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Taxi firm installs ‘sneeze screens’ to protect drivers and passengers

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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A Norwich taxi firm has installed ‘sneeze screens’ into all its vehicles to reassure passengers as it weathers the coronavirus storm.

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Gary Esstell, David Hicks and Matthew Plumstead. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANCourtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Gary Esstell, David Hicks and Matthew Plumstead. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

With people advised to work from home where possible and limit unnecessary travel, many taxi firms have seen a downturn in trade, with Mark Streeter, managing director of Courtesy Taxis, estimating business had dropped by roughly half.

The firm has been doing what it can to encourage people to use its cars and minibuses, and Mr Streeter said the new screens came alongside weekly sterilisation of its vehicles and protective equipment being supplied to drivers.

He said the new screens, designed to separate the front and back of the vehicles, had been created by his son, who runs SeeSaw Graphic Design, in partnership with SSAF Window Films and Printed Graphics.

“These are the final part of everything we’re doing to keep everyone safe,” he said.

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Matthew Plumstead  Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANCourtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Matthew Plumstead Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“It’s a belt and braces approach. We want to make clear we are going above and beyond and reassure the public that they can travel safely.”

He said business had been challenging over the last few weeks, with several drivers off due to shielding or self-isolation.

“We have survived,” he said, “and we are continuing to survive. We are still offering 24 hour travel, but it has been quieter.

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“I would say that business has probably halved.

“But our service is still there for the public.”

He praised the company’s passengers, as well as his team of controllers and drivers.

“They are a great bunch,” he said.

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANCourtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“They have really dug their heels in and got on with the job.”

During the pandemic, Courtesy, which is based in Norwich city centre, has given away more than 2,500 free journeys to NHS workers.

For updates on how coronavirus is affecting our region, you can join our Facebook page Norfolk Coronavirus Updates.

Courtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANCourtesy Taxis, have installed sneeze screens in their cabs during the pandemic. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN


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