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 our Coronavirus help and advice page.
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
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.
Wearing face coverings
New rules requiring passengers to wear a face covering on their journey will come into force on public transport across England from Monday 15 June 2020.
Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are not included in the regulations, although TfL published an update on 5 June advising that face coverings should be used by drivers and passengers from 15 June. Separately, Uber have announced that they are making face coverings mandatory for drivers and passengers to coincide with the public transport regulations.
The updated guidance: GOV UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers does advise that taxi and private hire passengers 'should' wear face coverings and that drivers 'may be entitled to refuse' passengers without one. while operator guidance: GOV UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators lists taxi and private hire vehicles as excluded from the regulations but states that 'a taxi driver may refuse to accept passengers if they are not wearing a face covering'.
Protective barriers between drivers and passengers
The installation of protective barriers is a decision for licensing authorities, PHV 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 2 metre separation; considering reducing occupancy in a larger vehicle.
Refusing admittance to passengers not wearing a face covering
Taxi and PHV 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 PHV 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.
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 are out of the country
If you are out of the country, you can email you application form to us, but your renewal 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. Upon your return to the UK, please 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 license, you will be able to re license it. All you would need to do is email your application form to firstname.lastname@example.org Please confirm in your email that you would like 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. Please bear in mind, unless your vehicle is declared SORN the vehicle is still required to be taxed and insured.
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?