Cab-hailing platforms Ola and Uber on Monday said they have resumed services in areas within the Orange and Green Zones, and have introduced requirements like wearing masks to ensure safety of riders and driver partners. Both players had suspended operations after the government had announced a nationwide lockdown from March 24 to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection. After 40 days of lockdown, some relaxations have been provided in the third phase of the lockdown, including allowing cab services to operate, in locations that have very few or no confirmed cases reported.
In a statement, Ola said it has resumed operations in over 100 cities across the country, adhering to the government guidelines.
It also noted that Ola Emergency - a service introduced during lockdown to ferry non-COVID-19 people to and from hospitals - will continue to operate with existing protocols across 15 cities.
"As a protocol, all rides will be driven only across the identified safe zones and to ensure every driver-partner adheres to the safety rules, a mandatory selfie authentication mechanism has been put into place before and after every ride...all cars will be cleaned and sanitised after each ride," Ola said.
The company added that a flexible cancellation policy has been introduced under which both the customer and driver-partner can cancel the ride if they feel the other party is not following the rules or not wearing a mask.
Only two passengers per ride will be allowed in the cab, and the AC will be switched off and windows will be kept open during all rides to avoid re-circulation of air, it added.
"As we reopen our platform to millions of citizens for their commute and driver-partners whose livelihoods are dependent on serving mobility needs, safety of both continues to be the topmost priority for us," an Ola spokesperson said.
Uber, in its blogpost, said it has started operating in 25 cities including Jamshedpur, Kochi, Cuttack and Guwahati (Green Zone) as well as locations like Amritsar, Rohtak, Gurgaon and Visakhapatnam (Orange Zone).
"Our services remain suspended in all cities which fall under the Red zone. However, we'll continue to serve our communities in this zone with Uber Essential and UberMedic," it said. Uber Essential is available in Bengaluru, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Indore, Mumbai, Nashik, and Ludhiana.
Uber also suggested that riders keep windows open for ventilation or ask the driver to switch on the A/C in the fresh air mode only. It also said Uber will provide a full refund of cancellation charges, if the rider submits a cancellation request through the app.