Cabs giant Addison Lee installs partitions after tragic covid deaths of three drivers
London private hire car giant Addison Lee today said it would be installing partition screens to protect staff and customers after three drivers in the capital died of coronavirus.
The company, which claims to be the first in the industry to make such a move, told the Evening Standard it would be fitting screens to separate the front of its cars from passengers in the rear to all of its 4000 vehicles in a move set to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Drivers of passenger vehicles have been among the worst affected group from the disease.
Work begins next week with the fleet expected to be completed by the end of May as more people are expected to use cabs in fear of travelling on public transport.
Paying tribute to his staff, chief executive Liam Griffin said: “Every day during this crisis, our drivers have made extraordinary efforts to support the capital’s fight against the pandemic and make essential journeys and deliveries for Londoners. That’s why their safety is our number one priority, and why we’re investing in screens to protect them and their passengers.”
The coronavirus pandemic hit just as Addison Lee was taken over by a consortium led by Griffin with the backing of financier Cheyne Capital. Griffin, the son of founder John, had left when he sold the business for £300 million to the private equity firm Carlyle Group in 2013. Carlyle reportedly lost all of its investment as the rise of Uber hammered its sales and it handed the business over to Griffin and Cheyne.
While the collapse in people moving about London due to covid made the latest takeover appear spectacularly unluckily timed, Griffin said he hoped employers would be making more use of private hire cars to keep employees off the tubes and buses.
He said: “If London is to gradually get moving again as the government adjusts its advice, it is vital to ensure that the public transport network is not overwhelmed, and that people have a clean and safe way to travel as they go back to work.”