Temporary Arrangements for Taxi Trade - Coronavirus Advice

    Taxis and private hire vehicles

    You must observe social contact rules when using taxis and private hire vehicles in England.

    These rules mean that you must not travel in groups of more than 6 people in England, whether you are using public or private transport, unless you are all from the same household or support bubble, or are travelling while undertaking an activity that is exempt under the rules.

    You must wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator will be entitled to refuse to accept you if you do not wear a face covering.

    Face covering exemptions

    Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or disability reasons.

    Government and some operators have produced cards and badges which you can choose to wear to show you are exempt. There is no requirement to do this though, and if you rely on an exemption, transport staff should not ordinarily ask for evidence.

    Legitimate reasons not to wear a face covering

    You also do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

    • if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
    • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
    • if you are travelling with, or providing help to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
    • if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
    • if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
    • if you need to eat, drink, or take medication on public transport
    • if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard.

    The risk of transmission is small at 2 metres and where possible, you should maintain 2 metres distance.

    If you cannot keep a 2 metre distance, reduce the risk to yourself and others by maintaining a 1 metre distance where possible, and taking suitable precautions.

    Follow the advice of the operator and driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

    You should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.

    Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

    When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

    Exemptions - people who do not have to wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs

    The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to:

    • a child under the age of 11
    • passengers in an allocated cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, when they are alone or with members of their household or support bubble 
    • passengers who remain in their private vehicle while on board public transport, for example on a car ferry
    • a person who enters or is within a transport hub in a vehicle (other than a vehicle being used for the provision of a public transport service)
    • an employee of the transport hub or the relevant public transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
    • any other person providing services to the transport hub or public transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport hub or transport operator, who is providing those services
    • a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
    • an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
    • an official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties

    Taxi Medicals - Update

    If you have missed your taxi medical due to Covid-19 or are due for a medical in the coming months, please be aware that the normal facility at Cannock Hospital are now able to accommodate these again.

    Please note that when attending for appointments, drivers will need to be wearing a face covering (this does not need to be surgical mask).  It is important to note that you will not be allowed into the entrance of the hospital unless wearing a suitable face covering.

    It is important that you arrive on time to your appointment and the hospital ask that you do not arrive early; this will help maintain social distancing rules.

    We ask you adhere to these instructions; failure to do so will result in you not being able to undertake your medical and your dual driver licence may be suspended as a result.

    Protective Screens

    In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to protect both drivers and customers, Stafford Borough Council is working to help the trade to continue working where possible throughout the outbreak, with steps to mitigate the risks to drivers and passengers.

    There have been a number of questions from drivers regarding the use of protective screens and Stafford Borough Council have no objections to the use of these partitions/safety screens, provided that:

    • The screen must comply with government and industry regulations and Stafford Borough Council’s requests as the Licensing Authority.
    • Be clear and transparent and fitted across the rear of both front seats, creating a partition between the front and rear cabin area of the vehicle.
    • Be cleaned regularly between fares/driver changes.

    The screen must not:

    • Have a solid frame
    • Affect the structural integrity of the vehicle, or interfere with any manufacturer fitted safety equipment eg airbags.
    • Wrap around the driver seat and create a partition between the two front seats, in addition to the rear cabin area.
    • Be home-made, non-approved or be constructed of plastic sheeting

    If any driver wishes to fit a protective screen in their vehicle, they must first notify the Licensing Team in writing, either by email ehlicensing@staffordbc.gov.uk or by letter, including confirmation that the vehicle’s insurance will be amended to include the protective screen as fitted.  Drivers are reminded to inform us if it is their intention to fit a screen. These must be genuine screens and should be fitted by a professional in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions.”

    Cleaning

    Vehicles must be cleaned with normal household disinfectant after each fare, including (but not limited to) door handles, seats, window winders, seat belts, and card payment devices, if applicable.

    Drivers should also wash their hands after each fare and a thorough clean of the vehicle with disinfectant should be completed at the end of each shift/working day; doing these things will reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus.

    Information for all Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Proprietors - Renewals Only

    Our MOT testing stations are open therefore the normal procedure for undertaking your taxi MOT test and compliance check is available.
    We would still appreciate the electronic submission of taxi application forms and associated documents (V5, insurance certificate, etc) at the present time.

    Please ensure you make your renewal in plenty of time to enable staff to complete the process in time and produce your plates, due to the current working arrangements.

    Please see Licensing for more details.

    Thinking of stopping altogether

    We appreciate at this difficult and unprecedented time, some of the taxi trade may want to stop working altogether to both protect themselves and the general public, however, please remember that if you stop your vehicle insurance payments then your vehicle licence also becomes invalid.

    If you decide this is what you want to do at this current time, you must email ehlicensing@staffordbc.gov.uk / or call 01785 619745 stating your intention to stop working and then return your vehicle plates back to Stafford Borough Council and leave them in our Reception / or place in the post box if they fit. Your vehicle record will be updated with this information.

    You will need to re-apply for a vehicle licence when you decide to start work again.

    Backed by the UK Government, the Business Support Helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England. Give them a call today on 0800 998 1098 or view the website to link up with webchat.

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