Department for Transport reminds taxi and private hire drivers of their COVID-19 safety requirements

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The Department for Transport (DfT) has once again laid out COVID-19 safety requirements to be followed by taxi and private hire drivers wherever possible.

The advice given by the DfT is that before a passenger enters a vehicle, drivers should ask if they have:

  • coronavirus symptoms – a fever, new cough or loss of smell or taste

  • had a positive coronavirus test in the last 10 days.

Drivers are advised to refuse service if their passengers state they have any of the above.

Officials go on to add that drivers should wash or sanitise their hands if they come into contact with a passenger or their luggage and should do this before and after contact.

Drivers must continue to provide support to disabled passengers to safely enter and exit their vehicle, and must continue to assist disabled passengers with their luggage and mobility equipment.

Drivers are advised to show passengers their face while socially distancing so that they can identify them as their driver.

People must stay at home and avoid travel, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

If travelling away from home under a legally permitted reason, passengers can only travel with someone they live with (social contact), or with someone they have formed a support bubble with, unless they are travelling as part of an activity that is exempt.

To help control the spread of the virus drivers are being advised to remind passengers of the rule, but do not have to refuse to carry them.

While in the vehicle, passengers must wear a face covering in a taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt.

Drivers can refuse to take a passenger if they are not wearing a face covering and they are not exempt. Passengers do not have to provide proof that they are exempt.

According to the DfT, cabbies do not have to wear a face covering, but are recommended to do so if it does not affect their ability to drive safely. However, a licensing authority or operator may ask a driver to wear a face covering. Drivers should follow their guidance if it does not affect their ability to drive safely.

Image credit: LEVC

Drivers may need to remove their face covering in order to communicate with passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Drivers are advised to ask passengers to sit as far from them as possible or put a mark where they would like them to sit. Where possible they should not sit in the front of the vehicle.

Driver are also being advised to open windows when carrying passengers and/or use the car’s vents to bring in fresh air from outside.

The recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation system should not be used when carrying passengers.