Dragon Taxis, South Wales’ largest taxi and private hire vehicle operator, is offering free rides to help roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to elderly and vulnerable patients across Bridgend, Cardiff, Newport and Torfaen.
GP practices across South Wales are taking their first steps in the process to tackle the pandemic by vaccinating the elderly and vulnerable in the local community.
Dragon Taxis are working with participating GP practices to offer rides only to those eligible persons who have been invited to make a vaccination appointment, if they have no other means of transport. The offer provides a COVID-safe private hire journey to the vaccination centre, and the patient has the option to book a safe journey home too.
For ease, the telephone operators at the participating GP surgeries will co-ordinate the free journey with the Dragon Taxis dispatch centre using a dedicated web-based booking system. The system is designed to ensure that only the eligible persons who need it get access to the free rides.
The gesture of goodwill will benefit the elderly and vulnerable within the local community who, without Dragon Taxis help, their vaccination may have been delayed.
Jack Price, Regional Director of Dragon Taxis, said: “In these first few weeks of the programme, we are helping to assist the first wave of people get their vaccinations. For those who don’t have another means of transport we want to help our local community beat COVID.”
“We don’t want to bring any additional pressure on the NHS or GP practices and it’s vital that people do not call their GPs or NHS asking about free rides. Our offer is strictly on appointment only for those persons who are eligible.”
“We’ve had tremendous interest across South Wales. We are also exploring the option of fixed rates and reduced fares for future waves of people who are invited for their vaccination. Even if you are not eligible for the free journey, we may be able to help you. This might be a useful option as public transport services are being reduced.”
Private Hire Vehicles continue to play a vital role in the community, and this is not the first time Dragon Taxis has assisted communities through COVID. In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic Dragon Taxis offered a 20% discount on fares for all frontline NHS staff, on the production of valid NHS identification. Plus, Dragon Taxis delivered food and free taxi vouchers to the NHS staff at Royal Gwent Hospital.
Dragon Taxis was also one of the first transport companies to introduce additional health and hygiene measures in 2020 to make journeys as safe as possible for all passengers and driver-partners. The measures, designed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, include specialist cleaning regimes, in-vehicle protective screens, the wearing of face coverings and passengers sitting in the rear of the vehicle.