Covid - 19 Guidance for drivers

Taxi operators provide an essential service to the public and under current government guidelines can continue to operate.

Customers you're allowed to take on journeys

You shouldn't let any customer inside your vehicle if they or anyone in their household have had coronavirus symptoms in the last 14 days.

Before taking a customer on a journey, you should ask them if anyone in their house has had symptoms in the last 14 days.

Social distancing advice for taxi drivers

The following social distancing advice may help keep you and your customers safer.

  • The number of customers travelling in your vehicle should be kept to a minimum. Any customers in your vehicle at the same time should be from the same household.
  • Where possible, customers should sit in the back of your vehicle and face away from you.
  • Before the journey, ask the customer if they have any luggage or bags and if they're able to put them in the boot themselves. If they are able to do so, you should pop the boot open from inside your vehicle, if you can, and the customer should put their items in and close the boot.
  • If you need to help a customer with luggage or shopping, you should keep your distance, where possible. You can do this by asking your customer to leave their bags at the back of the vehicle and then step away so you can load them.
  • Avoid skin to skin contact at all times.
  • If you take breaks at your operator's base, you should keep your distance from other drivers, where possible. 
  • Follow the social distancing advice on GOV.UK.

Hygiene and safety advice for taxi drivers

  • Avoid cash payments and take card payments, where possible.
  • You should have disposable tissues with you to catch coughs and sneezes.
  • You should wash your hands before and after you get into your vehicle and before you touch a customer’s luggage.
  • Always keep the windows open when there is a passenger in the vehicle to help with ventilation.
  • Switch off the air conditioning or set it to avoid recycling air within the vehicle to a setting that brings fresh air in and enables air changes to take place. 
  • How to wash your hands

The government recommends if you're in an enclosed environment and can't maintain social distance you should wear a face covering.

It's important for passengers to be able to identify you as a legitimate driver. Therefore, please be prepared to remove your face covering so passengers can see your identity matches up with your displayed licence badge. This must be done following the current social distancing rules.

The guidance may yet change at some later stage so please watch for futher updates.

The use of screens in private hire vehicles and taxis during the COVID-19 pandemic

Councils have been receiving queries from taxi and private hire drivers and operators about the use of temporary screens or partitions as a way of providing physical separation between drivers and passengers in order to the reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Whilst we have asked the  Department for Transport to give licensing authorities a clear steer on the installation of screens to support consistency, in the absence of this, it will remain a decision for individual licensing authorities and local operators.

However, there is currently limited evidence about the effectiveness of temporary screens in reducing the risk of COVID-19. There is also a lack of clarity about the safety of fitting these types of screens in vehicles. This has created a challenge for authorities who are being asked to approve the fitting of screens.

To support authorities in considering this, the Local Government Association (LGA) have issues a brief guidance note which shares general approaches taken by authorities which have taken a stance on protective screens.

Driving tips and reminders

Seat belts 

Hackney Carriage drivers -  The law states that you don't need to wear a seat belt if you're a licensed taxi driver who is 'plying for hire' or carrying passengers. Remember that you can only be plying for hire in Erewash so must wear a seatbelt if travelling for a pick up outside the Erewash area.

Private Hire drivers - If you are carrying passengers in a Private Hire vehicle you don't need to wear a seatbelt. At all other times you must wear a seatbelt.

Currently drivers in England, Scotland and Wales who do not buckle up can receive a fine of up to £500 and 3 penalty points on their driving licence.

Keeping your engine running

Many drivers may not be aware that idling is already an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. While you can leave your engine running in traffic, the Highway Code says: ''You must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road''. Motoring agencies recommend that motorists turn off their engines if they think they are not going to move for around two minutes.

A Parking Enforcement Officer will use discretion and will in the first instance ask the driver to turn off their engine before taking any action. If this request is refused the Warden may issue a fixed penalty notice of £20 under the Road Traffic  (Vehicle Emisions) Regulations 2002). This can rise to £40 if is not paid within the time specified on the penalty notice.

Stick to the speed limits

Speeding is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents, so driving within the speed limit is vital. The law states that ''you must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle''. If you're caught speeding the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your driving licence.

UK National Speed limits for different roads

Type of vehicleBuilt-up areasSingle carriagewaysDual carriagewaysMotorways
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles 30mph 60mph 70mph 70mph
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles towing caravans or trailers 30mph 50mph 60mph 60mph

Don't lose concentration

Under section 148 of the Highway Code safe driving requires concentration. This means it's important to eliminate anything that may distract you whilst you drive, such as smoking, eating or drinking, playing loud music or trying to read a map.

Don't use your phone while driving

It is illegal to drive using hand-held phones or similar devices, and that this rule still applies even if you're stuck in traffic or have stopped at traffic lights. If you're caught using your phone or tablet then you could get six penalty points on your driving licence and a fine of £200.

Follow the Highway Code

The Highway Code was first published in 1931 and is regularly revised in order to stay up to date with current road rules and regulations. A lot of the rules are legal requirements and these include the word ''must'', so it is important to follow them to avoid breaking the law, and staying on top of the advice can help keep yourself and those around you safe.  Staying on top of all motoring do's and don'ts can not only keep you safer , it could also help to save you money.

The Air Quality (Taxi & Private Hire Vehicles Database) (England & Wales) Regulations 2019

The above Act came into force on 1 May 2019. The Government department DEFRA (Department for Environmernt, Food & Rural Affairs) want to identify taxis and private hire vehicles entering or moving within any Clean Air Zones throughout the country. A Clean Air Zone is an area where a local authority has taken targeted action to improve air quality. In some cases vehicles will be charged to enter or move around in the Clear Air Zone if thier vehicle fails to meet the required emission standards.To enable this all local authorities in England and Wales from 6 January 2020 will have to share certain details on their licensed taxis and private hire vehicles to a central database.

