Nonsensical Approach to Face Coverings in PHVs
On Monday, June 15th the wearing of face coverings became mandatory on Public Transport including trains, tube, bus, coach, and trams. However taxi & PHV drivers and their passengers are only being heavily advised that they ‘should’ rather than ‘must’ use them.
On Monday, June 15th the wearing of face coverings became mandatory on Public Transport including trains, tube, bus, coach, and trams,. However taxi & PHV drivers and their passengers are only being heavily advised that they ‘should’ rather than ‘must’ use them.
This stance is strongly criticised by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) who describe a “nonsensical” “inconsistency” to the approach. The trade body compares the resulting confusion to the issues caused by the differing stances taken by various licensing authorities to the installation of partitions.
Additionally, the LPHCA highlight how mixed messaging “could potentially lead to conflict between passengers, drivers and operator’s call takers, worse still the death of a driver or passenger.” Instead they’re calling for the ambiguity to be removed and for Government instructions to be brought in line with Public Transport.
Uber “No Mask, No Ride”
Uber have acted decisively on the subject by introducing the mandatory wearing of face coverings for passengers. The new rule came into effect on the same day that Government stipulated the use of coverings on Public Transport. The app operator told passengers that the intention is to “help protect the health and safety of you and your driver.”
If passengers aren’t wearing a face covering, their driver has the right to cancel the ride. They’ve also developed a flagging function for drivers to highlight anyone that repeatedly fails to wear a face covering. The American firm states that these users will risk losing access to the app.
In the communication passengers are instructed to ensure that their face covering or mask, “covers your face from the bridge of your nose down to your chin.” However there are no specific requirements regarding what material the covering is made from, even homemade versions will be accepted. Uber simply recommends people visit the government advice page for more information.
Customers in London are also being provided with functionality that will help them to verify whether their driver is wearing a face covering. The firm is “prompting” drivers to take a selfie before they can go online. Users can also cancel their journey if their driver arrives and is not wearing a face covering
Will it be enough?
Without definitive instructions from the Government companies are having to take responsibility for decision making to protect both their drivers and passengers, whilst attempting to avoid the introduction of over bearing requirements that impact on already vastly reduced demand. We saw last month how Addison Lee swiftly commissioned the installation of partition screens across all their vehicles in a move aimed at allaying passenger’s safety concerns. Whether these measures will be sufficient to encourage passenger back into PHVs at the levels previously experienced we’ll have to wait and see.
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