Social enterprise AccessiWheels is looking for more volunteer drivers to provide free rides to more patients and healthcare workers during the duration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Founded in 2018, this startup is a business incubatee of the University of the Philippines-Diliman's UPSCALE Innovation Hub, which is being supported by the Department of Science and Technology.
As an enterprise, AccessiWheels allows booking for paying customers. For those who cannot afford, AccessiWheels offers a sponsor a ride program.
AccessiWheels chief operating officer Eva Parreño said they have been volunteering to ferry patients and healthcare workers since March 20.
"AccessiWheels is a social enterprise which enables people with mobility problems to go where they need to be. We connect customers to trained drivers. For our volunteer project in response to Covid-19 pandemic, the ride is free. We only give cash to the drivers for (the) gas and alcohol," Parreno said.
A person may avail of the free ride even if he/she is alone. If two people need a ride at the same hospital at the same time, they are accommodated in one ride, provided that social distancing is observed.
She said she ensures there is a backup driver or plan, as there were instances when the driver did not show up.
Based on her experience, female volunteer drivers have been more reliable, she noted.
According to Parreño, there was a time when a driver asked for money for gasoline, but canceled the service later on.
"AccessiWheels is hoping there will be more volunteer drivers who are genuinely interested to help out, who are committed, and who are willing to do it for free," she stressed.
From March 20 to April 12, AccessiWheels had 12 volunteer drivers servicing Quezon City, Caloocan, Makati, Marikina, Manila, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Bacoor, Batangas and Laguna.
About 40 patients and health workers were served during that period, and AccessiWheels also received a total of P12,250 donation.
Meanwhile, those who would like to avail of the service may reach out to AccessiWheels via its Facebook page or Viber number (09667018452). They must indicate their name, contact details, pick up and drop off points, date and time the service is needed, and also include a medical certificate and barangay certificate.
AccessiWheels would send a message to the patient or health worker if there is an available volunteer driver in their location, Parreño said.