Information for taxi and private hire vehicle drivers

We understand that taxi and private hire drivers may have concerns about the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Welsh Government have published information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel and transport advice and the UK government has guidance for operators.

In addition, we have collated the following information that you may find of use.

1. Should I continue to work?

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are not generally considered to be critical workers, however you can continue to work if your work is for essential purposes such as: transporting key workers to and from work; delivering goods like food or medical supplies; or fulfilling school contracts. This should be determined on a case by case basis.

If it is possible for you not to work you should stay at home.Some people are considered more vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you fall into the following you should not continue to work:

  • you are over 70
  • have a long term health condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

Welsh Government has published information on how to protect vulnerable people (known as shielding).

2. Financial Support

If you are unable to work you may be eligible for financial support.

Self-employed Income Support

If you are self-employed and coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected you, the scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant.

For further information and how to apply please visit: COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Business Support

Financial support packages are available to employees and businesses. This includes:

  • deferred VAT and Income Tax payments
  • grant initiatives 

For further information and how to apply please visit: COVID-19 Support for Businesses.

Statutory sick pay (SSP)

If you cannot work as you have coronavirus (COVID-19) or are self-isolating on government advice, you can apply for statutory sick pay. You will be able to claim SSP from the first day that you are self-isolating and cannot work. For further information please see Statutory Sick Pay.

Universal credit

For those not eligible for business or self-employment income support schemes or SSP. Find out if you are eligible for Universal Credit.

3. Vehicle MOTs and Tax

MOTs that expire on or after 30 March 2020 will be extended by 6 months.

You must ensure that your vehicle remains safe and roadworthy and are reminded that you can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

You can tax your vehicle as soon as your MOT expiry date has been updated.

5. Keeping yourself and passengers safe

If you or someone you have been in contact with have symptoms follow the advice regarding self-isolation on the NHS Wales website.

Think about asking about symptoms before a passenger is picked up. If potential passengers have symptoms such as a persistent cough, or high temperature or loss of sense of smell and/or taste, you should direct them to NHS Direct and advise them not to make the journey.

Ask passengers to sit in the rear of the vehicle.

Keep a bottle of hand sanitiser gel in your vehicle. This should be at least 60% alcohol based. Alternatively keep a large bottle of water and a bar/bottle of soap. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

Avoid handling cash and accept alternative payment methods such as a debit or credit card.

Keep the vehicle well ventilated, and open windows when possible.

After each passenger journey drivers should clean hard surfaces such as: 

  • door handles
  • window winders
  • seat belts
  • card payment devices
  • the rear of the front seats and other surface the passenger(s) may have touched or coughed/sneezed on

If you share a vehicle with other drivers you should regularly clean the following:  

  • steering wheel
  • gear stick
  • radio equipment
  • data heads
  • handbrake
  • indicators
  • switches
  • handles
  • seat belts
  • any other hard surfaces

A thorough clean of the vehicle with standard cleaning products should be completed at the end of each shift/working day. 

After cleaning your vehicle you should wash/sanitise your own hands.

Ensure the vehicle remains safe and road-worthy. You should carry out basic vehicle maintenance checks at the start of every shift. This should include a visual check on all lights, oil & water levels, tyres, mirrors, seat belts and access ramps (where applicable). Many garages that undertake repairs remain open.

Carry tissues in your vehicles and use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes. Dispose of used tissues in a bin straight away.

Wearing a face covering may be beneficial as a precautionary measure, but do not let the use of a face covering give you a false sense of security. Continue social distancing and good hygiene measures including washing your hands before putting a face covering on or taking it off. Please see statement on face coverings by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales.

 

6. Can I refuse to carry passengers through fear of infection?

The Institute of Licensing has provided some guidance on the legitimacy of fare refusals in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak

7. Changes to licence application processes andlicence expiries

Your licensing authority may have made changes. Check your licensing authority’s website for information.

8. Can I install a safety screen in my vehicle to protect myself from coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The installation of protective barriers or safety screens is a decision for licensing authorities, PHV operators and firm/individual operating the vehicle to make based on their own assessment of risk.  

Before considering installing a safety screen you should contact your licensing authority to: 
•    check that they will permit the installation
•    ensure that the screen and installation will meet their requirements

9. Can taxi and PHV drivers support passengers with accessibility issues while maintaining social distancing?

Taxi and PHV drivers are still under the same obligation to provide reasonable assistance and make reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers. You should follow the guidelines above including good hygiene practices when it is not possible to maintain the recommended social distance.

10. Information for passengers of taxis and private hire vehicles

The advice from government is clear that you should stay at home if possible, and only leave your home for one of the reasons set out in the government advice. If it is absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire, you should consider the following:

  • do not travel if you are displaying any of the coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms such as a persistent cough or, high temperature or loss of sense of smell and/or taste
  • wash or sanitise your hands before getting into the vehicle and after your leave it
  • sit in the rear, left side of the vehicle to maximise social distancing
  • try to avoid sharing a taxi or private hire vehicle with people who are not in your household
  • try to touch the interior of the vehicle as little as possible
  • avoid cash payments if possible (check with the driver/operator prior to start of the journey to see if this is possible)
  • if you are able to, you should lift any bags or luggage into the vehicle yourself
  • wearing a face covering may be beneficial as a precautionary measure, but do not let the use of a face covering give you a false sense of security

Continue social distancing and good hygiene measures including washing your hands before putting a face covering on or taking it off and wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser as soon as possible after completing your journey.

Please see statement on face coverings by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales.