Utica, N.Y. - Joe Khouri, owner of Ace Taxi in Utica, says he has had to cut the number of his cab drivers from 9 down to 3 since Governor Cuomo shut down the bars and restaurants in the state two weeks ago, and since then, people have been basically just staying at home to help keep the virus from spreading.
Taxis have been identified as an essential service to remain open during this crisis. Khouri says taxis are definitely essential, "There’s a lot of people that depend on us that need to go places and see their doctors, physicians, pick up their medication, and also grocery shopping."
Khouri says not too many people are calling taxis these day and his cabbies, like cabbies all across the country, are struggling. Khouri says he understands people's concerns about getting in an enclosed vehicle with another person because that other person may not show symptoms of coronavirus, but could unknowingly have it. Khouri says that trepidation goes both ways, for the the rider, and the driver.
That is why Khouri is asking anyone that may be sick to not call for a cab, "We’re all in this together, and I urge everyone please, if you are sick do not call the taxi. We are going to ask you when you call here for a ride, we’re going to ask you if you are not well, because we will not take you, that’s just plain and simple."
Khouri also says his drivers, while they are doing a lot less driving, they are doing a lot more cleaning, "Every time a person leaves our car, we will pull over, sanitize the inner and outer door handles, also wipe down the vehicle on the inside so that the next fair that comes in, they are protected in there safe."
Khouri also says his drivers now have a thermometer which they use to take the temperature of riders before they get in, "This laser temperature thermometer will help identify anyone that is sick or has a fever, and if you do, you’re not riding with us. We will tell you to get to a physician, call your doctor, whatever."