ALSO READMumbai: With local trains inaccessible for normal people, BEST buses running crammed, Ola-Uber cab...
On July 29, at least 1 lakh Uber cab drivers were administered the Covid-19 vaccine. Sources said that the cab aggregator intends to vaccinate 1.50 lakh drivers by the end of 2021, for which it will be spending Rs 18.50 crore. They will also reimburse the drivers for the time spent in getting vaccinated for both the doses once they produce the vaccination certificate.
“We have developed a robust validation process to authenticate each vaccination claim by matching the driver’s details registered with Uber with the driver’s digital vaccination certificates extracted from the CoWIN portal,” said company sources.
Once this process is completed, drivers will receive Rs 400 for each of the two shots for time spent getting vaccinated. To encourage drivers to get vaccinated, the company has been taking the help of in-app messages, videos and virtual meetings with medical experts to bust myths and spread awareness on vaccination.
Prabhjeet Singh, president, Uber India South Asia, said, “We strongly believe that more vaccinated drivers will mean enhanced safety on our platform. We’ve received an overwhelming response from drivers and are committed to encouraging vaccinations for both riders and drivers.”
On the other hand, auto rickshaw and taxi unions claim that they have not received enough support from the state government or Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “We had written letters to the BMC and even the Transport Department, asking them to recognise our drivers as essential service providers and offer vaccines. However, till now, there has been no response from the government on the same. We are even ready to provide space or it can be done at the regional transport offices,” said Thampi Kurien, auto rickshaw union leader.
There are more than 12 lakh auto rickshaw drivers in the state, of which close to 7 lakh are in Mumbai and its metropolitan region. The unions claim that there is no way to know how many drivers have been vaccinated. The state government had announced that it would provide relief of Rs 1,500 per auto rickshaw driver, but nothing more for vaccination.
Likewise, the black and yellow cabbies too have been demanding to get their drivers vaccinated. However, there haven't been separate vaccination drives carried out by the government or BMC for these drivers. With local trains being locked for the public, auto rickshaws, taxis and aggregator cabs have become important modes of public transit.
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