Demand for disease-prevention taxi and vehicle rental services at airports is expected to increase after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday issued a level 3 “warning” travel notice for 27 European countries, as well as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, due to a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in those nations, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said yesterday.
Outbound passengers departing to any of the nations after 2pm on Saturday would be subject to 14-day home quarantine if they return to Taiwan, the CECC said.
The policy would raise the demand for the disease-prevention taxi and vehicle rental services at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, TIAC said, adding that, CB Leasing Co, the vehicle rental firm helping with the service, has increased the number of vehicles in its disease-prevention fleet.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Some Uber drivers criticized the move, saying that the rental drivers working with the fleet could become weak links in containing the spread of COVID-19.
TIAC said that the special service was created so that passengers who are asked to undergo home quarantine would not use public transport to return home.
If they take the public transport and one of them is later diagnosed with the coronavirus, the government would have trouble finding the people who have been in contact with them, it said.
Passengers returning from nations with COVID-19 infections could also be collected by their family members or any contact who can be located by the government, but passengers and their family members have to protect themselves from contracting the disease, the company said.
The new service is provided by airport-based taxi drivers and CB Leasing, which was the only vehicle rental firm willing to offer the service, it added.
Since March 4, the fleet has about 620 vehicles standing by.
According to the service fee schemes announced by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, passengers who are headed to Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung, Taoyuan or Hsinchu County would be charged the price shown on the taxi meters.
Those traveling to other cities and counties should use the vehicle rental service.
Drivers in the special fleet have been trained by Centers for Disease Control staff on dealing with passengers, the company said.
Apart from wearing masks, they also need to disinfect the vehicles and passengers’ luggage and make sure that the passengers have masks on before getting into a vehicle, TIAC said.
The drivers would also keep a record of their passengers.
If one of the passengers is confirmed to have COVID-19, the record would help government officials track the people who have been in contact with them, the company said.
In related news, Emirates yesterday announced that all flights between Taipei and Dubai would be suspended, starting today.
Passengers wanting a refund or to change tickets would not be charged a processing fee, it added.
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