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 Newsletter July 2021
Following the easing of covid restrictions we are now returning to our normal licensing processes. I would like to reassure you that we have been as flexible and pragmatic as we reasonably can during these times and introduced temporary measures to help us all get through this.
Annual report on taxi licensing
The 2021 annual report was presented to the Regulatory Committee on 29 June, this contains the usual statistics and figures.
The Committee also considered the changes which are to be made to our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy as a result of the Statutory Guidance and revisited the issue of tinted windows.
Briefly the Committee accepted the statutory guidance measures but were not convinced that fitting CCTV in vehicles as a condition or introducing English language tests were appropriate at the moment and the tinted windows issue is to be looked at again in 12 months' time.
You can see the report by accessing our website on the following link and you can see the
minutes of the meeting on the attachment sent with this newsletter.
We have noticed some vehicles are looking quite unkempt, please keep your vehicles clean and tidy inside and out, you want to attract customers not scare them off so they go using someone else.
Medicals and DBS checks
This applies whether you are working or not.
If your medical or DBS is due or overdue, please arrange to have it done as soon as possible and let us know when your medical appointment is.
Please ensure you book your medicals in plenty of time, we can't licence you if you don't have your medical.
Please remember you must now as a condition of licensing sign up to the DBS update service.
We have been unable to carry out knowledge tests for some time but with being relaxed we are now considering restarting these. We will let you know the situation as soon as matters become clear.
We have not had a drivers' forum since the pandemic began and we are looking at restarting these.
Our halls are being used for vaccinations at the moment so I will look for another premises, I will keep you updated.
Masks in vehicles
As you know mask for passengers are no longer compulsory in taxis from the 19th July 2021.
There is no updated guidance on this yet but we will let you know if this appears.
In the meantime you can still request a passenger wears a mask as a condition of carriage in your vehicle if you wish.
If they refuse to wear a mask and you do not want to put yourself at risk, you can refuse to carry them. We think this is reasonable at the moment and we will not prosecute any driver who refuses to carry a passenger under these circumstances.
This may change following legal advice or new guidance but that is our view for the moment. If matters change we will let you know.
Previous three newsletters
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 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."
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.
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.
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.
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 and venues become available.
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