Updated: Jun 18, 2020
A nationwide Charter has been launched for the UK taxi and private hire industry, lead by three of the UK’s biggest taxi dispatch software providers Autocab, Cordic and iCabbi.
The 'Safe Taxi & Private Hire Charter' asks taxi operators including private hire, chauffeur and executive companies, to sign up and create a safe and hygienic environment for both customers and drivers.
The three industry providers involved in the pledge account for over 1,000 taxi operators across the UK. However, according to the trio, for the new campaign to work, it requires the entire industry to get behind it. The three firms are calling for more operators and industry partners to join them in promoting the Safe Taxi & Private Hire Charter and the nationwide ‘Go Safe Go Taxi’ campaign.
As people begin to travel for work and leisure again, safety will be a top priority. However, public transport services have been greatly reduced and those that do run are often over-crowded, particularly in major cities. This makes social distancing when taking the tube, train or bus almost impossible.
But, with a single driver and passenger to each vehicle for most trips, taxis and private hire vehicles can offer a more socially distanced alternative for those back on the move.
Those adhering to the guidelines in the Safe Taxi & Private Hire Charter are guaranteeing a safer way of travelling. The message to the public is simple – ‘Go Safe Go Taxi’.
Charter guidelines, which operators are being encouraged to display inside and outside of their vehicles, include:
Hand sanitisers available to all drivers and customers
Drivers to wear PPE in line with the latest government guidelines
Passenger areas of the vehicle to be wiped down and sanitised regularly
Vehicles with a shield installed will have it regularly cleaned and sanitised.
To avoid drivers and passengers handling cash, the Charter also contains a point on payments – with operators required to offer the option to pay by card, through their app or other contactless method.
75 taxi operators have already signed the Charter pre-launch, including Street Cars in Manchester, Radio Taxis in Southampton and Premier Cars in Cardiff.
Safa Alkateb, CEO at Autocab said: “With travel resuming, we know that safety is going to be an important factor for the public, as people decide what method of transport to take to work. We need to show that, as an industry, we’re taking safety seriously.
“We’re encouraging the entire industry to get behind the Charter – by signing it, private hire taxi operators can guarantee they are providing a cleaner and more hygienic way of travelling.”
Bart van Schriek, CEO at Cordic, said: “There are approximately 250,000 registered taxi and private hire drivers in the UK. Combined, Cordic, Autocab and iCabbi already has access to 200,000 of those drivers.”
He added: "We, of course, welcome participation from all other providers and industry suppliers who want to get onboard and sponsor the Charter. This is an amazing opportunity for us all to work together to put safety first and to get the industry back on its feet.”
Gavan Walsh, CEO at iCabbi, said: “We’re also urging trade bodies, local councils and government to support us with the Charter.
“It’s great that the industry is coming together but we’d also love to see nationwide consensus from authorities on what a safe taxi or private hire vehicle looks like, to provide clarity and consistency, while ensuring the safety of drivers and their passengers.”
Steve Wright MBE, chair of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) said: “This is a great initiative as it brings the UK Taxi & Private Hire Industry and its critical suppliers together to provide a safe door-to-door alternative to mainstream public transport.
"The Charter being focused on the safety of drivers and passengers will give re-assurance to all as we desperately endeavour to get back to normality as soon as possible.
"I have no qualms about endorsing this wonderful initiative and will encourage all LPHCA members and industry suppliers we work with to sign-up to the Charter and come together in supporting the nationwide campaign to promote taxi and private hire as a safe means of transport.”