• Wed. May 18th, 2022

Coronavirus News: NYC taxi drivers cite health and business risks amid COVID-19 outbreak

NEW YORK (WABC) – Yellow cab and rental drivers are among the first to interact with domestic and international travelers, so understandably fears over the coronavirus are putting their health and business at risk.

Driver Firoz Ahamad said he was very nervous about his business.

“For the past two hours, I haven’t had a passenger,” he said. “Our activity is very slow. I wait here 30 minutes, drive about 1.5 hours. No passengers. I don’t know how we will survive.

Eyewitness News has spoken to other drivers and they say business is also down.

RELATED: All of Eyewitness News’ coronavirus coverage

Drivers take every slice of life in New York, including patients not sick enough for an ambulance.

“I don’t want a passenger coming near me, especially if there’s someone sitting next to me,” one driver said.

Given their frontline exposure, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission now encourages drivers to clean their vehicles at least daily.

“Pay particular attention to disinfecting surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as door handles, armrests and seat belts,” the TLC said in a statement.

Another driver complains about not finding enough hand sanitizers. Indeed, a customer offered him a small travel bottle, which he uses each time he receives money.

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“Yeah, we’re nervous and we’re looking for the hand sanitizer,” the driver said. “It’s out of stock.”

Rideshares and car services are also feeling the brunt of the corona crisis, with Uber issuing a statement:

“We are also working to provide free hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to drivers and crew members at our hubs.”

Passengers say they now walk more, but when they need a taxi they take extra care.

RELATED: How to protect yourself from the coronavirus

“I try not to touch anything, screens, door handles,” said passenger Stephanie Duffy. “Anything like that. Be super careful.”

She also said she usually used her sleeve or made sure not to touch anything even though she was wearing gloves.

RELATED INFORMATION:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Coronavirus

New Yorkers can call the state hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions about the novel coronavirus.

New York State Coronavirus Information

Information about the coronavirus in New York

John Hopkins coronavirus tracking dashboard

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