Yesterday, the Government published transport guidance for private hire operators like iChauffeur, and passengers in England.
We have been providing luxury ground transportation services safely throughout the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In short, we have been revising and refining our safety protocols throughout. But we are not finished yet. Safety is never finished.
No hand shakes and your chauffeur will wear a face covering
We mandate face coverings for chauffeurs and we advise passengers to do the same, while inside the vehicle, to help protect our chauffeurs’ health.
No hugs, but free tissues
Social distancing in England, and the British Isles, means that we observe the 2 metre (6 feet) minimum distance between people rule. So, our fine Chauffeurs, during the pandemic, will not shake passengers’ hands. Instead, a gentle nod, a warm hello, and the smiling twinkle of their eyes, will have to suffice for the meet and greet.
That is till we move past the virus. Below you’ll find our working Coronavirus Travel Safety Protocol. This will be again updated on Tuesday, 19th May, when we will introduce our next-level system which combines some left-field thinking and some innovative tech. We are super-excited to announce this. Really keen to take safety up a gear. And help reduce its spread, where possible. Attentive, careful, planned.
Let our chauffeurs professionalism protect you, and your loved ones. With their safe working practices, and meticulous attention to the details. But for now, please read our guide to safer private hire chauffeur travel and ground transportation during the Coronavirus. But remember, safety during this toxic mist is enhanced by a careful, calm and considered approach. Relax, let your chauffeur keep you safe. The chauffeur works most days, and is well versed with our COVID-19 procedures.
You can read our previous publications here:
- Safer chauffeur-driven travel – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Essential travel services during extraordinary times
- We’ll get you home
We have been in full service throughout the pandemic. Open 24 hours.
Our agile company structure has allowed us to adapt quickly to the crisis. Most of our office team are able to work from home. Our chauffeurs have risen to the new challenges and once again, exceeded our expectations. Thanks to their efforts, and extra diligence, our levels of service have not missed a beat. We are always feeding their advice and suggestions back into our operational procedures. Plus our mentor programme, means our chauffeurs help and support each other. Such as working together to make sure that all have masks, hand sanitiser, tissues and other essential items.
Safe Executive Car and MPV fleet
Our passengers have given us a lot of good feedback about travelling during the pandemic. Again and again they say they feel assured by the extra-long legroom, and advanced air-conditioning of our chauffeur-driven, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce Executive Cars, MPV & super-luxury Limos.
Funerals and longer journeys
Sadly, we have also been chauffeuring passengers to more funerals during this time. As well as work for key workers and some people with critical medical needs (not COVID-19).
We have also carried people, on some longer city to city essential journeys. Such as students returning home to isolate with family. And people returning home from convalescence.
We would like to express our gratitude to all of our chauffeurs for their selfless approach, attention, and their hard work. They have done us proud! And to of course our passengers for trusting us with their travel during the coronavirus.
iChauffeur COVID-19 Procedures
As safety is always paramount at iChauffeur, we have of course, followed the new DfT guidance to the letter. But we have also added some important amendments, which we believe will make all our chauffeur-driven journeys safer. The bespoke nature of our business means that we can continue to provide a very personal service, even during times of crisis. Small details, but we feel they are important. Here are the main points of our revised Coronavirus Travel policy.
Sanitise. Drive. Sanitise. Repeat.
This infinite loop of meticulous hygiene is our new safer travel mantra. This applies to chauffeurs as well as their vehicles. And of course even our passengers will need to observe the required hand washing practices, that we are all so fond of…
We require that all vehicles be sanitised before, and after, every passenger journey.
This exceeds the current guideline which recommends cleaning only after the journey and not before. It would not be practical for taxis, minicabs and other busier services to adhere to our double-ended cleaning approach. One of the key differences between regular private hire vehicles and our services, is that of foot-fall in vehicles. Our cars, even in the busiest periods, rarely carry more than 2 passengers on any single day.
During the pandemic, our chauffeurs will be very fortunate to get even one journey in a day. This is obviously not a great time for any of us, but the travel industry has taken quite a steep dive. Staying positive, this does allow them to take greater care with the clean.
The vehicle will be given at least one all over general clean per working day. Plus a touch point focused disinfectant clean before and after any journey.
“Touch points (for example buttons to open doors, hand rails) across the transport network should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.”
– Department of Transport
iChauffeur will also:
- Identify higher risk areas such as areas that are touched more regularly. (Touch points/Hot spots)
- Supply standard cleaning products for regular cleaning and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for used cleaning products.
- Cleaning regularly-touched objects and surfaces (like door handles, handrails and seat belt clips) more often than usual using standard cleaning products.
- Clearing workspaces, removing and appropriately disposing of waste and removing belongings from the vehicle at the end of each journey.
- Supply tissues for passengers
We are doing all we can to make our chauffeur service cool our “hot spots”. We recognise that these areas in particular need special attention. High alcohol content disinfectants will be used to focus on the ’grime’ as much as their usual ’shine’.
A Touch too much
But touch points are always going to be touchy. That’s not good. Especially when the world is in the grips of the Coronavirus. We thought we could do better. Take the touch out of the equation. So we are pleased to announce that we are putting the finishing touches to our new even safer level of service, which iChauffeur call: ‘Contactless Travel’.
We have drafted a new safety protocol which we will publish on Tuesday morning, after independent peer review process has finished. For now, please be reassured that once again we are going the extra mile.
2020 should have been a year of great celebration for iChauffeur. It marks 15 years of driving excellence. Now is not the time to celebrate. Instead we are once again, going to push standards up across the industry. Not just to make it 4 years in a row where we win the best chauffeur company award.
