This page aims to provide the latest information for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers, as well as for passengers, during the Coronavirus pandemic. View the latest COVID support, advice and guidance on GOV.UK.
Mandatory face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles
Following the Prime Ministers announcement on 22 September 2020, it is now mandatory for face coverings to be worn in taxis and private hire vehicles in England.
Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the regulations give powers to taxi and private hire drivers to:
- deny access to a service if they aren't wearing a face covering without a legitimate reason
- direct someone to leave a service if they aren't wearing a face covering without a legitimate reason.
If passengers of a taxi or private hire vehicle fail to comply, the Police have the power to remove passengers from a service and issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. The requirement only applies when a service is being provided, for example; passengers are not required to wear a face covering when the vehicle is used for personal use.
Please note: there are health, age, equalities and other reasons why someone may not be able to wear a face covering. It is crucial that operators and passengers are aware of these exemptions to ensure that everyone can have confidence in using public transport.
The Department for Transport (DfT) offer information about safely using public transport during COVID-19:
- Safer transport guidance for passengers
- Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions and how to make your own.
COVID-19 guidance for taxi drivers and operators
From Tuesday 5 January 2021, we must all follow the rules of the national lockdown. Taxi operators provide an essential service to the public and are able to continue operating under the Government guidelines.
Guidance for taxi and private hire drivers is also available from the Department for Transport:
COVID-19 risk assessment for drivers and operators
Private hire vehicle operators and taxi intermediaries that are employers must carry out a risk assessment in line with Government guidance. If you have less than five employees, including non-drivers (dispatchers, booking agents etc), you don't have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment.
As a self-employed driver of a vehicle, drivers must conduct a risk assessment to understand the risks and what they can do about them. Drivers should think about how they work and ways they can protect themselves and their passenger. Drivers don't have to have written risk assessment. Visit GOV.UK for further advice about vehicle risk assessments.
Taking customers on journeys
Customers must wear a face covering whilst in a taxi, unless an existing exemption applies and are advised that they use taxis, or another form of public transport, for essential reasons.
Drivers must continue to provide support to disabled passengers to safely enter/exit your vehicle, as well as help them with their luggage and mobility equipment.
Drivers and operators should ask customers if anyone in their household has had symptoms in the last 10 days, before taking them on their journey. They should ask if they have:
- coronavirus symptoms (fever, new cough or loss of taste or smell)
- had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 10 days.
Drivers and operators also shouldn't let any customer inside their vehicle if they, or anyone in their household, have had COVID symptoms in the past 10 days.
If you feel unwell or are worried about contracting COVID-19, please visit the NHS website for the latest advice. Information about the spread of the virus and cases across the UK is available from Public Health England.
Social distancing in taxis
To help keep taxi and private hire drivers and passenger customers safe, the following advice should be followed:
- the number of passengers travelling in a taxi should be kept to a minimum and should be from the same household
- where possible, passengers should sit in the back of the vehicle and face away from the driver
- before a journey, drivers should ask customers if they have any luggage or bags and check if they're able to put them in the boot themselves. If they are able to do so, drivers should pop the boot open from inside the vehicle, if possible, and the customer should put their items in and close the boot
- if a driver needs to help a customer with luggage or shopping, they should keep their distance where possible. This can be done by asking passengers to leave their bags at the back of the vehicle and then step away, so drivers can load them
- avoid skin to skin contact at all times
- drivers who take breaks at their operator's base are advised to keep their distance from other drivers, where possible
- view more social distancing advice on GOV.UK.
Hygiene and safety advice for taxi drivers
- Avoid cash payments and take card payments, where possible
- drivers should have their own disposable tissues, to catch coughs and sneezes
- drivers should wash their hands before and after get into their vehicle and before touching a customer's luggage
- drivers should remind passengers to wash or sanitise their hands after their journey
- keep vehicle windows open to help with ventilation when carrying passengers
- switch off the air conditioning, or set it to avoid recycling air in the vehicle to a setting that brings fresh air in and enables air changes to take place
- view the NHS video and advice on how to properly wash your hands.
Face coverings and gloves for taxi drivers
If you're in an enclosed environment and can't social distance, the Government recommends wearing a face covering.
Drivers are encouraged to be mindful that passengers be able to identify you as a legitimate drivers. Please be prepared to remove your face covering for passengers to check your identity matches your displayed licence badge. This must be done as safely as possible by following the current social distancing rules:
- see how to properly wear or make a face covering on GOV.UK
- view the recommendation on wearing gloves from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Cleaning vehicles and disposing of waste
- After each customer, drivers should clean their vehicle thoroughly, using wipes or disinfectant spray. Be sure to clean all surfaces that customers are likely to have touched, such as door handles and seat belt clips.
- drivers should regularly clean areas of their vehicle that they touch frequently throughout the day, as well as at the start and end of each shift. Cleaning common areas such as door handles, steering wheel, handbrake and switches
- open doors/windows to ventilate the vehicle for 5 minutes between customers
- if drivers share a vehicle, they should clean the inside thoroughly before the next driver gets in
- personal waste such as tissues and cleaning wipes should be stored in disposable rubbish bags. Drivers should use a new disposable rubbish bag for each shift
- if the vehicle may have been used by someone displaying COVID symptoms or by a confirmed COVID case, the vehicle should be thoroughly decontaminated. If decontamination isn't possible, the vehicle needs to be parked and not used for a minimum of 72 hours. View GOV.UK for advice on how to clean areas during COVID-19.
- Drivers should always wash their hands after cleaning their vehicle.
Operator staff guidance and advice
Taxi and private hire operators, including self-employed drivers, are encouraged to review and implement Government guidance on the safe provision of transport services during COVID-19. Drivers and operators must:
- regularly clean all touchpoints with disinfectant, including telephones, surfaces, door handles and taps
- ensure their workplace is COVID-secure
- consider displaying posters in their booking office, to encourage hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing. View free poster downloads from Public Health England
- limit the number of people allowed entry to office bases that are open to walk-in customers, allowing customers and staff to socially distance. Operators might also consider using spacing floor markers to allow people to socially distance
- consider fitting Perspex screens to reduce the risks from face-to-face contact.
Drivers should not work if they have coronavirus symptoms or they have been told to self-isolate. If they have symptoms, they should get a test as soon as possible and should stay at home until they get the result.
Further advice is available from GOV.UK: