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.
Guidance on exemptions for wearing a face mask on public transport is now available: https://trc.cymru/face-coverings.
Passengers can request an exemption certificate to carry with them.
26th October - Firebreak Lockdown
During the current lockdown Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers can continue to work. However, all journeys must be for one of the very limited purposes allowed under the firebreak rules, for example, for work purposes where people cannot work from home, to attend medical appointments, shopping for essential items, and to undertake caring responsibilities.
As is the case with local lockdowns, it is the passenger that could be fined for non-essential travel and breaking firebreak rules, rather than the driver. However in order to assist in reducing the transmission of coronavirus in the area we would expect drivers and operators to establish reasons for travel taking place during the firebreak period.
Here is the latest welsh government guidance
3rd August 2020
Bilingual Notices on Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks in Public Transport.
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:
- 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.
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.
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 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
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 no information from the government and not enough evidence of safety testing or certification to allow us to formally approve the installation and use of safety screens.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
9th April 2020
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
- The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information on the scheme is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
- The above is perhaps mainly relevant to the taxi and PHV trade but it is part of the measures announced. More info is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to contact us.
Adapted Processes for this period are:
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,
- Valid insurance document
These can all be emailed to email@example.com, 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.
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.
If there is no change in medical circumstances drivers will be allowed to continue to operate but will need to provide the usual medical 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.
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"