VICTORIA -- A Vancouver Island taxi company is opening its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic to help health-care workers with free rides to and from hospitals.

Current Taxi is offering free rides to health-care workers at Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital who have valid Island Health identification cards.

Owner Kate Wilson said this was a great way they could support their local community.

“This is a time we are all feeling a little anxious not being able to physically help in areas we know need it,” said Wilson. “We are happy to partake.”

A few weeks ago, the essential business took a significant hit, with ridership down almost 75 per cent.

“The first thing we did was implemented some extreme safety measures and protocols so anyone in our cars is kept safe,” she said.

The company, which operates in Victoria and Kelowna, reached out to both Island Health and Interior Health to see how they could help and support.

“They both responded with a need for their health-care workers to be transported to and from their hospitals,” said Wilson. “We thought we might be delivering things for them, but this is how they responded.”

Current Taxi’s Tesla-only fleet allows the company to offer a touchless experience.

“We have an app where the ride is booked online, the cars open automatically, the only thing a customer is required to touch is their seatbelt which is sanitized before and after every ride,” Wilson said.

Health-care workers can add notes into their online booking to identify as an Island Health employee and must show their badge once they are picked up.

“It takes one thing out of their day that they don’t have to worry about anymore when we know they have a lot of stress already on their plate,” said Wilson.

Current Taxi started offering free rides on April 1 and hopes to continue for the next few weeks.