India's bike taxi platform Rapido has announced the introduction of what the company calls 'Rapido Back Shields' as a measure to ensure the safety of Rapido riders (called Ride Captains) and customers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Rapido Back Shield is a simple solution designed to ensure some amount of distancing is maintained between the rider and the customer, who will be sitting as the pillion, and is primarily aimed at increasing the safety aspect of using a service like a two-wheeled taxi during the ongoing pandemic.
Announcing the new initiative, Aravind Sanka, Co-Founder, Rapido, said, "The safety of our customers is of prime concern to us. We want them to feel safe and assured whenever they use Rapido. From using masks, sanitisers and ensuring regular checks of Captains, now we have worked on an innovative back shield that will act as a protective gear that will further increase the safety of our rides."
Rapido carried out test rides using the shields across cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Jaipur with around 800 Ride Captains wearing the shields and completing rides. The test run involved testing the aerodynamics of various materials to build a shield of the right size and quality that is both compact, as well as comfortable for the rider and minimises touch points for the customers during the rides.
Rapido also requests customers to carry their own helmets while using the bike taxi service, to maintain hygiene and new policy support where the company provides free cancellation if Captains or customers are without a mask. The Captains also have to follow mandatory safety guidelines, including wearing a mask, carrying sanitisers, and using a hair net in addition to the mandatory helmets at all times. The bikes have to be sanitised before onboarding customers, and the Captains also have to get a checklist of items and declaration that they have to adhere to before accepting rides.