Driver Guidelines for COVID-19

Maintaining health and safety to minimise risk of COVID-19

Ola is committed to maintaining the health and safety of our drivers and riders and to provide a safe and quality service to minimise the risk of acquiring coronavirus (COVID-19). 

All drivers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not harm the health and safety of others – each and every trip provided by drivers must be safe.

All Ola drivers are responsible for complying with this policy. 

Key policies

  1. All drivers must adhere to the New Zealand federal and state government guidelines on COVID-19 restrictions:
  2. All drivers must comply with recommended practices of the Ministry of Health NZ, WorkSafe: Home and the NZ Transport Agency to minimise the risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 including those relating to:
    • self-isolation and quarantine rules
    • personal hygiene practices
    • physical distancing rules
    • vehicle cleaning requirements
  3. These recommended practices apply before, during and after driving shifts. Please see here for ‘Guidance for private car, rental vehicles, small passenger services (taxis and rideshare), car share’

These practices are summarised below.

Self-isolation

  1. All drivers must isolate and cannot drive if:
    • they have COVID-19
    • they have been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results
    • they show signs of COVID-19 or feel unwell
    • health authorities suspect they have COVID-19
    • they are subject to any other requirement to isolate
  2. Drivers must stay isolated until their public health authority advises them that they are safe to leave home. If drivers leave isolation without permission, drivers may face criminal charges or a fine by the authority. 
  3. Self- Isolation means drivers stay at home and take common sense precautions to avoid close contact with those they live with as stated here. If a driver has COVID-19, or is feeling unwell, it is critical that the driver stays at home and recovers. If a driver is waiting for COVID-19 test results, they  should also self-isolate as a precaution.

Before starting shift

  1. Self-assessment
    • All drivers must self-assess at the time of logging on their Ola app before starting their shift for the day.
    • Drivers cannot drive if they are unwell (see Self-Isolation section above).
  2. Deep clean
    • Deep clean means cleaning and disinfecting a surface:
      • cleaning means to physically remove germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and grime from surfaces using a detergent and water solution; and
      • disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. 
    • All drivers must deep clean their vehicle before starting their shift and follow the Ministry of Health NZ  on COVID-19: Cleaning frequently asked questions on environmental cleaning and disinfection.
    • Drivers should use appropriate cleaning and disinfection products as required and comply with the packaging or manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the products are used properly, safely and effectively.
    • Drivers must keep appropriate cleaning records to ensure that they meet their cleaning obligations. A sample cleaning record template is available from the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Victoria website – Vehicle Cleaning Register template.
  3. Sanitisation kit
    • All drivers must keep a sanitisation kit and must check that the kit contains adequate supplies before starting their shift for the day. 
    • The sanitisation kit should consist of appropriate hygiene, cleaning and disinfection products such as a hand sanitiser, disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes, packet of tissues and either dedicated gloves or disposable gloves for cleaning, disinfecting and wiping down surfaces.
  4. Face covering or face mask:
    • All drivers must follow the Ministry of Health NZ’s advice on face masks.
    • The Ministry of Health NZ’s current recommendation about wearing masks in public is that:
      • If people are unwell in the community with COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay at home and seek medical advice
      • If you need to travel to see a health professional, a face mask should be worn. For example, people with symptoms of COVID-19 who are asked to undertake a test should wear a face mask during their travel to the appropriate testing facility.
      • If people are unwell in the community with COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay at home and seek medical advice. 
      • If you need to travel to see a health professional, a face mask should be worn. For example, people with symptoms of COVID-19 who are asked to undertake a test should wear a face mask during their travel to the appropriate testing facility.
      • Face masks can be useful if there is known community transmission, and people are near each other, (less than 2 metres apart) such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments.
      • since physical distancing cannot be maintained in rideshare vehicles, then a face mask or face covering should be worn if community transmission of COVID-19 is present.
      • Information on the presence of community transmission across New Zealand can be found here and for Alert levels  here.

During trips

  1. Physical distancing
    • All drivers must comply with physical distancing rules:
      • keep 1.5 metres away from riders or others
      • have riders use the rear seats only
      • avoid physical contact
      • If a rider has luggage, drivers are able to open the boot for the rider but should avoid touching the luggage and request that the rider handle their own luggage.
      • All drivers should wear a mask or face covering if required or advised under the New Zealand government guidelines.
  1. Hygiene
    • All drivers must maintain hygiene as follows: 
      • sanitise hands regularly including before and after each trip
      • wash their body, hair and clothes daily
      • avoid touching their face
      • refrain from spitting at all times
      • refrain from coughing or sneezing or if necessary, cough or sneeze into elbow
      • set the air conditioning to external airflow rather than to recirculation, or have windows open where appropriate
    • For guidance, see WHO’s guidelines on Hand Hygiene.
  2. Cleaning:
    • All drivers must clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces touched by drivers and riders after each rider leaves and before the next trip starts using appropriate cleaning and disinfection products.
    • High-touch surfaces include:
      • steering wheel and controls, heat/air conditioner controls, navigation controls
      • door handles (including the boot handle), visors, window controls
      • rear view mirror, rear view mirror adjuster, seat belt clips
      • hand brake, centre console, gear stick, glove box (if used)
    • All cigarette butts, dirty or used wipes, tissues and any other rubbish should be placed in a rubbish bag and sealed to be discarded in a bin at the end of a trip.
  3. Rider showing signs of being unwell:
    • Ola’s expectation is that it is the duty of drivers to maintain the health and safety of themselves and their riders and provide a safe and quality service to Ola’s riders.
    • Ola also expects its riders to be a responsible member of the community by taking the following precautions:
      • avoid direct contact with the driver
      • practice good cough/sneeze hygiene
      • dispose of tissues outside of the car
      • wear a face mask or face covering where required or advised
      • sit at the back of the car.
  • If a driver forms an opinion that the rider has not taken the above precautions or if the rider is showing signs or symptoms of being unwell such as coughing, sniffling or sneezing and the driver believes that they cannot provide a safe service, then the driver may choose to refuse or terminate the trip. Group transport of at-risk people, including older people, should be avoided where possible.
    • Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws may apply to fare-refusals if a driver refuses the trip or cancels a trip based on the rider’s nationality, disability or cultural background.
    • If the driver is very concerned (if say, in the conversation with the rider, they tell the driver that they have just arrived from overseas), the driver must make a report to Ola. 
    • Making a complaint against the rider to Ola allows us to investigate the matter and, where appropriate, suspend the rider from the Ola platform for 14 days. 

At end of shift

  1. Deep clean:
  • Drivers must keep appropriate cleaning records to ensure that they meet their cleaning obligations. A sample cleaning record template is available from the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Victoria website – Vehicle Cleaning Register template.