Ground transport experience post-COVID-19
As travel restrictions begin to ease around the world and businesses prepare for their re-entry to business travel, we understand that business travellers face many unknowns surrounding their future travel experiences.
CTM recently conducted a global customer survey to understand the key issues and concerns facing businesses and their travellers as they prepare to return to travel. A recurring theme across our survey findings was the future travel experience, and how the safety and well-being of travellers would be maintained.
When it comes to ground transportation – from car rental and private transfers to taxis and ride-sharing – business travellers can expect to experience newly enhanced processes across a range of service experiences spanning cleaning, vehicle collection and drop-off, and booking administration.
In this blog, we identify some of the post-COVID-19 measures being implemented across the ground transportation sector in Australia and New Zealand.
For many business travellers, the option to rent a private car for the duration of their trip will be a reassuring, and often cost-effective, solution. For small travelling parties (2 to 3 travellers), renting a ‘full size car’ or ‘people mover’ could provide sufficient space to maintain social distancing while limiting interactions with unknown contacts. Typically, a single day of car rental (inclusive of insurance) will cost less than 2 or 3 return taxi fares from an airport to CBD location.
Tip: Check for complimentary parking facilities at your destination or accommodation provider to maximise your budget. Work with your CTM account manager to ensure that your preferred hotel agreements are optimised to include value-adds (such as parking) where possible.
Many car rental companies have communicated enhanced cleaning methods since COVID-19, with some introducing a ‘new standard of clean’ and increasing safety measures to enhance customer safety and confidence.
Car rental companies such as Avis Budget Group, Hertz and Thrifty have committed to enhancing their already rigorous cleaning methods, and some have developed new cleanliness standards such as the ‘Avis Safety Pledge’ and ‘Budget Worry-Free Promise’.
Avis Budget Group: “We have further enhanced our cleaning protocols which includes thorough, multiple-point focus areas using industry-grade cleaning solution throughout the vehicle, paying particular attention to hard surfaces that people touch, such as steer wheels, door handles, key fobs and dashboards.”
Avis also welcomes customers to utilise their own cleaning products during their rental, if they wish, as long as they do not contain bleach (which can damage surfaces).
Hertz: “In addition to practising preventative measures to reduce the spread of germs within our facilities, all our vehicles go through a rigorous, multi-step cleaning process for each rental. We are remaining vigilant in upholding these practices and are taking additional precautions as recommended by the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Government to minimise the risk to our customers and employees.”
Budget: “All vehicles are cleaned before every rental, paying special attention to high touch point surfaces such as the steering wheel, indicators, dashboard, hand grips, in-car entertainment controls, cup holders, keys, centre consoles, and all door handles, both inside and out… The promise is a global commitment, so customers will benefit from the new health and safety protocols no matter where they are collecting or dropping off their vehicles.”
Extra precautions to reduce the spread
Car rental companies are introducing additional measures to protect both their employees and customers, with many introducing new safety protocols for vehicle pick-up and drop-off to minimise physical contact.
Avis customers can expect to be served by branch employees wearing face masks and gloves and positioned behind a Perspex counter shield, floor markers to encourage social distancing, and paperless rental agreements and invoices at most locations.
Avis Preferred members can also bypass the counter at select locations across Australia and go straight to their car for collection, or enjoy express service at select locations across New Zealand, and enjoy faster returns with the rapid return check-in service.
Many companies are defaulting to electronic rental documentation and receipts (printed copies should be available on request).
Booking conditions and availability
Please note, some car rental suppliers have made adjustments to selected depot operating hours and locations in response to COVID-19. In some cases, car rental companies are discouraging or preventing walk-in bookings. For up to date information, please contact your CTM travel consultant or check the supplier’s website for more information.
In acknowledging the fast-changing travel landscape, some car rental suppliers have introduced temporary changes to booking change and cancellation conditions to provide customers with greater flexibility during COVID-19. Check with your CTM travel consultant to understand the booking conditions and services that relate to your booking.
Private Transfers & Shuttle Services
Private transfer and shuttle service operator Jayride has implemented enhanced services to meet the needs of corporate travellers and corporate travel programs.
Jayride is an online marketplace to compare and book shared airport shuttles and private transfers in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and Asia (bookings are available via your CTM travel consultant).
In response to COVID-19, Jayride has implemented an enhanced hygiene program that identifies suppliers which meet new heightened hygiene practices with a “COVID-19 Prepared” icon, enabling travellers to make more informed booking decisions. These enhanced hygiene practices include:
- Opening and closing doors for the passengers
- Hand sanitiser and / or disinfectant wipes available
- Disinfecting the vehicle before and after each transfer
- Drivers to wear protective gear such as face masks and gloves
- Social distancing
Taxi / Ride Share
Taxis and ride-sharing remain a popular choice for short trips and ad-hoc transfers for many business travellers, and general guidance around health and well-being should be practiced when using public transport.
At the time of writing, the New Zealand Government’s Alert Level 1 does not require physical distancing.
Safe Work Australia’s guidance for taxi / ride share services includes: “Each driver is responsible for making sure physical distancing is observed to the extent possible in their vehicles. Where possible, drivers should ask passengers to:
- sit in the back seat of the vehicle
- handle their own luggage
- use contactless payments – where cash payment is required, drivers and passengers should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser afterwards.”
The New Zealand Government advises: “Regular cleaning of vehicles remains important at Alert Level 1. Vehicles other than private cars should be cleaned in accordance with MOH guidance.”
Safe Work Australia: “Passenger transport inevitably entails the regular touching of objects and surfaces on vehicles by drivers and many passengers over the course of a shift. This means that usual cleaning of vehicles needs to be increased.
- have alcohol-based hand sanitiser for their own use and available for use by their passengers, and regularly use it after opening and closing doors, moving luggage, exchanging payment and after personal contact
- provide closed bins in vehicles where appropriate to enable the hygienic disposal of waste and rubbish such as used tissues, immediately after use. Drivers and passengers should use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after they dispose of their waste
- clean and disinfect personal items such as glasses and phones frequently (e.g. using isopropyl alcohol wipes)
- clean surfaces with appropriate disinfectant wipes if a passenger spreads droplets (such as sneezing, coughing or vomiting), and
- employ standard cleaning practices at the end of each shift, as part of good hygiene practice by using appropriate detergent solutions. Once cleaned, they should ideally be disinfected using appropriate disinfectant solutions, including a focus on high touch point surfaces such as door handles and internal handles, seats and seatbelts, window controls, payment terminals and boot lids.”
Ride share provider Uber has recently announced a COVID-19 partnership with disinfectant maker Dettol which allows Uber drivers to equip vehicles with hand sanitisers and disinfectants at no cost.
- Safe Work Australia: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/taxi-rideshare-minimising-the-risk-of-exposure-to-covid-19%202204.pdf
- Australian Government: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/transport/files/COVID19_public_transport_principles_29052020.pdf
- New Zealand Government: https://www.transport.govt.nz/about/covid-19/transport-and-travel-by-alert-level/#car
CTM works with a range of preferred ground transportation partners which are committed to enhancing the safety and well-being of travellers through enhanced cleaning measures and ensuring precautions are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Contact CTM to discuss your specific transport needs.
Published 12 June 2020
The information in this article is sourced from third parties. CTM does not take responsibility for its accuracy or currency. CTM recommends travellers seek independent information prior to travel.