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Government urges taxi passengers to check tier restrictions before they travel through local areas

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Taxi and minicab passengers are urged to check local restriction tiers they pass through, wear facemasks and not share a vehicle with anyone outside of their household other than the driver in the latest government travel guidance.

Before Christmas a stricter local restriction tier system was applied in England. The Department for Transport (DfT) has advised taxi and private hire passengers travelling to check the local restriction tiers that apply to the areas they pass through when travelling.

In a tier 1 area, aside from the driver, passengers should avoid sharing a taxi or private hire vehicle with someone from outside their household or their support bubble to reduce the risk of transmission.

In tier 2, tier 3 and tier 4 areas, aside from the driver, it is not permitted to share a taxi or private hire vehicle with someone from outside their household or their support bubble unless their journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. This might include for example, sharing a vehicle when reasonably necessary as part of their work.

Passengers must always wear a face covering when using a taxi or private hire vehicle. Passengers will be breaking the law if they fail to do so and could be fined. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator is entitled to refuse to accept riders if they do not wear a face covering.

The DfT highlight that the risk of transmission is small at 2 metres and where possible, occupants within the vehicle should maintain a 2 metres distance. If passengers cannot keep the 2 metre distance, drivers and passengers should reduce the risk by maintaining a 1 metre distance where possible, and taking suitable precautions.

Passengers should also follow the advice of the operator and driver. For example, riders may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. Passengers may want to check with the taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

Riders should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.

Finally passengers should be aware of the surfaces they touch and be careful not to touch their face. When finishing the journey passengers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise hands as soon as possible.

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