Testing for COVID-19
It has now been established that taxi drivers can be classed as part of the transport network and, as such, can self-refer for a test should you experience any symptoms.
Please sign in using the link entitled 'essential workers' and, when you are asked, please select the box for 'transport'.
Please note the alternative COVID-19 licensing measures set out below are only applicable during this period.
For general advice and guidance please visit Coronavirus help and advice.
Published guidance for the taxi and 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 traveling 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 for clinically extremely vulnerable
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- You can renew your licence three months in advance of its expiry date.
- If you are due a DBS check when you renew, you should renew as early as possible so it is returned before your licence expires.
We no longer issue temporary licences when a DBS is pending.
If you are out of the country
- If you are out of the country, you can email you application form to us, but it will be placed on hold until your return to the UK.
- There is no need to send supporting documents and we will not take payment until you return to the UK.
- When you return to the UK, contact us and we will let you know what to do next.
Licensing a vehicle between 6-10 years old
- If you do not renew its licence, you can re-licence it. Email your application form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please confirm in your email that you want to suspend completing your application due to the current situation. We will then log your application, and contact you when the service returns to normal to complete your application.
- Unless your vehicle is declared SORN the vehicle is still required to be taxed and insured.
- We are unable to accept applications for new drivers at present.
- This is due to strict restrictions on unnecessary contact, and because new applicants are unable to undergo medicals or driver training.
- We will keep you informed if this changes.
Vehicle emissions and wheelchair accessible vehicles
New vehicle emissions
All new vehicles to be licensed must meet these standards:
- Petrol Engines - Euro 5
- Diesel Engines - Euro 6
Check a vehicle's Euro standard: HPI Euro Emission Standards Checker
Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)
Must have less than 75 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) from the tail pipe. Get vehicle information from DVLA includes CO2 information.
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs)
A vehicle made or converted specifically to accommodate one or more person(s) seated in their wheelchair(s) when travelling.
Upper age limits of ULEVs and WAVs
We may extend the limit to twelve years of age based on the individual merits of each case.
These are the things consider:
- submission of a formal application (including fee)
- the vehicle having a full service history
- receipts of work and repairs on the vehicle
- the vehicle and driver's history with the licensing service, including if the vehicle has failed any previous compliance test
- complaints about the condition of the vehicle
- complaints about the proprietor or driver of the vehicle
- any other matters considered material to the application.
If we grant an extension, the vehicle becomes subject to two compliance tests per licence year.
- We are only accepting applications for new vehicles where there are exceptional circumstances.
- Before buying a new vehicle email email@example.com with the reasons for buying a new vehicle. A licensing officer will contact you to discuss it.
- Contact us as well if you don't know if your vehicle is classed as a new vehicle.
- If you buy a vehicle is purchased that does not meet the emission standard we will not licence it.
Testing for COVID-19
Testing is available for all taxi and private hire drivers. They are included in the list of essential workers.
- Sign in using the link 'essential workers'.
- When you are asked, select the box for 'transport'.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible. This is the most important thing you can do to reduce the spread of infection.
- Use hand sanitiser, with at least 60% alcohol content, when hand washing facilities are not available.
Wearing face coverings
- All taxi and private hire drivers must wear a face covering in their vehicle vehicle.
- All passengers must wear a face covering.
- A driver can refuse to carry them if they are not wearing one.
- You can also help reinforce this message to passengers when they book.
Some people do not need to wear a face covering, for example:
- children under 11 years old.
- someone who cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability.
Please consider this before refusing to carry a passenger.
Screens in vehicles
The installation of protective barriers is a decision for licensing authorities, PHV operators and firm or 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 2 metre separation
- Reducing occupancy in a larger vehicle.
Maintaining social distancing requirements
We have sought advice from our Infection Control colleagues about what private hire/hackney carriage drivers should do to maintain its social distancing requirements and to mitigate the spread of the virus whilst travelling and carrying passengers/goods. Their advice is:
- If you are unwell or showing symptoms of Covid 19 (high temperature, new persistent cough) stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days and your household will also need to for 14 days. If you are in one of the Government identified vulnerable groups you should follow the Government's guidance for these groups.
- Before getting into the vehicle and after leaving the vehicle you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in line with government guidelines, either using soap and water if this is not available hand sanitiser
- Drivers should not be working if they are unwell or if they or household members are self-isolating with symptoms or if drivers have been written to by the NHS advising them to stay at home for 12-weeks.
- The drivers of the vehicles should clean contact points such as door handles, hand grips etc. before and after each journey.
- Drivers of vehicles should wash and dry the vehicle interior surfaces with soap and water at the end of each day.
- Staying 2 metres or more away - clearly in taxis, this won't be possible a lot of the time. Where there is a Perspex screen between the front and back, this should reduce risk to some extent, but the screen will need to be kept closed. Windows should be kept open where possible as well to increase ventilation. Getting single passengers to sit as far away from the driver as possible is sensible.
- The most effective measures at reducing the spread of the virus is frequent hand washing.
Government support to the taxi and PHV sector
The Self-Employment Support Scheme will allow taxi and PHV drivers 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 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.
Transport taxi drivers can provide
Taxi drivers and PHV workers can transport workers to and from hospitals and transport passengers of ill health in and out of hospital, but individuals should not use taxis or PHVs 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
Taxi drivers and PHV 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.
If you don't have an email address
There are several free email services you can use - Gmail, Microsoft Outlook are to name but two. Alternatively, you could use a family member's email or your operator or trade representative.
A family member or your operator can complete them on your behalf
If you are still having difficulties please contact us.
In line with central government's announcement for people to stay at home and protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus, The Council took the difficult decision to close both Customer Service Centres until further notice. We will put arrangements in place to notify licence holders once the centres are open again, alternatively please keep checking the Council's Coronavirus webpage for updates on all services.
Working with Uber
We have emailed Uber to notify them we are not issuing ID badges during this period. However, if despite this email, Uber refuse to allow a driver to work that is a decision for Uber. We will continue to liaise with Uber about issues being experienced by drivers.
All drivers should take reasonable precaution to stay safe, including considering how many passengers you can take at any one time as a result of Government advice on social distancing. If you are taking passengers then you should also take reasonable steps to clean or sanitise your vehicle after each journey. The Institute of Licensing have published Can Hackney carriage and private hire drivers refuse to carry certain passengers through fear of infection?