Becoming a pet-friendly taxi firm
There are many reasons why drivers do not like to accept pets as passengers. Common complaints include safety, noise, mess and smell. But recalling some Friday night stories, it’s apparent that pets can often be better behaved than human customers! With people often wanting to transport their pets, and with plenty of opportunity to partner with veterinary practices to increase your income, perhaps accepting pets it’s worth considering. In case you do, we’ve come up with some points to think about.
Pets need to be secured for travel. Not only can a pet be a distraction if unsecured, they can injure themselves if left to climb around a moving vehicle. Furthermore, in the event of a crash, they are more likely to be injured if not restrained, and can cause damage to other passengers due to the forces of a collision. Rule 57 of the Highway Code stipulates that it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that pets are secured such that they cannot distract or cause injury. Failing to do so can result in a penalty and, in a worst case, death. If you intend to travel with pets it is therefore important that you carry appropriate harnesses, or ensure your customers provide cages. Given that restraints and cages cost as little as £10, you can easily make your money back by charging a pet surcharge.
Smell is often a concern when it comes to pets. No one likes the damp dog smell and drivers certainly don’t want to be left with a lingering whiff once the passengers have alighted. In reality, pets are generally not that smelly. However, arming yourself with air freshener should alleviate the occasional odour. You can also use a blanket or cage to separate the pet from the touching the fabric of the car, so smells shouldn’t linger. If the customer is pre-booked you can also provide the disclaimer that you reserve a right to refuse a smelly animal.
Animals can make a mess. However, by restraining animals and ensuing that you only pick up clean pets, i.e. not dogs that have spent the day rolling in mud, you’re already in a good position. However, in case animals do make a mess, it’s worth keeping a blanket or cage to keep them away from the fabric of the car. Some basic cleaning supplies would be wise too. On balance, however, securing the animal and taking necessary precautions to avoid mess should alleviate any concerns.
Parking and hydration
You must always be wary to ensure that your animal passengers do not get anxious or dehydrated. They can’t tell you if there’s a problem so you’ll need to keep an eye on them. You may need to provide water and should certainly not leave them locked in a hot car. Regular comfort breaks and a water bowl should be sufficient, but a bit of common sense and both driver and passenger should be fine.