With lockdown beginning to ease, one of the questions rumbling through the UK's taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) industry is whether temporary partition screens should be made mandatory or even installed at all.
To gain an understanding of how local drivers felt with regard to the ongoing debate, Cheltenham Borough Council consulted members of the local trade for feedback.
Maybe surprising to some, 70 per cent of those who took part said they opposed the idea of installing temporary screens.
There were a number of reasons listed by respondents who did not support the installation, including claims that such partitions would invalidate their insurance.
Other reasons were that they used their vehicle for family use and didn't want to have a partition between them and their children. Concerns were also raised about the impact such screens would have on the vehicle's safety features such as airbags, as well as air conditioning and sunroofs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly severe on taxi and private hire drivers, not just financially, but also to their health as the latest figures released showed such workers were among the highest at risk of contracting the virus.
In total, 51 members of the local taxi and private hire industry took part in the consultation, with 35 in total opposing the installation of screens.
Eight of those who took part were in favour of screens, 2 were in favour of making screens mandatory, and 6 were against screens becoming mandatory.
Image credit: Richard Amos