Advice for taxis
Safety information and advice from the Department for Transport.
Use of face coverings in taxis
From 23 September 2020 passengers in taxis and private hire vehicles must wear face coverings. Taxi drivers are advised to wear face coverings.
There are some exceptions, including:
- Children under the age of 11;
- People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or without severe distress;
- People travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person who relies on lip reading to communicate with them
- People travelling to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, who do not have a face covering with them.
Drivers may refuse a booking if a passenger is not wearing a face covering. However, drivers must be aware of the exceptions and take care not to base the decision on any other grounds. Passengers are also able to refuse to travel with a driver who is not wearing a face covering.
A face covering is a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth. It does not have to be a surgical face mask. More information on face coverings is included in the government advice to passengers, which is available at GOV.UK - passenger safety in taxis.
Government advice to transport operators includes lots of useful information, including further advice on the use of face coverings, and is available at GOV.UK - guidance for operators.
We advise that where a journey is pre-booked the customer is informed at the time of booking that the passenger(s) must wear a face covering during the journey and that failure to do so may result in the driver refusing to take them. Where a journey is not pre-booked (for example, a hackney carriage flagged down in the street or hired from a marked taxi rank) the driver may still request the passenger to wear a face covering during the journey.
Face coverings are not a substitute for other steps to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Drivers and passengers must continue to follow government advice on social distancing, handwashing and cleanliness.
Use of protective screens in private hire vehicles
We have introduced a temporary policy on the use of protective screens in private hire vehicles (starts from 25 June 2020).
The policy permits protective screens in private hire vehicles with requirements that:
a) The device is not to be permanently installed in the vehicle and shall be removed no later than one calendar month of the expiry of national Coronavirus Regulations, including the temporary fixings
b) The device must not be fitted in such a way that it affects the structural integrity of the vehicle, or interferes with any manufacturer fitted safety equipment like air bags
c) The device must be fitted in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
d) The device must be fitted behind the two front seats (not between the two front seats)
e) The device must be composed of fire retardant materials
f) The device must meet relevant safety standards
g) The device must not impede driver or passenger access or egress to the vehicle
h) The device must not impede the driver's vision, movement or communication with passengers
i) The insurer should be notified of any modifications made to the vehicle
j) Our department shall be contacted in advance of a device being installed in order to provide appropriate advice and guidance on the suitability of the proposed device
k) Our Vehicle Testing Station shall be contacted after the installation of a device and an inspection arranged as appropriate
l) Responsibility for fitting and maintain the device rests with the licence holder and we accept no liability in this respect
m) The driver of the vehicle must ensure that the vehicle and the device are properly cleaned and sanitised before and after each passenger journey in accordance with government advice to the taxi trade. Get more information at GOV.UK - guidance for operators.
n) The device will be checked during the regular six monthly vehicle inspections to ensure it continues to meet the requirements of the policy
The temporary policy shall expire one calendar month after the expiry of the national Coronavirus Regulations.
Consideration will be given to the development of a permanent policy permitting protective screens in private hire vehicles.