Information on this page was correct at the time of publishing 5 June 2020.

What guidance has been published for the taxi and private hire vehicle sector?

The Government has published transport guidance on the safe provision of transport services during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are separate guidance documents for transport providers and for passengers. Both guidance documents cover all modes.

The guidance sets out government recommendations on who should be travelling and under what circumstances, and how social distancing rules should be interpreted.It also includes information about cleaning practices.

Licensing Services has also produced a basic guide for Taxi drivers and operators during Covid-19.

View the basic guide for Taxi drivers and operators during Covid-19

Should taxi and private hire vehicle drivers or passengers wear PPE such as a mask?

There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure.

The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas.

We are advising passengers if they can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn't possible, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as when travelling in a taxi or private hire vehicle.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by the law.

If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Use the guidance on face coverings to understand how to wear and make a face coverings.

Other measures such as changing habits, social distancing, screens, cleaning and hygiene are also suggested in the guidance.

Should protective barriers be installed between drivers and passengers?

The installation of protective barriers is a decision for private hire vehicle operators and firm or individual operating the vehicle to make based on their own assessment of risk. ]

You may also wish to consider:

  • Eliminating the use of face-to-face passenger seating
  • Use of ventilation
  • Reducing occupancy to individual passengers in the back left-hand seat for vehicles that do not enable 2 metre separation; considering reducing occupancy in a larger vehicle

It is the Council's position that the decision to install a temporary safety screen during the current pandemic is a matter for vehicle owners, drivers and operators;

  • The temporary installation of safety screens will not affect the vehicle compliance certificate;
  • The Council will not accept liability in circumstances in which a screen causes injury to a passenger or driver;

Where possible you should ascertain that the product is compliant with any industry regulations such as the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations and obtain evidence that the product has been tested to relevant EU standards

Any screens fitted must:

  • Not interfere with or compromise any operating or safety features in the vehicle (including airbags, handbrake, gearstick) or the vehicle type approval;
  • Not be made of materials that will increase the fire risk in the vehicle;
  • Be transparent enough so as not to interfere with the safe use of the vehicle, and to enable the driver and passengers to see each other; and remain clear of scratches, clouding or stickers which would impede the drivers or passengers' visibility;
  • Be adequately and safely secured and not interfere with the safe access and egress of the driver or passengers or become easily detached during normal use; and
  • Be adequately disinfected between bookings and at the start and end of the working day.
  • Operators should inform insurers about the intention to fit such a device and ensure their insurance will not be invalidated as a result.

Can a taxi or private hire vehicle driver refuse to admit a passenger who is not wearing a face covering?

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are advised to make an assessment of risk as outlined in the transport operator guidance published on 12 May.

The acceptance of a booking request by a private hire vehicle operator is a decision made based on the operator's own assessment of risk. Any requirements for face coverings should be made clear to the passenger before the operator accepts the booking.

Taxi drivers can use this assessment to determine whether or not it is reasonable to admit a passenger who is not wearing a face covering, considering other mitigation's they put in place from their risk assessment.

This does not however absolve them of their duties under the Equality Act 2010.

Why are taxi and private hire vehicle drivers not considered critical workers?

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered critical workers.

Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of 'extremely vulnerable' people may be considered critical workers on a case-by-case basis.

Critical workers should make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home where it is safe for them to do so; the need for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.

Can taxis and private hire vehicle transport workers to and from hospitals?

Yes

Can taxis and private hire vehicle transport passengers of ill health in and out of hospital?

Yes, but individuals should not use taxis or private hire vehicle if:

  • They have symptoms of Covid-19 - a new, continuous cough or a high temperature
  • Any of your household are self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

Can taxi and private hire vehicle drivers support passengers with accessibility issues while maintaining social distancing?

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are still under the same obligation to provide reasonable assistance and make reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers.

The guidance includes advice on measures that workers and passengers can take when it is not possible to maintain the recommended social distance.

My Hackney or Private Hire Driver Licence is due to expire soon what will happen?

There will be no face to face appointments for the foreseeable future.

Therefore you will be asked to complete Offence and Medical declarations and your Licence will most likely be extended. This procedure will remain in place until normal services can be resumed.

Can I make a new application for a Hackney or Private Hire Driver Licence?

The Council is not accepting any new applications during the Covid-19 emergency. 

Anybody wanting to apply should contact Antrec Limited on 0333 023 7450 to enrol for the next Induction Course and your name will be held on a waiting list.

If you have any concerns or would like any advice please contact Licensing Services on 01772 906911 or licensing@preston.gov.uk