All hackney carriage taxis and private hire vehicles licensed by Blackburn & Darwen Council are to have safety protection screens fitted in their vehicles for free as efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 continue.
The decision to fund the purchase and installation of screens, which will cost £64,000, was pushed through by Council Environment Director Martin Eden.
More than 1,000 licensed vehicles will now have the temporary partitions fitted - a decision made after a number of spitting incidents were reported by drivers.
In a report made public, Mr Eden, said: “Taxi drivers have been identified as a key risk BAME group, due to their likely rate of exposure to COVID-19 and potential to transmit the virus to their customers.
”Estimates for Blackburn & Darwen suggest that drivers take approximately 30 to 35 journeys per shift and could work up to two shifts per day.
”One driver could therefore come into contact with anywhere from 30 to 200 customers per day.
”The council will fund the purchase and installation of the polycarbonate screens. The taxi drivers would be responsible for replacing the screens as and when it becomes necessary.
”All Pennine Lancashire licensing officers have taken the decision, along with directors of public health for Lancashire, to recommend the installation of perspex screens.
”The screens also offer some protection to drivers from abusive behaviour as some drivers have previously been spat at and there are significant risks for drivers if this happens during the pandemic.”