NEW GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE RELEASED: Taxi drivers CAN continue working during national COVID lockdown

Updated: Jan 11

Taxi drivers across England CAN continue working during the national lockdown restrictions as new government guidance is released.

In new updated guidance released today by the Department for Transport (DfT), it details the measures that taxi drivers and operators should take during the new national COVID-19 lockdown.

Aside from the driver, a passenger is not permitted to share a taxi or private hire vehicle with someone from outside their household or support bubble unless their journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. For example, if sharing the vehicle is reasonably necessary as part of a passenger’s work, the driver does not have to refuse to carry them.

These restrictions apply only to England. There are different restrictions in the other UK nations: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All self-employed taxi or private hire drivers must conduct a risk assessment to understand the risks and what they can do about them. Each cabbie should think about how they work and ways they can protect themselves and their passengers. As a driver, they do not have to write anything down about their risk assessment.

Picking up passengers

Before a passenger enters the vehicle, they 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 day.

Entry into the vehicle should be refused if they have.

Cab drivers should wash or sanitise their hands if they come into contact with a passenger or their luggage. They should do this before and after contact.

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

To help passengers, cabbies are advised to show their face while socially distancing so that they can identify them as their driver. Passengers are expected to check the national lockdown rules that apply to them.

In the vehicle

Passengers must wear a face covering in a taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt. Cab drivers can refuse to take a passenger if they are not wearing a face covering and they are not exempt. It is however worth noting that passengers do not have to provide proof that they are exempt.

Cabbies do not have to wear a face covering whilst working, but the DfT are recommending that they do if it does not affect their ability to drive safely. However, the driver’s licensing authority or operator may ask the driver to wear a face covering. The DfT say cabbies should follow the authorities' guidance if it does not affect their ability to drive safely.

Taxi and private hire drivers should ask passengers to sit as far from them as possible or put a mark where they should sit. Where possible they should not sit in the front of the vehicle.

Open windows are advised when carrying passengers and/or use the car’s vents to bring in fresh air from outside. Drivers should not use the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation system when carrying passengers.

End of journey – leaving the vehicle

Drivers and passengers are urged to use contactless payment if they can. If not, drivers should wash their hands with soap and water or sanitiser after handling money.

Cabbies are also told to remind passengers to wash or sanitise their hands after the journey.

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