Updated: Aug 6
Taxis and private hire vehicles in Blackburn with Darwen are to be modified to provide extra protection for drivers and customers from coronavirus.
Blackburn with Darwen Council has committed to fitting perspex screens in all of the borough’s 1,000 licensed cars and cabs to act as a barrier between the driver and their passengers.
Along with the usage of face coverings, the move is designed to make vehicles ‘covid-safe’.
The Council has invested £64,000 in the project which has been backed by Pennine Lancashire licensing officers and Directors of Public Health from across Lancashire.
Taxi drivers from a BAME background have been identified as an ‘at-risk’ group, so this targeted intervention has been designed to reduce their likely rate of exposure to COVID-19 as well as the potential to transmit the virus to their customers.
The Council will fund the initial purchase and installation of screens with drivers responsible for replacements as and when necessary.
The Council has also been engaging with the trade, promoting COVID-safe practices. Taxi drivers are being encouraged to make use of the testing offer in the borough either via the Mobile Testing Unit or the Regional Testing Unit at Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Councillor Jim Smith, Executive Member for Environmental Services, said: “I want to firstly thank taxi operators and drivers for the great work they do keeping our borough moving, especially during the pandemic.
“This is a good move for the safety of both drivers and passengers and will help to reduce transmission of coronavirus. The screens are likely to provide added benefit, especially when coupled with the usage of face coverings.”