With COVID-19 cases going down and easing of restrictions, life in the sultanate is gradually returning to normal. However, people are committed to following all precautionary measures.
Most public spaces including malls, theatres, eateries, parks, offices and hotels have adopted strict safety measures. Taxi
drivers too are trying their best to follow suit.
In spite of facing certain economic challenges while trying to follow all the safety guidelines including regular sanitisation of cars, cab drivers Muscat Daily spoke to, said they always want to ensure a safe ride for their clients.
Khalid al Almi, a driver at Ruwi taxi stand, said, “Times are very tough; we hardly have any passengers these days. The situation was worse a few months back. Most of our passengers are expatriates and now many have left Oman. The safety measures have also added to our expenses – we need to clean our cars regularly. I take the car for a full body cleanup every week, sometimes even twice a week.”
Many drivers follow the safety rules strictly. Due to that often they lose customers.
“I take a maximum of three people in my car. I lose one passenger’s fare but I cannot afford to risk our lives. Also there have been many instances when some passengers were rude and took offence as I asked them to wear masks. Such people don’t get into my taxi. I lose passengers, but still I try my best to follow rules,” another driver said.
Most drivers have placed sanitisers in their cars so that the passengers can use them during their ride.
After day’s work, many make sure to disinfect the cars with sprays.
“This is a must for me. Though most people are vaccinated yet I go the extra mile to keep my passengers safe,” said Abdullah Balushi from Muttrah.
“Before I start the day I open all the doors and windows of the car so that sun light falls on every seat. I leave the car like this for 30 minutes so that germs (if there’s any) perish.”
There are many who also keep extra masks in the car.
Sulaiman (first name) said, “I buy two packets of masks every week. For my clients who have coughs I give them extra masks. I’ve also suggested to my colleagues to do the same.”
“Another instruction I like to give is to do regular AC cleaning and servicing; maybe, every three months or so.”