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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Advice for the Taxi Trade

During the coronavirus crisis the authority will continue to provide a service to our taxi customers wherever possible and it is safe to do so.

 

3rd August 2020

Bilingual Notices on Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks in Public Transport.

Taxi drivers and operators may find these notices useful to display in their vehicles, offices or on their websites to remind passengers of the new requirements.

Face covering poster [376KB]

Face covering guidance (portrait) [403KB]

Face covering guidance (landscape) [402KB]

27th July 2020

From Monday 27 July 2020 it is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales and this includes taxis and private hire vehicles. There are some exemptions and these are outlined in the Welsh Government Guidance  https://gov.wales/requirement-wear-face-covering-public-transport-wales#section-47086. The requirement applies to all passengers unless an exemption applies:

Exemptions include:

  • Children under 11
  • School transport
  • A reasonable excuse (the guidance gives more detail on this)

It is an offence not to wear a face covering on public transport unless an exemption applies. A first offence is punishable by a penalty of £60.

Operators are advised to have signage in their vehicle about this new requirement and may wish to carry a supply of disposable face masks.

The regulations are here https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-07/the-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-no.-2-wales-amendment-no-2-regulations-2020.pdf

 

 

14th July 2020

Guidance on Safety Measures for Taxis and Private Hire to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

Taxi drivers and operators need to undertake a Covid 19 risk assessment and put in place measures to safely operate during the pandemic and there are links to government advice below that will assist in doing this.

In accordance with the guidance you have already been advised to seat passengers in the rear of the vehicle as it is not always possible to achieve 2m social distancing, especially in saloon cars. You should also have strict cleaning regimes in place.

https://gov.wales/taxi-and-private-hire-vehicle-guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

https://www.local.gov.uk/approaches-use-screens-private-hire-vehicles-phvs-and-taxis-during-covid-19-pandemic

With some business premises and schools now re-opening many more of you will decide to resume your taxi and private hire services and there are other control measures being adopted by the trade that you might be considering. The authority is not advocating any particular measures it is for the operator to decide what measures will be appropriate in each circumstance.

Face coverings

Face coverings will become compulsory for everyone travelling on public transport in Wales from Monday July 27th Welsh Government has announced and this will include taxis and private hire vehicles. The requirement will be for a 3-layer face covering. The regulations and guidance in respect of these requirements are yet to be published, as soon as they have, we will provide the link here so please check this page for updates.

The requirement for face coverings should be made clear to the passenger before you accept the booking

https://gov.wales/face-coverings-frequently-asked-questions

Safety Screens

We've received queries from licensees regarding the installation of screens in vehicles in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. There are a number of devices that are being marketed as safety partition screens for private hire vehicles. There is currently no guidance from the government and insufficient evidence in respect of safety testing or certification to enable us to formally approve the installation and use of such equipment. Therefore, we don't recommend the fitting of safety partition screens especially now that wearing of face masks in taxis is becoming mandatory.

Whether a safety partition screen should be fitted during the current COVID-19 pandemic is a matter for vehicle, driver and operator licensees to consider. The council recognises that these are unique times and wants to take a reasonable, responsive, and pragmatic approach. Drivers will be able to choose to purchase a screen if they so wish. This may provide at least some reassurance that they can continue to work but in a safer working environment. However, the council will not accept any liability for any loss, damage or injury arising (whether directly or indirectly) out of the use of any unapproved screen or screening apparatus. Should it come to light that there are safety concerns regarding the use of particular types of screen or we receive any government guidance about the use of screens then the Council reserves the right to re-visit this guide.

Proprietors must ensure that the temporary protective screen is:

  • not permanently installed in the vehicle
  • not made of materials that will increase the fire risk in the vehicle
  • does not have a solid frame to the screen;
  • is fitted with either velcro or adhesive fastenings (which can be removed from the vehicle when the screens are no longer allowed)
  • fitted in such a way so as not to affect the structural integrity of the vehicle, or interfere with any manufacturer fitted safety equipment e.g. air bags
  • the film / sheet used must be clear and transparent and can only be fitted behind both front seats, creating a partition between the front and back area of the vehicle.
  • be transparent enough so as not to interfere with the safe use of the vehicle, and to enable the driver and passengers to see each other
  • remain free of scratches, clouding or stickers which would impede the driver or passenger visibility;
  • be adequately and safely secured and not interfere with the safe access and egress of the driver or passengers or become easily detached during normal use;
  • be adequately disinfected between bookings
  • be adequately disinfected at the start and end of the working day

Please notify the Licensing Team of you intention to fit a temporary protective screen by emailing  licensing@powys.gov.uk together with;

  • A photograph/picture to show how the screen is expected to fit within the vehicle to ensure the quality of the product.
  • An agreement to remove the protective screen within a maximum of 21 days after the current social distancing restrictions relating to COVID-19 have been removed.   
  • The drivers are responsible for notifying their insurance company that a screen has been installed. 

