the first week of the general community quarantine.
Country head Brian Cu allayed fears of similar “Christmastime” carmaggedon scenarios, when the demand for cars outpaced the available drivers on the road three-to-one.