Ride-hailing platforms Ola and Uber have rolled out measures for safe travel as the central government lifted some restrictions on cab services across the country.
ANI Technologies, which owns Ola, has now expanded its operations to over 160 cities, according to a company statement.
Cab services were suspended in India due to the nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25. Earlier this month, Ola re-launched services in 54 cities across 15 states while Uber rebooted in 25 cities across 13 states and a union territory.
Bengaluru headquartered Ola has mandated driver-partners and customers to follow five precautionary steps each to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
Driver-partners are required to complete selfie authentication, cabs are to be equipped with hygiene kits and cars must be cleaned regularly. Meanwhile, masks have been made mandatory for passengers and AC will remain turned off.
Under the new guidelines, Ola has allowed only two passengers per ride and customers are also required to load and unload their luggage.
The company has introduced flexible cancellation plans and will only accept cashless payments.
Ola services remain banned in containment zones.
“We are committed to raising the standards of safety and hygiene with our various initiatives to secure the well being of both driver-partners and customers. We urge all users to strictly adhere to local guidelines to undertake only essential trips with all safety precautions,” Ola said.
In a separate statement, San Francisco, California-based Uber announced “go online checklists” for both riders and drivers. The service is now available in 34 cities.
Uber’s safety protocols include mandatory masks for riders and drivers, pre-trip mask verification selfies for drivers and updated post-trip feedback mechanism.
The go online checklists will confirm if the drivers have taken precautions such as wearing a face mask and washing or sanitizing their hands, before every trip.
“Over the last two months, our global tech and safety product teams have been hard at work building a new, product experience for riders and drivers. Today, as India eases its lockdown, it’s important we take all necessary precautions to help keep ourselves safe and to make the next trip safer for all. These new features and policies have been rolled out globally, and we will keep enhancing and revising them as needed to ensure a safer product experience for all,” Sachin Kansal, global senior director, product management, Uber, said.
Last week, Uber rolled out a new package delivery service in four cities in India -- Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, and Gurugram. Dubbed Uber Connect, the service will help people send and receive packages to their friends and family.