Latest PHV & Taxi Advice from the Department for Transport
Covid 19 Guidance from the Department for Transport for Taxi and Private Hire DriversAt Plan we have been monitoring the advice supplied regarding the Covid 19 Crisis from government, relevant trade bodiesas well as regional and local authorities. Major questions have emerged regarding best practice and ongoing licensing requirements during these unprecedented times with limited information available to answer these queries. The LPHCA have communicated the below summary information from their efforts to seek clarification. Much of their COVD-19 Guidance for workers in the transport sector has been provided on the GOV.UK pages The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector
Driver Licensing Group 2 / D4 medical updatesThe Department for Transport is aware of the current difficulties in obtaining medical examination reports, such as the D4 medical report used for the Group 2 HGV and bus driver entitlements that many taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities base their assessments on. Government is making temporary provisions for bus and lorry drivers aged 45 and over to forego the need for a D4 medical in order to renew their driving entitlement. These changes are temporary and will only apply where the driver does not have any existing notifiable health conditions, and their licence has not expired before 1 January 2020. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dvla-coronavirus-covid-19-update#bus-and-lorry-drivers–d4-medical-updates It will remain a matter for licensing authorities whether to issue or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence.
Relicensing of Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles During the Covid CrisisThe Department for transport state that licensing authorities should consider ways in which they can use their existing powers to support the trade to continue to operate and provide essential travel. Where licensing authorities are unable to undertake inspections of vehicles to issue a certificate of compliance, they should consider whether their taxi and PHV licensing polices can be amended to accept a recent MOT certificate prior to the renewal a vehicle or proprietor licence. It is important to note that any certificate of compliance issued by a licensing authority ceases to be valid for MOT purposes once the vehicle or proprietors licence expires or is revoked; the owners of any vehicles that continue to be used on the road after revocation or expiry must consider whether they need to obtain an MOT certificate in order to do so lawfully. Drivers are responsible for making sure their vehicle is always safe to drive, a vehicle can be unsafe even if it has a valid MOT certificate or certificate of compliance. Drivers should be aware of their legal obligations; more information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/legal-obligations-drivers-riders
Social Distancing in the Workplace During Coronavirus (COVID-19): Sector GuidanceWe are aware that the taxi and PHV trades 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
Advice on Using Face Masks in Taxis and Private Hire VehiclesThe UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
Cleaning of non-healthcare settingsPublic Health England have provided guidance on the cleaning of non-healthcare settings, this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings Perspex / Plastic ‘in vehicle’ Screens / Dividers PHV customers, operators, drivers, and those in the Hackney Carriage Vehicle (taxi) trade, have been questioning whether Perspex / Plastic ‘in vehicle’ Screens / Dividers, should be fitted either a) voluntarily or b) mandatorily. The LPHCA have specifically had considerable dialogue on these propositions with senior government and Licensing Authority officials and at the time of release of this information on April 22nd 2020, they believe that through dialogue and research the position is as follows:
- There are no taxi and PHV specific guidelines beyond the Standard Social distancing guidance currently issued by government.
- There is currently no significant evidence as to whether Perspex / Plastic ‘In Vehicle’ Screens / Dividers are helpful to protect drivers / passengers from the Covid-19 or other viruses
- There is currently no significant evidence as to whether travelling in a purpose-built taxi is safer than travelling in PHVs or specific models thereof