Taxi and private hire news and information

Information on matters concerning hackney carriages and private hire vehicles - such as changes in procedures, consultations, fees and policies. A PDF file will appear at the bottom of the page for each new update.

Taxi licensing annual report

The annual report was be presented to the Regulatory Committee on 23 June 2020
The agenda can be found here https://www.runnymede.gov.uk/article/18987/Regulatory-Committee-Agendas-2020


Information for members of the public using Taxis and Private Hire vehicles

You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator may be entitled to refuse to accept you if you do not wear a face covering.

Keep a 2 metre distance from others during your journey, for example at taxi ranks. If you need to be near other people you should:

  •      avoid physical contact
  •      try to face away from other people
  •      keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible

Follow the advice of the 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.


The Government has announced increased testing for taxi and PH drivers to help the Government learn more about who is at higher risk and how the virus is spreading.

ONS data showed that taxi and private hire drivers are at a much higher risk of becoming infected and passing away from contracting the virus.

The news means that tax and PH drivers will be included in the NHS Test and Trace programme as people without symptoms working in a 'high risk' profession - namely any job where people spend extended periods of time in an enclosed space with a large number of customers.

Dido Harding, executive chairwoman of NHS Test and Trace, confirmed at the Thursday 11 June Downing Street press conference that routine testing of asymptomatic people will now be expanded beyond the health sector.

She said: "We are now rolling that approach out to other high risk, high contact professions such as people who spend significant amounts of time in enclosed space with a large number of people - so taxi drivers, security guards.

"We need to get better at hunting out the virus, both as individuals - if we have the symptoms getting a test - and then NHS Test and Trace needs to get better at targeting our testing in communities and professions where there are likely to be more people who have the disease but aren't showing symptoms."


Guide Dogs

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have created guidance to help taxi operators support customers with sight loss through good communication skills while maintaining social distancing.

A spokesperson for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: "The coronavirus has had a profound impact on how we all travel, and we welcome the actions taken by many operators to support their passengers. People with sight loss face particular challenges when making their essential journey by taxi at the moment. It is also needed more than ever to help passengers understand social distancing requirements when using taxis.

"We hope that this guidance will help taxi operators meet their duty under equalities legislation to provide reasonable adjustments for passengers."


Taxi Licensing Newsletter June 2020

(Please note we only display the last three newsletters, We do retain all other previous newsletters and they are available on request).

Following on from our newsletter in March and April I thought it would be useful to repeat some of the information previously sent to you along with some new information on fitting screens in vehicles.

We know many of you are or have been self-isolating and not earning and those who are still working may have a reduced income. With lockdown easing it may be that some of you will want to work again, if you have any questions about returning to work please contact us, we are here to help.

I would like to reassure you that we are being as flexible and pragmatic as we reasonably can during these times and have introduced the temporary measures below to help you get through this. They are subject to change, depending on how the situation develops.

1. Screens or bulkheads in vehicles

If you are thinking about installing a screen please contact us first, do not just do it and hope it is going to be acceptable!

We have considered the matter of screens in vehicles and have no intention of making these compulsory.

We are allowing the fitting of screens but with conditions, so you have the choice of whether you want to fit one or not, the conditions are there to preserve public safety so I hope you understand these are necessary. They are as follows -

a) Any screen fitted to separate the driver from passengers must be professionally installed and certified by a competent installer. Such documentation must be provided by the vehicle proprietor and held on file.  Officers may request the vehicle to be presented for inspection at any point."

b) Any screen fitted must be fit for purpose and did not endanger the safety of the passenger or driver.

c)Any screen fitted must not interfere with the operation any of the vehicles safety systems such as air bags and seatbelts.

d) Any screen fitted must be constructed of transparent material to allow the driver a clear view of the road behind

e)Any screen fitted as a social distancing measure during the Covid19 pandemic must be removed once social distancing regulations have been relaxed and the screen is no longer considered necessary.

2. The wearing of face masks

There has been a lot of talk in the media about this and the Government made it compulsory that anyone travelling on public transport from 15 June must wear a face mask. Full details can be found here- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/face-coverings-to-become-mandatory-on-public-transport

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are not mentioned in this as they are not public transport and it is public transport the legislation is aimed at.

But of course, you are all providing transport, you will be in a confined space and will be in closer contact with passengers than bus or train drivers.

You as drivers can chose to wear a mask if you wish to do so and you can insist on passengers wearing a mask. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Use the guidance on face coverings to understand how to wear and make a face coverings.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

You are advised to make a risk assessment as outlined in the guidance published on 12 May. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

Private hire operators who get a booking can make a decision based on their risk assessment. If you require passenger to wear face coverings, please ensure you make this clear before you accept the booking and make a note of this fact.

Hackney carriage drivers who get a fare or have pre booked work should also make a decision based on their risk assessment. If you require a passenger to wear face coverings, please ensure you make this clear before you accept the fare/booking and make a note of this fact.

Taxi drivers are already able to refuse carriage to passengers where it is reasonable to do so, this might include those that are able but refuse to wear a face covering. Private hire vehicle operators can make the wearing of face covering a condition of hiring.

3.Driver and operator applications for new/renewal of licence.

Applications should be submitted electronically where possible, by e-mail to licensing@runnymede.gov.uk 

If you are unable to e-mail applications, you can post them.

Your application, if e-mailed should include a scanned copy of the DBS and medical certificates, the originals can then be sent by post and we will return them to you.

Your licence and drivers' badge will be posted to you.