If your vehicle has already been fitted with a protective screen please send an email along with a picture of the screen to licensing@powys.gov.uk

9th April 2020

Business Wales - Information to taxi and private hire licensees

Letter - Stay Home and Save Lives [275KB]

7th April 2020

The following sector specific advice has been forwarded to the Council via Welsh Government from The Department of Transport:

Offers of assistance from the trade

We are asking that all offers be directed to: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business; this will help us to ensure all such offers are received by the correct team leading on a particular issue and responded to quickly.

Assisting the trade

Assistance for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. More information on the measures is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Public health guidance for the sector

The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers, this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector

27th March 2020

Renewal letters will be emailed to customers however application forms are also available online. Please provide us with an email address if we don't already have one for you.

Please no not post any paperwork or applications to us as office buildings are closing and staff are all working from home, anything posted is not likely to be able to be attended to for some time. Use licensing@powys.gov.uk to contact us.

Adapted Processes for this period are:

Vehicle renewals:

Officers are no longer carrying out the usual visual vehicle check, vehicle licences will be renewed based on the required paperwork alone:

  • Completed application form,
  • V5
  • MOT
  • Valid insurance document

These can all be emailed to licensing@powys.gov.uk, on receipt of the paperwork an officer will check this and will arrange for you to be contacted to take payment over the telephone. Your renewed licence will be emailed out to you, at the moment we are not able to produce taxi plates so you will need to keep the old plate on the vehicle and carry with you the updated licence in case of any challenge.

A temporary relaxation of the vehicle conditions has been approved so that for vehicles more than 6 years old, the licence may lapse and be renewed later.

Driver Renewals:

Officers will be completing the process over the telephone, including completing the on-line DBS form, and DVLA check. An appointment will need to be made for this to be done over the telephone. Verification documents and application forms will need to be emailed to us. Payment can be made over the telephone. Drivers will get the renewed licence emailed to them, on completion of the checks and will have to wait until later for their badge, please carry the renewed licence with you in case of challenge.

New vehicles, driver tests and applications are being suspended for the time being

MOT's and Medicals

Drivers due mid-term medicals during this period are likely to experience difficulties in getting an appointment to get this done, there are alternative providers for driver medicals, and you may still be able to obtain one through these companies.

During this time we will also accept a self-declaration form [221KB] where there is no change in medical circumstances drivers will be permitted to continue to operate and will need to provide the usual medical as soon as possible after restrictions are raised and they are able to get an appointment.

It is still possible to get an MOT and garages are open and issuing MOT's however we are aware that in the event that some garages may not be able to operate, then MOT's can be extended for 6 months from 30th March.

Government Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

If it is possible please provide us with 6 monthly MOT's and MOT's for vehicle renewals that are no more than 28 days as is usual practice.

After 30th March if the vehicle is needed to provide essential transport, we will not be issuing a prohibition notice should it not be possible to provide a new 6 monthly MOT. Similarity we will consider renewing vehicle licences on MOT's awarded a 6 monthly extension.

We are getting lots of enquiries about whether taxi drivers should be working in the current circumstances. Here is the Dft advice:

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of 'extremely vulnerable' people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school."

If you are operating, please consider the following advice about keeping yourself and customers safe:

Drivers and vehicle proprietors of the vehicle both have a responsibility to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the vehicle is safe. Whilst that usually relates to mechanical safety, clearly environmental safety is also vital.

Ideally every vehicle should be disinfected after every hiring, but this is clearly not practically possible. However, it would be possible to ensure that some form of cleaning of obvious areas takes place - door handles, seat belts and buckles and any other obvious hard surface that may have been touched by a passenger. This would include areas that may have been infected following a passenger coughing or sneezing such as physical divisions between the front and rear of the vehicle, the rear of front seats and so on. The guidance from the Government is:

"Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products"

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) 

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