Shared Transport During COVID-19

It may be tempting for governments to dictate every aspect of life in order to control and reduce COVID-19 infections, but it’s only an illusion of control. In transportation, it might lead to catastrophe both in economy and public health.

COVID-19 brought many changes to our lives. It made buzz words like community, sharing and together sound scary rather than joyful and inspiring. We see that at every day to day encounters, whether it’s in business or pleasure. Instead, words like distance and masks took their place as target we should all inspire for. If you can see inspiration at these bleak times. At “good” times, the more distance we keep, more virtual meeting instead of physical ones, more nodding or elbow touches instead of shaking hands and smiling, the better. At Bad times, we postpone weddings and meetings, close offices and services, lose jobs and sometimes even lose hope.

empty airport COVID-19

However, through all of these times, some places were always open, and others kept open for some of the times. Essential workplaces never shut down, other places were opened and closed from time to time, life kept on. The dilemma of balancing between economics and activities to keeping people apart accompanied us for many months and will continue to do so at the near future. Wherever there are activities, there is also transportation and need for transportation solutions adjusted for COVID-19.

Governments who will insist to blindly restrict sharing taxi sharing or carpooling options will continue to struggle in an impossible buttle of driving masses without crowding them.

One way of thinking is strictly forbidding everyone from riding together, everyone should take their own cars. But that just ignoring reality, the same way that essential workers need to come together, and many businesses can’t hold their breath for all COVID-19 period, also many people are relying on shared transportations. It can be buses, trains, carpooling, ride hailing or taxis. All these means are essential for maintaining functional means of transportation and ways to survive this period. When not seeing these transportation means as essential, many businesses and even essential jobs can be damaged. When stopping, restricting or minimizing some of them, governments fail to predict the outcome in the distribution of passengers and usually create more damage than good even in terms of COVID-19 infections.

Some countries added public transport to lower the density at public transportation. As oppose to them, countries that reduced or restricted shared means of transportation experienced higher density in the remaining shared transport even though travel had lessened significantly. In Israel during both of the blockades, public transport was reduced dramatically and sharing a taxi or riding together in private cars was forbidden. In both blockades there was a prohibition to upload more than 50% of the bus’s vacancy. The results in the first blockade was crowded bus stops and passengers waiting for hours for a vacant bus seat. In this second blockade, the prohibition is usually just a formality and bus drivers fill the buses with as many passengers as there can be, sometimes until you can’t enter it anymore no matter how you will try.

dense public transport COVID-19

At WeBus, we provide a much healthier transport through sharing taxis. It’s not a drive alone solution, it’s not 100% safe, but it’s the best balance that there is. We connect several passengers who order shared taxi, the taxi picks each one at a near by location and drop every passenger at his stop along the way. We provide a fast and cheap alternative, that many people who can’t afford riding alone in any day can afford now. Many of our customers used our service pre- COVID-19 days instead of riding in dense buses, but just when COVID-19 started it was forbidden to drive more than one passenger in a taxi and our customers were forced to ride again in much crowded buses.

Apposed to buses, taxi sharing apps can provide significant benefits in cutting chains of COVID-19 infections thanks to these reasons:

1. The big numbers effect: every COVID-19 carrier who takes a bus is potentially infecting tens of people. If it’s crowded, it can be over a hundred. At the very least he can make all of them getting into isolation. If you are not infected, your chances to ride with someone infected are much higher.
In shared taxi, your chances to ride with someone infected are tens of times lesser. Someone who is infected will potentially infect up to 3-4 people tops.

2. Information: In this technological transport, we can know exactly who was riding with whom. Helping the authorities in cutting chains of infections is possible. At public transport, it’s really almost out of the authority’s hands.

3. Less contact: At a bus we see tens of people entering and exiting through the same doors, rubbing each other in the corridors, leaning and holding handles for not falling. In a taxi, you have much less contacts and in up to three passengers there is also a “private” door for each passenger.

4. Open air: At buses and trains there are no windows, it’s a closed space. In taxis there are windows to open and you can take maximum precautions together with masks on.

We usually operate as a private sector start-up, bringing transport solution where we are needed without requesting government subsidy or help. COVID-19 made regulations turn every aspect of life to be completely depended on government decisions, without noticing that these decisions sometimes are much worst than the free market’s decisions even in terms of COVID-19 infection rate.

These days, we focus on green countries and countries who understand the importance of allowing shared transportation to bring solutions. Government who will be smart enough to embrace this solution, or at least allow it, can benefit tremendously. Governments who will insist to blindly restrict sharing taxi sharing or carpooling options will continue to struggle in an impossible buttle of driving masses without crowding them.

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