4. Drivers medicals.

We have been made aware that Doctors in some areas have stopped these due to other priorities associated with Covid-19.

As a result, some drivers have been unable to arrange their 5 or 1 yearly medical or have had a call from their Doctor cancelling the appointment.

The requirement for 5 or 1 yearly medicals may be temporarily relaxed for a period during this public health emergency. This follows the Governments temporary changes to the Group2 medical requirements. While it remains a matter for licensing authorities whether to issue or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence.

We would expect that you still make arrangements for your medicals.

In the event that your GP has temporarily stopped doing them or your appointment is cancelled we will allow an additional period of time for you to obtain a medical, normally 3 months. This would be revised of course should the situation not improve over the next few months.

Drivers will be able to renew a licence, providing they do not have any medical conditions that affect their driving.

Drivers will be asked to sign a disclaimer stating that to their knowledge their health has not changed since their last medical.

Drivers with health issues will still need to declare these, and those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed.

5. DBS checks

Ordinarily these checks would take place every 3 years or 6 monthly if registered for the update service. In cases where there is a lack of staff or restrictions on non-essential contact with persons the requirement for the DBS check would be temporarily relaxed and carried out at the first available opportunity. Drivers would be required to sign a disclaimer stating they had not been subject of any convictions etc since their last DBS check.

6. Vehicle plating

Vehicle plating is continuing as usual. Remember social distancing when you bring your vehicle in for plating and make sure it is clean.

Applications should be submitted electronically where possible, by e-mail to licensing@runnymede.gov.uk 

If you are unable to e-mail applications, you can post them.

6. Driver and vehicle licences

If you are planning to be off the road for some time, we can put your vehicle or drivers' licence on hold until things are back to normal and you are ready to work again.

I am thinking of the scenario where you are self-isolating or not working etc, so when you are able to start again, we simply reactive the licence and adjust the expiry date by adding on the down time.

A few drivers have done this already so if it is an option for you then get in touch with us.

Some drivers have spoken to us and asked if they can pay the licence fee by instalment, unfortunately we are not set up for that but we can take 2 payments rather than one big payment thereby spreading the cost, you would be expect to pay the second half after 6 months of course.

7. Government Guidance

COVD-19 Guidance has been provided on the GOV.UK pages, the following is a summary of some of what is available and other relevant updates.

Guidance for staff in the transport sector

The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

Guidance for passengers

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#taxis-and-private-hire-vehicles

Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance

The DfT are aware that the taxis and PHV trade are undertaking delivery work - please see the section on 'Deliveries' as well as 'Transport businesses'. Measures contained in the section on 'Use of private vehicles and car pooling' would apply to the taxi and private hire vehicle sector e.g. maintain good ventilation. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#transport-businesses

Insurance for undertaking deliveries

Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor insurance members have committed to support taxi and private hire drivers seeking alternative sources of income: licensed taxi or private hire drivers that had hire or reward insurance in place, as of 8 March, will not need to contact their insurer to extend their your existing cover while driving this vehicle to carry parcels, medical supplies, household goods, groceries or takeaway meals during the Covid-19 restrictions.

The ABI's commitment will be in place until the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, or until 31 July 2020, whichever is sooner https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/motor-insurance/

Please see the information contained within the March and April newsletters for guidance and help during the current pandemic.

Icon for pdf April 2020 Newsletter [70.04KB]

Icon for pdf March 2020 Newsletter [143.33KB]


The Air Quality (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Database) (England and Wales) Regulations 2019

From October 2019 we will be required to provide information about all hackney carriages and private hire vehicles licensed by Runnymede to the above database. The information given will be, registration mark, the date from which the licence has effect, the date on which the licence is due to expire, whether the vehicle is a taxi or a private hire vehicle and such other information the licensing authority holds in relation to the vehicle that may be relevant for the purposes of ensuring the accurate identification of vehicles, having had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The guidance for authorities contains fuller details about the database and the need for it, please see the link below for more information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-quality-taxis-and-private-hire-vehicles-phvs-database-guidance


Assistance dogs

Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. Drivers can apply for to the Council for a certificate exempting them from carrying assistance dogs on medical grounds. Runnymede will take any refusal to carry assistance dogs very seriously.

To highlight the issues those with assistance dogs face we have please read the Guide Dog Association web page which gives the full story.

The Guide Dogs Association has produced a video to help drivers understand the needs of people with assistance dogs, please make yourself aware of these very useful tips.

Transport for London have produced a very useful guide on the different type of assistance dog, please see the link to view the poster.

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/new-assistance-dogs-ad.pdf


Seatbelts

The law regarding seatbelts can be confusing and there are some exemptions for taxis and private hire vehicles, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and DVLA produce a useful guides to this.

Seat belt law

https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules/when-a-child-can-travel-without-a-car-seat


Forums

These are held three times per year alternating between Chertsey and Egham. Their purpose is to enable better communication between the licensing officers and the trade by having a two way flow of information and ideas. Your attendance is very welcome. start at 11am and end at 12.15pm.

The latest forum was held on Thursday 14 November 2019 at The Hythe Centre, thank you to all 6 drivers/operators who attended, your views were very constructive.   The current situation has led to all planned forums being cancelled but we will arrange further forums when the situation allows.

The last three forum's notes have been placed below for your information. We do hold notes from all other previous forums and they are available on request.

Previous forum notes

Icon for pdf Taxi forum notes 14 November 2019 [81.44KB]

Icon for pdf Forum notes 11 July 2019 [74.69KB]

Icon for pdf Forum notes 6 March 2019 [50.44KB]