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FACEMASKS: Are taxi drivers and passengers still wearing them?

Most taxi drivers and passengers have stopped wearing face coverings since the condition of carriageway was dropped in February according to recent polls.

The wearing of face coverings has no longer been a condition of carriage across taxi and private hire services since 24 February, but drivers and customers have been strongly recommended to wear them if they are able to.

The UK’s biggest transport regulator Transport for London (TfL) made the decision to no longer require customers to wear face coverings as a condition of carriage on its services from 24 February, having considered a variety of factors including the shift in the Government's approach towards living with the virus and decreasing infection rates in London.

According to a snap poll conducted by TaxiPoint, nearly nine in ten cabbies are no longer continuing to wear face masks for the majority of fares.

Peter Griffin, a taxi driver from Plymouth, has continued wearing a covering to reduce the risk of transmission forcing time off work. Griffin said: “Passengers say do we need to wear a mask, always say no it's up to you. 90% then put one on.

“I'm 65 and had medical issues as most have at my age. Plus, I don't want to have time off work, though I don't work as hard as I used to. Stay safe everyone.”

Frank Edwards also continues to wear one as part of contractual agreements. Edwards said: “Got to wear one on school contracts.”

Many cabbies have dropped wearing a face covering unless asked by the passengers. Taxi driver Khalistan Manaf said: “No (I don’t wear a mask), unless customer requests, or journey has any connection with covid, or obvious illnesses.”

What about partition screens?

Another key announcement affecting the taxi and private hire industry included the continued use of partition screens which became a popular safety addition during the peak of the covid pandemic.

TfL told minicab drivers who have a temporary screen fitted in their vehicle that they can continue to use them. A notice read: ‘Licensees who have already installed an approved temporary screen in their vehicle can continue to use it.’

Cabbies Geoff Brayfield and Julie Boxall told TaxiPoint they have kept their partition screen in place.

South-west taxi driver David Roberts no longer wears a mask, but has also retained the use of a screen. Roberts said: “Got a screen up since 2020. All passengers sit in rear.”

What about passengers? Are they continuing to wear them?

According to taxi drivers, and from my own experience, it’s a similar story for those travelling in the back of the cab. The majority of taxi users are no longer wearing masks. TaxiPoint asked readers what proportion of taxi passengers still wear face coverings whilst travelling in their taxi. 88% of drivers said only one in four passengers still wear a covering.


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