How We’re Reworking Our Services To Keep Critical Parts Moving in Europe
Across the hundred European cities that FREE NOW operates in, we have felt the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. All over the world, governments have put safety measures in place to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, life as we know it has changed drastically on an unprecedented scale, changing the way we work, play, and live.
Our role as an urban mobility provider means that we have an immense responsibility to be there for the people in our cities.
The team at FREE NOW has been working harder than ever to implement meaningful ways to help those in the front line get to where they are urgently needed, to help those who are homeless get to a safe space to self-isolate, and to support our valiant drivers who have chosen to step up and serve their communities during this critical time.
Through our various communication channels and website, we are working to ensure that our passengers and drivers are updated and well informed on key safety measures and local initiatives. We have also advised our passengers that non-essential trips should be avoided without exception.
We have temporarily suspended hive e-scooter operations across all our markets. We have also suspended our service type, Match, to prevent non-essential carpooling. In Germany, Austria, Poland, and Portugal, we have disabled our Taxi XL service type and reduced the number of maximum passengers in a taxi in nearly all our markets.
- 🇮🇹 Over in Italy, we are collaborating with the authorities to provide free trips for medical personnel to travel to and from hospitals in Milan and Rome via our new service type “Heroes”.
- 🇪🇸 In Spain, our new “Heroes” service type offers medical personnel from selected health centres free trips to carry out their work within Madrid. The FREE NOW team in Spain are working on this and other similar initiatives to be rolled out in other cities. In the meantime, vehicle disinfection is ongoing for volunteer drivers in Madrid and Barcelona, and sanitisation materials are provided to volunteer drivers in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla.
- 🇩🇪 In Germany, our new “Courier” service which can be booked in Cologne and Munich offers delivery from local restaurants, supermarkets, and local stores directly to your doorstep for a fixed rate of 10€. This initiative would serve to support our communities — especially those in high-risk groups. Our “Nachthelden” service has been launched in collaboration with the city of Hamburg to support key workers in getting around the city flexibly. In combination with a HVV Public Transport ticket, key workers can take a taxi between midnight and 6 AM for a fixed rate of 4€. In addition to that, more than 500 protective screens have been installed in FREE NOW taxis across Germany to provide additional protection for drivers and passengers.
- 🇬🇧 In the UK, our “NHS Heroes” service offers a 50% discount on trips for all medical staff. In collaboration with the Mayor of London, our FREE NOW cabbies have also helped transport the homeless from the streets to hotels where they can self-isolate. Cash payments have been temporarily suspended in the UK as well as Ireland. In addition to that, a JustGiving crowdfunding page has been set up to allow people to donate a taxi trip to an NHS worker.
- 🇮🇪 In Ireland, in collaboration with our driver-partners, the “Medical” fleet type offers a 50% discount on taxi fares to help and support healthcare heroes with essential travel to and from work in the national fight against the pandemic.
- 🇦🇹 In Austria, older citizens who may be unfamiliar with using smartphones can order a FREE NOW taxi via a hotline, and can also use FREE NOW services for dispatch purposes.
- 🇵🇱 In Poland, our new service type “For Health” allows employees of hospitals and laboratories in the largest cities in Poland to travel to and from work for free. The travel costs will be borne by FREE NOW and supporting local companies, and a call has been made to encourage other companies and institutions to participate in the #TaxiForHealth initiative. In addition to that, more than 2000 plastic partitions and disinfectants were distributed to our drivers in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw, and Gdansk to provide additional protection for drivers and passengers.
- 🇵🇹 In Portugal, all employees in the health sector will be eligible for a 40% discount on trips with our new service type “Taxi Hero”. Drivers who volunteer in the initiative take home 0% commission, but will receive car division protection and disinfection. Over in Lisbon, hive eBikes were provided to the city council for volunteers to make quick deliveries of food and medicine to four neighbourhoods. In addition to that, the FREE NOW team in Portugal have offered to give away their personal taxi vouchers to anyone who wants to donate blood in Lisbon and Porto.
- 🇷🇴 In Romania, a fundraising campaign has been set up to raise funds for volunteer drivers who are transporting medical personnel to and from hospitals for free in Bucharest. There are plans in place to extend the campaign to Cluj-Napoca in the coming weeks.
And this is just the beginning. As topics surrounding this global crisis develops day by day, so will our efforts and initiatives to help #flattenthecurve. If you have ideas or suggestions on how we can help more people, please reach out to us on our social media channels.
Stay home and stay healthy!