New guidance published by the Department for Transport (DfT) has provided advice on how passengers should make taxi and private hire journeys safely during the next stages of eased COVID-19 lockdown.
The plan urges people to consider cycling, walking or driving to help ensure there is enough capacity for those who need to travel on public transport to do so safely. It is expected that taxi journeys will start to rise as the lockdown measures are eased.
The DfT are asking passengers at taxi ranks to try to keep their distance from people outside of their household, where possible. Public Health England recommends keeping a 2 metre distance from others, where possible.
Taxi and private hire vehicle operators are likely to have put in place new measures to help with social distancing. Government are asking those traveling in taxis or private hire vehicles to follow the advice of the driver. For example, customers may be asked to sit in the back left hand seat if travelling alone to achieve maximum distance from the driver.
Passengers are being urged to avoid physical contact, to face away from other people, and keep the time they spend near other people as short as possible. They should also be aware of the surfaces they or others touch.
There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect the user, but it may protect others if the user of the covering is infected but have not yet developed symptoms. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas.
As a result passengers are being asked, if they can, to wear a face covering whilst in an enclosed vehicle and space where social distancing isn’t possible and where they will come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by the law. If the passenger chooses to wear one, it is important they use face coverings properly and wash their hands before putting them on and after taking them off.
When the journey has finished, the DfT also recommends the passenger:
follow local guidance
wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise their hands as soon as possible.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Transport operators and staff have been working hard to ensure that people who need to get to work are able to do so, including crucial NHS workers and all those on the frontline of the fight against the virus.
“Alongside the cycling and walking revolution we are launching, and clear guidance to passengers and operators published today, we can all play our part by following the advice and reducing pressure on public transport.
“If we take these steps, all those who need to use public transport should feel confident that they can do so safely, with the space to maintain social distancing as far as possible.”
Image credit: Ross Campbell