Coronavirus (COVID-19) taxi and private hire vehicle guidance
The guidance below has been provided by the Department of Transport.
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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.
- guidance for passengers
- guidance for operators
- guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
- guidance for households with a possible coronavirus infection
It is important that you review and implement these guidance documents if you are operating a taxi or private hire vehicle business, or are a self-employed driver.
Guidance for staff in the transport sector
The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance to transport sector 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.
Transporting passengers to and from hospitals
Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles can transport workers and passengers of ill health to and from hospitals.
However, passengers should not use taxis or Private Hire Vehicles if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (a new, continuous cough or a high temperature) or any of your household are self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Supporting passengers with accessibility issues
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 above includes advice on measures that workers and passengers can take when it is not possible to maintain the recommended social distance.
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.
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.
Refusing to admit a passenger not wearing a face mask
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 mitigations they put in place from their risk assessment. This does not however absolve them of their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
Installation of protective barriers
The installation of protective barriers is a decision for licensing authorities, Private Hire Vehicle operators and firm/individual operating the vehicle to make based on their own assessment of risk.
They 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 two metre separation; considering reducing occupancy in a larger vehicle
Cleaning of non-healthcare settings
Public Health England have provided guidance about Coronavirus (COVID-19) cleaning of non-healthcare settings.
Social distancing in the workplace during Coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance
We are aware that the taxis and private hire vehicle trade are undertaking delivery work, the GOV.UK guidance below provides useful information under the section on ‘Deliveries’ as well as ‘Transport businesses’.
Measures contained in the section on ‘Use of private vehicles and car pooling’ would apply to the taxi and private hire vehicle sector e.g. maintain good ventilation.
Insurance for undertaking deliveries
Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor insurance members have committed to support taxi and private hire drivers seeking alternative sources of income. Licenced taxi or private hire drivers that had hire or reward insurance in place, as of 8 March, will not need to contact their insurer to extend existing cover while driving the vehicle to carry parcels, medical supplies, household goods, groceries or takeaway meals during the COVID-19 restrictions.
The ABI’s commitment will be in place until the end of the COVID-19 restrictions, or until 31 July 2020, whichever is sooner.
Medicals: It will remain a matter for licensing authorities whether to issue or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence. We are aware of the current difficulties in obtaining medical examination reports, such as those used for the Group 2 HGV and bus driver entitlements that many taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities base their assessments on. As part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are reviewing the position on Group 2 medical assessments.
Offers of assistance from the trade
We have received many offers of assistance from the trade, to co-ordinate the offers and assistance needed we are requesting that all offers of services be directed to: GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19) support from business.
This will help us to ensure all such offers are received by the correct team leading on a particular issue and responded to quickly.
Assisting the trade
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
The above is perhaps particularly relevant to the taxi and private hire vehicle trade but it is part of the measures announced, e.g. changes to Universal Credit
Assistance for business
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. More information on the measures are available from GOV.UK: Covid-19-support-for-businesses.