Cabs for Jabs: Cardiff taxi firm offers free rides to vaccination centres

Drive Taxis is offering free trips for the elderly and vulnerable to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

CARDIFF taxi firm Drive Taxis is offering free rides for elderly and vulnerable passengers to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

The scheme, which began last week, allows elderly and vulnerable passengers to book a free taxi ride to take them to their appointment.

Drive Taxis will even pick them up afterwards, too.

“Any elderly or vulnerable passengers who need to go and get their vaccinations will be taken down for free,” said Drive Taxis company secretary, Paul O’Hara.

“We’ll pick them up when they’re done and take them home for free.”

Drive Taxis is the only driver-owned co-operative taxi firm in Wales and began taking fares back on St David’s Day 2019.

Drive Taxis offers free trips for vaccine appointments.

After just a year of trading, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

And that’s when Drive Taxis decided to help out their local community.

“We accumulated funds in the bank from our members fees to invest in a better dispatch system when we were able to. But when the first lockdown hit back in March we decided to use those funds to offer free shopping trips and free click and collect services for people who were shielding, and free prescription runs,” said Mr O’Hara.

The new scheme is funded in the same way – by the company and drivers.

And they hope it might help more people take up the vaccine.

After recent criticism, the Welsh Government has ramped up its vaccine rollout, meaning more patients than ever are getting their COVID-19 jabs.

But many of them may have trouble getting to the vaccine centres.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that over half of over-80s in Wales have now received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

However, over-80s vaccine uptake stands at just 66.9%.

The scheme could help encourage more elderly and vulnerable passengers to get the vaccine.

At the very least, it will make it easier for them to get it.

Mr O’Hara said: “We just take the phone call from the person going to have the jab and we’ll go and pick them up. There’s no referral, nothing like that – it’s just based on trust, which is what the company is all about.

“We haven’t had any 30-year-olds going to get a vaccine to get a free cab ride. It’s working well at the moment.”

The service is available to any elderly or vulnerable passengers in the Cardiff area. The trip itself is limited to vaccination centres within Cardiff.

“We only started it last week, and we’ve taken 50 or 60 people so far. We’ve got people booked in all through the day up until 6:30 tonight. It is quite popular,” said Mr O’Hara.

Their other COVID services were incredibly popular, too.

Drive Taxis’ recent ‘Click and Collect’ service saw them deliver shopping and prescriptions across Cardiff.

But they’re always keen to help more people.

“We’re really pleased with the reaction it’s getting – we’d love to get the word out more,” Mr O’Hara added.

Call Drive Taxis on 029 20140140 for help getting to your vaccine appointment.