New York City Uber Driver turns his vehicle into “safety zone on wheels,” in a last ditch effort to decrease viral transmission between passengers and drivers.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, December 9, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Koko Wyatt, a rideshare driver from Brooklyn recently launched www.kokossigns.com, an e-commerce website where rideshare drivers across America could purchase items to turn their cars into “safety zones on wheels.” The website’s products were created to help drivers become civically engaged in efforts proven by health experts to reduce viral transmission. With relative ease, app-drivers could communicate the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask by outfitting their vehicles with ready-made safety signs and tablet-compatible visuals.
With New York City hosting over 80,000 drivers and close to 600,000 ride-hailers per day, vehicles in the height of a pandemic could become primary modes of viral transmission. In March, the signature hustle and bustle of New York City slowly decreased as government officials initiated mandatory stay at home orders across the country. Koko was driving in the epicenter of the outbreak with N95 masks, face shields, and Lysol in tow to protect himself and his passengers against the looming dangers of contracting Covid -19. His overabundance of caution welcomed both stares from shocked onlookers and playful jokes from family who thought him, dramatic. But 9 months, 334,000 cases and 25,000 deaths later, Koko has managed to not contract the virus despite picking up passengers within red zone areas and his peers falling ill to the virus. He credits this to his compliance earlier on, to the advice given by health experts – mask up, wash hands and social distance.
But he found that not everyone was on board with flattening the curve. “I’d encounter passengers all the time without masks and I refused to pick them up. I wouldn’t even let them in the car,” explains the 5-star rated driver. At one point, Lyft threatened to deactivate Koko’s account because he was sending text messages to each customer, informing them to put their masks on before they got into the car. “One month before Governor Cuomo mandated that everyone in New York state wear masks, I was the only one with a “No Mask, No Ride,” sign on my vehicle. I was ahead of the trend,” he stated. “While everyone was scared to turn away customers, I valued my life over money.” Initially, the pandemic was a health concern but within months, it would be politicized once the economy started losing momentum due to lockdowns and the battle over which politician had the best plan for NYC ensued. In addition, civilians had their own perspectives of Covid-19, often citing general distrust for government as the reason for not wearing masks.
As Coronavirus cases surged, the unemployment rate plummeted to 13.2% in New York City, due to tourism and hospitality sectors hard-hit by the pandemic. Consequently, bold resistance to civic engagement took hold of average men and women blighted by economic strain. Club and bar owners secretly held large unmasked gatherings, defying state-issued rules to close doors to patrons after 10pm. Local mom and pop restaurants fought to stay open by appealing to customers who didn’t want to wear masks. In any given week, Koko would take over 100 passengers throughout New York City, and the lion’s share of them were traveling to local food dives and private house parties despite orders to do otherwise. Retrospectively, these noncompliant behaviors have caused the virus to surge in recent times.
Turning his vehicle into an “Anti Covid Transmission Zone,” was Koko’s only sense of control in a brave new world. He tapped into his graphic design skills and sharp business acumen to produce a solution to a problem he and many other drivers encountered on a daily basis – getting passengers to comply to mask rules without encountering conflict. Cases where authorities have tried to enforce social distance and mask rules and were physically assaulted in the line of duty, served as the driving force behind Koko’s signs.
Koko’s Signs is a line of durable, weather-resistant decals that drivers could non-obstructively place on their car windows to communicate rules in a non-threatening way. “The signs are bold enough to assert the driver’s expectation, but soft enough to not offend people who otherwise don’t take Covid-19 seriously,” states Koko Wyatt. Public response to his surprise was positive. “Passengers leave bigger tips and higher ratings because they feel safer in the car.” Out of necessity, a business model was created to fill a gap in the market, but ultimately, to help keep New Yorkers safe, one trip at a time. Signs can be purchased directly on www.kokossigns.com. For more information and for interview requests, please contact PN Promotions Inc, at 347-460-3209.
NYC Uber Driver Launches Effort to Lower Rate of Infection as Pandemic Continues To Roar Throughout the City