Sharing is caring
Our motivation is to do all we can to help beat this virus. Which is why on Tuesday, we will be sharing our Coronavirus Safety Protocol to the industry. Yep, even to our competitors. Because we are all in this together. And that is we all pull together on this COVID-19. Our safety protocol will be shared with an Open Source Creative Commons licence, so chauffeurs, operators and others can publish this or share it. Plus we welcome comments, suggestions and are really looking forward to more contributions. Only together, can we can beat this.
We are advising passengers, if they can, to wear a face covering while travelling in our private hire vehicles. Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by the law. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Please follow the How to wear and make a cloth face covering guidance.
“The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas.”
Department for Transport
A note on Surgical masks & respirators:
The government say that surgical masks or respirators should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings. A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment.
Air-conditioning and ventilation
We recommend, subject to conditions, that windows are kept open.
The latest thinking is that good ventilation may help reduce the risk of the transmission of the Coronavirus. Air conditioning must be set to extract and not recirculate the air within the vehicle (where possible).
Meet and greet procedure
Chauffeurs will not shake passengers’ hands, and whenever possible, will observe the 2 metre (6 feet) minimum social distance rule. A gentle nod, a warm hello, and the smiling twinkle of their eyes, will have to suffice for the meet and greet till we move past the virus.
Opening and Closing Doors
The chauffeur will open and close all passenger doors.
Passengers are to place their luggage where it is safe to leave. Then walk towards the vehicle or step away from the luggage by 2 metres, if they are going to follow the chauffeur to the car, perhaps at an airport meet and greet for example.
The chauffeur will carry your bags to the car, and load them into the boot (trunk).
We advise that the passenger(s) should step back at least 2 metres and allow the chauffeur to step away from the passenger doors. The chauffeur will direct you when it is safe to climb aboard your vehicle.
Again on arrival at their destination, the passenger(s) should wait for the chauffeur to open the door. Once the chauffeur is at least 2 metres away, and after they have checked the pavement and road are clear from approaching traffic, they will instruct the passenger(s) to exit the car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can we transport workers to and from hospitals?
Q: Can we drive passengers of ill health in and out of hospital?
Yes, but people should not use our chauffeur service if:
- They have symptoms of COVID-19, such as a new, continuous cough or a high temperature
- If any one in their household are self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Q: Can we carry passengers with accessibility issues while maintaining social distancing?
A: We will do all we can to assist disabled passengers. We will follow the guidance and advice on measures that chauffeurs and passengers can take when it is not possible to maintain proper social distancing. Please discuss your passenger requirements with us.
Q: Can we supply and drive funeral cars for passengers?
A: Yes. Please accept our heartfelt condolences. We have since inception offered chauffeur-driven funeral cars and limousines for passengers. We do not provide hearses or other funeral services, apart from supplying wreaths or fulfilling other personal passenger requests. Please discuss your passenger requirements with our emphatic and supportive team.
Q: Can we transport people to and from airports?
A: Absolutely. We offer a seamless meet and greet airport transfer service.
Q: Do our vehicles have protective barriers between passengers and their chauffeur?
A: No. Currently, we are not permitted to install any sort of barrier between the passenger and the chauffeur. However, our executive chauffeur-driven cars and MPVs offer superior legroom arrive at your destination feeling safer and more relaxed.
Q: Which is the safest chauffeur-driven car during the Coronavirus?
A: All of them. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has pioneered safety enhancements throughout its long line as the flagship of the Mercedes executive car/luxury limousine model line. But the Mercedes-Benz V-Class offers more space. A social distance friendly 2.5 metres on our extra long V-Class fleet. The behemoth Bentley, elevated Range Rover & stately Rolls-Royce vehicles are large, super-luxury limos. With very generous legroom. We believe that this distancing may help reduce transmission. All of our cars, have state of the art automotive air-conditioning systems. Sophisticated air-filtration systems to extract air from the car, and replace with filtered and conditioned air. We are told that Good ventilation may help reduce transmission, so opening the windows, subject to fair conditions may be wise to further improve the throughput of air. The most eco-friendly way would be to turn off the air-conditioning and just have the windows open. But during this tragic COVID-19 pandemic, we advise extracting air-con turned on, with the windows open a little.
Q: Where is the safest place to sit in an executive car or MPV?
A: Behind the driver, to the left if possible (we drive on the right hand side of the road in the UK). Sorry, we must insist on one car per passenger, unless passengers are all from the same lockdown household. We suggest people don’t sit facing each other too.
- Guidance for passengers
- Guidance for operators (PDF)
- Guidance on clinically extremely vulnerable
- Guidance for households with a possible coronavirus infection
- We’ll get you home – Safe, long distance UK travel service during Coronavirus
Do you wish to travel safely during the pandemic?
Who would not? Our goal is to make every journey a pleasure. You will only enjoy the journey if you are relaxed. Confident the chauffeur, has washed his hands, vehicle and is doing everything she can to keep you safe. Trust your safety with our friendly, experienced professional licensed chauffeurs and discover why we believe they are the greatest chauffeurs. Bar none. Don’t settle for the new normal, or reduced-fat service. Even during this tragic time, our full-fat, full-on, luxury service is guaranteed to make your journey a pleasure. Or at the very least carry you safely. And in the ultimate luxury, comfort and style. We don’t do normal, Nigel. Even now, luxury is standard. Let our good Knights of the road protect you, and yours on your travels. Trust is earnt, but you can relax before, during and after your journey with iChauffeur.
Contact us to book your chauffeur-driven travel or learn more about our safety protocols.