Covid19 – Information for Taxis

Taxi Journeys outside Blaenau Gwent & Collecting Contact Details - Advice issued 29/09/20

New local restrictions have been introduced in the Blaenau Gwent County Borough area by Welsh Government to reduce the spread of COVID 19 and protect public health for people living in the Borough.

One of the main restrictions is that people are not allowed to enter or leave the Blaenau Gwent County Borough area without a reasonable excuse and the Government is encouraging people to avoid unnecessary travel wherever possible.  Therefore the Council urges taxi drivers to ensure that when they accept bookings involving travel outside the area, there is a reasonable excuse for the journey to take place.  This will help prevent the spread of the virus. 

It is not mandatory for taxi drivers to wear a face covering, however in light of the current local restrictions and the high levels of positive cases, the Council encourages taxi drivers to consider wearing a face covering whilst carrying passengers in order to minimise risks from the spread of COVID 19.

Additionally, some sectors and businesses such as hospitality, are required to collect and retain customers’ contact information.  Whilst not a legal requirement for taxi businesses, in view of the current situation in Blaenau Gwent, the Council encourages taxi businesses to consider taking contact details of passengers, including name, contact number, and dates and times of travel, in order that they can be contacted by the Test, Trace and Protect Service and given the relevant advice regarding self-isolation etc. if necessary.

Covid-19 Advice for the Taxi Trade

Face Coverings in Taxis – Updated Government Guidance

The Welsh Government has updated its guidance relating to the wearing face coverings particularly in taxis and private hire vehicles.  The updated guidance can be found in the following link

Screens in Taxis

Taxi and private hire vehicle operators provide an essential service to the public and under current government guidelines can continue to operate.  If you are a taxi driver working during the COVID-19 crisis, you are no doubt worried about your own health and safety as well as that of your passengers.

The situation is constantly changing so passengers, drivers and operators are advised to keep up to date with the most recent travel guidance.  Welsh Government have published information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel and transport advice and guidance for passengers and operators.

Drivers and operators owe a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of their passengers and so are advised to translate the principles and examples in the government guidance into specific actions.

Following the most up-to-date hygiene and social distancing advice will help keep you and your customers safer.

  • Do not work as a driver or travel as a passenger if you have COVID-19, are experiencing any of the main symptoms or if you believe you have been exposed to the virus through a passenger (or elsewhere).
  • Keep the vehicle well-ventilated: open windows if comfortable and air conditioning should not be set to re-circulate.
  • Follow social distancing guidance and avoid physical contact: use contactless payments where possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face.  Drivers may wish to have hand sanitiser and tissues on hand for themselves and passengers.
  • After each customer, the vehicle should be cleaned thoroughly using disinfectant spray, in particular the surfaces customers are likely to touch, such as door handles and seat belt clips.
  • Drivers are advised to clean the areas of the vehicle they touch regularly a few times throughout the day and always at the start and end of each shift.  This includes door handles, steering wheel, handbrake and switches.
  • Face Masks the wearing of face masks in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles will become mandatory in Wales from 27th July 2020.  However, it is important for passengers to be able to identify you as a legitimate driver.  Therefore, you may need to remove face coverings so passengers can see your identity matches up with your displayed licence badge, following appropriate social distancing guidance.
  • There has been an increase in interest of the use of screens as a way of providing physical separation between drivers and passengers in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  There is no evidence available that demonstrates that partitions in taxis or PHVs reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection, but may have consequences as to what might happen inside the vehicle in the event of a collision.  It is important that the installation of any a protective screen is safe and doesn’t introduce new and unintended safety hazards.  The Council currently does not intend to make the installation of screens a requirement.  Drivers wishing to install a screen would need to do so in accordance with the Council’s policy for installing temporary safety screens in licensed vehicles including obtaining permission from the licencing department.  The policy can be found below.

A private hire operator is under no obligation to enter into a contract to provide a private hire vehicle for anybody, provided any such refusal is not based on a protected characteristic under s. 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation).  Further guidance on when it would be reasonable to refuse a fare can be found on the institute of licensing’s website.

Further useful information can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Taxi Trade Advice - Information to taxi and private hire licensees

The Welsh Government has produced guidance for vehicle operators restarting the provision of public transport and for members of the public to safely use public transport.

For more information please visit the following links:

Operators
https://gov.wales/restarting-public-transport-guidance-operators

Public
https://gov.wales/travelling-safely-coronavirus-guidance-public

http://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support/sector-specific-content/taxi-trade-advice

and for general advice:-

https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

We would also encourage you to sign up to Blaenau Gwent Business Hub

https://www.blaenaugwentbusinesshub.co.uk/BusinessSupport/Covid-19

Offers of assistance from the trade

We have received many offers of assistance from the trade which we have directed on to appropriate internal partners. Please continue to let us know of any additional ways in which you think you can support your local community at this time by contacting the Licensing Team.

You may also wish to consider letting others know centrally by visiting: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business; this will help the Government to ensure all such offers are considered on a wider basis.

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 particularly relevant to the taxi and PHV trade but it is part of the measures announced, e.g. changes to Universal Credit - 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

Advice for the Taxi Trade - County Lines Gangs

To help safeguard vulnerable children and protect them from gangs, the Home Office, Institute of Licensing and CrimeStoppers are working to increase awareness among taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, and licensing staff, of the signs to spot a potential victim. County Line gangs are still very active even during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Read more here - https://crowd.in/tVe0oO

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