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Taxi and Private Hire Advice

Travelling guide for the general public

Gov.uk has published a guide to help you understand how to travel safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It provides guidance for walking, cycling, using private vehicles (for example cars and vans), and travelling by taxis and public transport.

You should avoid using public transport where possible. Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Advice for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

The Department of Transport has notified Licensing Authorities that Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice to the public is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential and if travelling in a taxi or private hire vehicle they must wear a face covering. The Government has announced new requirements for the taxi and private hire industry to help control the spread of coronavirus and the following requirements for local taxi and private hire operators and drivers are now in force;

  • In order to provide the best means of protection for taxi and private hire drivers, all drivers must wear a face covering for all passenger journeys. Where drivers are unable to wear a mask (for medical reasons, as an example) they must contact the Licensing Office as a matter of urgency. Please note that it is an offence to occupy or drive a licensed vehicle without wearing a suitable face covering and anyone who breaches this requirement will open themselves up to a fine or sanctions on their Taxi/Private Hire Driver Licence.
  • There is no current ban on using taxi ranks, but the advice is that drivers have no way of determining whether the persons getting into the cab are exhibiting or have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and so taxi drivers should not leave their vehicles whilst parked on the rank, vehicles must be parked at a distance from each other that reduces queuing, doors must remain locked so that clients cannot simply jump into the cab.
  • Clients should be asked to stand at least 2 metres away from the driver window when booking. Drivers should also ask if the client or anyone in their household has recently had or currently has Covid-like symptoms or is self-isolating in order to determine whether they wish to accept the booking from the client.
  • Drivers must insist that all passengers wear a face covering whilst travelling in the vehicle. It is strongly recommended that operators and drivers carry a small stock of disposable masks so that clients without a face covering can be offered one.
  • For Private Hire bookings, the operator must inform the client in advance that face coverings must be worn for the duration of the journey and the driver will not allow them to enter the vehicle without a suitable face covering. Operators should also ask if the client or anyone in their household has recently had or currently has Covid-like symptoms or is self-isolating in order to determine whether they wish to accept the booking from the client.
  • Passengers should be restricted to the rear seats only and drivers must  provide ready access to tissues and hand sanitiser for passengers to contain coughs and sneezes and to wash their hands on entry to the vehicle. Drivers should encourage all passengers to do so.
  • Drivers should provide Nappy Sacks or similar disposable bags for clients to dispose of any used tissues or masks. Clients should be instructed to tie up the nappy sacks and take them home with them.
  • Drivers should wear gloves when working to reduce direct contact with surfaces and particularly when dealing with cash transactions. Disposable gloves that can be changed frequently are recommended.
  • Drivers should ensure that disinfectant wipes are available so that they can ensure that rear seats and common touch points such as the interior and exterior door handles, window buttons, seat belt buckles etc are wiped down after each journey. At the end of each day, the rear seats and touch points should be thoroughly cleansed with hot, soapy water with a diluted solution of disinfectant. Alternatively, a disinfectant spray can be used.
  • The 'rule of six' applies to taxi and private hire services, and so operators and drivers of vehicle licenced for 6-8 passengers must ensure that they only carry a maximum of 6 people from any number of households (e.g. friends travelling together) or no more than the maximum number of rear seats available in the vehicle if the group is travelling as a 'bubble' or linked household. Passengers should not travel in the front seat(s).  In saloon style vehicles, passengers should ideally be restricted to 2 in the back to give some degree of separation, but passengers from the same household/bubble or group may occupy up to 3 seats in the back. Again, passengers should not be transported in the front passenger seat(s). Government advice is that unless the passengers are all from the same household, it is recommended that passengers travel alone.
  • Drivers should ensure that the driver and/or passenger side front windows are open or partially open to ensure that airflow in the vehicle is directed towards the rear. Passengers may also be encouraged to open their windows in the rear if they wish.
  • There is no current legal requirement for perspex or other screens to be fitted in taxi or private hire vehicles. Screens do not in themselves offer complete protection for drivers and the public and so where screens are fitted, the driver passengers must still wear a face covering.

 

We advise all licensees, including taxi and private hire drivers, to follow these simple and sensible steps at all times. We would also encourage you to take sensible and routine precautionary measures such a cleaning surfaces regularly with sanitising wipes or spray to get rid of germs. As ever, Taxi drivers should consider regularly cleaning card payment devices.