Figures released by the capital’s taxi and private hire licensing authority, Transport for London (TfL), show that a small percentage of licensed drivers have not been compliant with face-covering regulations introduced in June 2020.
The figures, which were discussed during a London Assembly meeting, revealed 7% of hackney carriage drivers who underwent compliance checks failed to comply with the mandatory face-covering regulations.
In comparison, 1.3% of private hire drivers who underwent the same compliance checks were found to be in breach of TfL’s rules.
In total, 7,750 hackney carriage taxi drivers were checked, with 548 falling short of the requirements, and out of 27,389 private hire drivers checked, 357 were non-compliant.
Overall figures showed that 97% of all hackney carriage taxi drivers and private hire drivers checked had met the requirements to wear a face-covering whilst in their licensed vehicles (unless exempt).
Any driver found to be in breach of complying is likely to receive a letter from their licensing authority, advising them of their obligations to wear one.
Many private hire operators licensed by TfL have in fact made it mandatory for their drivers to wear face-covering at all times.
While government regulations state that face-coverings are to be worn at all times by people travelling on public transport, such enforcement was not imposed on the drivers of taxi and private hire vehicles.
According to Department for Transport (DfT) guidance drivers do not have to wear a face covering, but are strongly recommended to if it does not affect their ability to drive safely. The DfT also adds that some licensing authorities, like TfL, may ask drivers to wear a face covering and cabbies should follow that guidance if it does not affect their ability to drive safely.
The figures released by TfL relate to compliance checks which took place between 15 June 2020 - 10 January 2021.
During these checks, TfL and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, confirmed that a number of other regulatory inspections took place; details of which were not discussed during the meeting.