Taxi and minicab passenger face mask compliance lagging behind rest of transport network says DfT

Transport officials are urging taxi drivers and private hire operators to promote recent mandatory face covering requirements to passengers as compliance in taxis and minicab lags behind other modes of transport.

According to Department for Transport (DfT) sources, there have been high levels of face covering compliance across the public transport network since the regulations were introduced, with the latest ONS figures showing usage to be at 91%.

However, using industry feedback, the DfT have been made aware that compliance is not as high in taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) as it is across the rest of the network.

Through its Safer Transport campaign, and help from stakeholders, the DfT have promoted its safer transport guidance which includes mandating face coverings, car sharing, and social distancing.

Face coverings became mandatory for taxi and private hire users after an announcement made by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in September.

DfT are now asking companies within the taxi and private hire vehicle sector to continue to promote the safer transport guidance which focuses on key messages including:

  1. It is a legal requirement for passengers to wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles, unless they are exempt.

  2. Passengers can be refused travel if they do not wear a face covering.

  3. Passengers should follow the advice of the operator and driver. For example, they may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone.

  4. Use contactless payment if possible

  5. Passengers should sanitise their hands when they have finished their journey.

The messaging to passengers could be displayed in the form of a banner on a operator’s website or app, signage at a taxi rank or a notification when booking a service.

The DfT have provided several assets for the industry to use which they have re-circulated in an attempt to drive up passenger compliance.