Dubai Taxis to be sanitised the eco-friendly way

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By Shafaat Ahmed  www.khaleejtimes.com

DUBAI — The DTC’s pilot project in association with Swiss sanitisation firm Saniservice, will disinfect vehicles without the possibility of causing any side-effects on passengers and drivers. The initiative is part of Roads and Transport Authority’s – parent company of DTC – general policy of finding eco-friendly solutions for all its needs and operations.

Dubai Taxi
Dubai Taxi

Giving an exclusive insight into the project to Khaleej Times, DTC’s Acting Director of Operations Mohammed Yousif Saleh said that the corporation, which operates a fleet of 3,500 taxis, has been on the lookout to find green solutions to sanitisation and disinfection of taxis.

“This is an important and pioneering initiative for us. We have been using some products to improve hygiene levels in the vehicles but at the same time we were also looking for better products because we care about public health and hygiene. We initially tackled it with perfume but that only improves the smell and doesn’t change hygiene levels. This new product has the capacity to improve the smell as well as sanitise the taxis,” said Saleh.

Not only does it disinfect the taxis, it does it without using chemicals, and a Dubai Municipality certificate is a proof of the product’ credibility.

“A lot of companies came to us offering their services, claiming that their products kill the germs as well as clear the odour, but they didn’t have the 
municipality’s approval to back their claim. One of the reasons we agreed for the trial with Saniservice is because it is approved by the authorities concerned,” added Saleh.

The DTC will use the product on a trial basis for three months and based on the feedback from customers, we will decide whether to continue the project or not.

“This is just a trial project, we are testing the product in our 350 airport taxis for three months. After that, we will do a survey with the customers and our drivers, we will continue with the service only if we get a positive feedback,” explained Saleh, delving into the nature of project.

As opposed to the time-consuming traditional method of disinfection, Saniservice uses a time-efficient method of fogging, which takes around 20 minutes to sanitise a taxi, whereas traditional methods take hours.

The issue of odour in taxis has been getting attention for quite some time now, DTC and other franchise companies have been using air-fresheners to tackle the issue.

“Six months ago, we had a lot complaints about smell and hygiene, since then we have introduced a few measures to keep the cars clean and I think this is one part of the solution for car hygiene,” said DTC’s Maintenance Executive Abu Saeed.

But, according to the Saniservice CEO, air-fresheners are not a solution for this problem.

“The perfumes will only improve the smell but won’t improve the quality of air. There are other products that can sanitise the vehicles but at the same time, they leave harmful chemicals in the air, causing side-effects. Our products don’t use chemicals and at the same time they kill germs more effectively,” said Joel Mayor, CEO of Saniservice, comparing his products with others.

He said that so far, the only way people have known is strong chemical laden sanitisers to kill bacteria.

“We are the first and the only company to use non-chemical, eco-friendly products, plus these cost around the same as the other products used traditionally and most importantly our products take only 20 minutes to do the job,” Mayor added.

Going into the details of operations, he said that once a taxi is fogged with the dry-mist, the mist particles, which are as tiny as 50 microns, reach every nook and cranny of the vehicle killing germs. This, he says, takes 20 minutes and after that the vehicle can be used.

“We have around 50 taxis at the waiting area near the airport and another 50 on the queue. For the next three months, two expert technicians would be employed daily to disinfect the taxis in the waiting area one by one before they enter the queue to pick up costumers,” explained Saleh.

He said that the product is being introduced in airport taxis because “people using airport taxis are generally foreigners and a clean and hygienic taxi will have a very good first impression on them”.

Saleh informed that once the DTC is satisfied with the result of the three-month trial, the product will be regularly used by its entire fleet and will also be recommended to the franchises.

shafaat@khaleejtimes.com