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.

Revised Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for taxis and PHVs Published Date: 20/12/2020. Please ensure you and your passengers follow the guidance

The government has issued comprehensive guidance for taxi and PHV sector on actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-taxis-and-phvs

Please ensure you and your passengers follow the guidance


Taxi Licensing Newsletter Dec 2020

Welcome to the final newsletter for this year and hopefully a return to normality next year. There is not much to report this month but I have included revised covid secure guidance, updated 20/12/2020, for the safety of all, please follow thi

1. Councillors have approved a one-off payment to HC and PH drivers

The policy was approved at last nights (17th Dec) committee meeting and applications will go "live" on our website on Monday 21 Dec 2020.

The window for applications will close at 5pm on 8th January 2021. Any applications received after this time will not be considered.

I understand the amount of the grant is £250.

2. We have not received any objections to the fees proposed for the next financial year so as previously published there is no change to existing fees.

3. The Department for Transport have published the official statistics on taxi and private hire vehicles (PHV) in England.

The statistics include information on taxis and private hire vehicles in England as of 31 March 2020, so do not show the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.

The information includes PHV operators and enlisted drivers who use app-based technology, but does not disaggregate which drivers are using these apps in the figures presented. Figures are updated every year through surveying each licensing authority (a unitary or lower tier authority) in England and Wales.

The statistics show at end March 2020:

  • there were 298,800 licensed taxis and PHVs

  • 77% of all licensed vehicles were PHVs

  • 57% of licensed taxis were wheelchair accessible

  • all taxis in London were wheelchair accessible

  • 364,900 driver licences

  • 64% of licences were PHV only licences

  • 14% were taxi only licences

  • 22% were dual licences

The total number of licensed vehicles in England in March 2020 shows an increase of 2.3% (6,800 vehicles) compared with 2019, to 298,800.  This is the highest number since comparable records were first collected in 2005. The increase was driven by Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs), with just over three quarters (77%) of licensed vehicles are PHVs.

 

  Icon for pdf Taxi newsletter September 2020 [94.39KB]Icon for pdf Taxi newsletter October 2020 [44.61KB]Icon for pdf Taxi newsletter Nov 2020 [62.86KB]


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."


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.

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]