Details of your vehicle that will be shared with DEFRA will include;

  • The vehicle registration mark
  • The date from which the licence has effect.
  • The date on which the licence is due to expire
  • A statement as to wether the vehicle is a taxi or a private hire vehicle
  • Such other relevant information the licensing authority holds in relation to the vehicle
  • Whether the vehicle is a wheelchair accessible vehicle

Please see  the Privacy Notice on how DEFRA will use this information in relation to third party organisations.

Latest spot checks on Taxis and Private Hire vehicles

On Monday 27 January 2020 Licensing officers attended a taxi enforcement multi - agency operation  hosted by Ruscliffe Borough Council at Eastcroft depot on London Road, Nottingham. Members of Ruscliffe Borough Council's licensing team were joined by officers from Erewash, Gedling, Mansfield, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and V.O.S.A. to make the checks.

33 vehicles were checked in total - 20 Nottingham City vehicles, 2 Rushcliffe, 1 Ashfield. 5 Wolverhampton, 3 Gedling, 1 Broxtowe and 1 Erewash.

One immediate prohibition notice was issued due to a defective brake pipe and the vehicle was removed by a low loader. One vehicle was issued a prohibition notice due to an under inflated tyre. Another vehicle was issued a prohibition notice due to defective steering. A prohibition notice was issued to a vehicle because of lights not working and rubber missing from the brake pedal. A prohibition notice was issued to a vehicle for dashboard warning lights and an oil leak.

Taxi plates were removed from 2 vehicles for an oil leak and low tyre tread.

Other drivers were issued warnings for defective headlights, accident damage, a missing roof light and not having/wearing a drivers badge issued by their local authority. The Erewash  vehicle was found to be clear of any faults.

 

On Friday 20 September 2019 Erewash licensing  officers attended an enforcement exercise ran by North West Leicestershire District Council at East Midlands Airport. Also in attendence were leicestershire police and D.V.S.A. 135 vehicles were checked on the day, 6 vehicles were issued with D.V.S.A prohibitions, 4 immediate and 2 delayed. All prohibitions were given for defective tyres.

 

On 29 May 2019 licensing officers joined an enforcement exercise at West Park, Long Eaton with the police CREST unit (Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team). 10 taxis were inspected on the day, 8 Erewash vehicles, 1 Derby City and 1 Broxtowe.

2 Erewash vehicles required breaklight and side light bulbs replacing (these were done on the day)

The Browtowe vehicle was issued a Traffic Order Offence Report by the police for not wearing a seatbelt.

S42 Highways Act 1988

Under section 42 of the HIghways Act 1988 and Rule 239 of the Highway Code it is a road traffic offence to open any car door of a vehicle so as to injure or endanger any person. This offence is punishable with a fine of up to £1000 and the offence is not just limited to drivers of vehicles but also their passengers. In cases where a driver has parked in a way that may put greater risk to the passing public e.g. parking up on the pavement, this may leave you partially responsible if a prosecution is sought.

Changes to taxi licensing policy

On Thursday 18 June 2016 the Licensing & Public Protection Committee held a meeting to consider the outcome of a consultation exercise undertaken in response to a petition submitted by a number of Long Eaton drivers.

The Licensing and Public Protection Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 14th January 2016 and resolved that since the signatories on the petition represented only 13% of the licensed drivers operating in Erewash further consultation was required with all licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors to obtain more representative feedback on the issues raised.

Drivers, vehicle proprietors and Private Hire Operators were asked to respond to the consultation, giving their opinions on the following:

  • Whether there should be a fare increase, and if yes, by how much
  • Taxi rank provision in Long Eaton - suitable sites
  • The council's vehicle age policy - should the council extend the current age restriction policy or adopt an 'exceptional condition' age policy.
  • Vehicle testing arrangements at Merlin Way  depot  - more vehicle testing slots?
  • The council's taxi knowledge test - should it include modules on customer care and safeguarding issues?

The consultation took place between 17 February and 14 March 2016  and a report was submiited to the licensing and Public Protection Committee which was based on the 40 respones received by the licensing office.

The Licensing and Public protection Committee resolved that;

(1) The temporary taxi stand at Beaconsfield Street in Long Eaton is appointed as a permanent stand for hackney carriages and to authorise officers to commence statutory consultations;

(2) A further report be submitted to this committee if any representations are received regarding the proposed stand at Beaconsfield;

(3) Approval be given for saloon hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licences  to be renewed up to ten years of age (rather than the current 8 year threshold) including a requirement that these vehicles must be tested three times per annum;

(4) Approval be given that the existing arrangements for testing hackney carriages and private hire vehicles at Merlin Way Depot remain unchanged;

(5) Approval be given for a fare increase of 50p on the flag rate and that officers be authorised to advertise the proposed increase in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976;

(6) A further report be submitted to this committee if any representations regarding the proposed fare increase are received;

(7) Subject to no representations being received regarding the proposed fare increase approval is given for the commencement of the new fare rate from 11th July 2016;

(8) Approval be given for changes to the knowledge test to include questions concerning local area knowledge, customer care and safeguarding which is consistent with the Department of Transport best practice guidance.

Refusing Fares on Hackney Carriage Ranks

It is an offence to refuse any fare without a reasonable excuse, and this would normally be a case of concerns regarding your own or public safety. It is an offence under section 53 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847. Some drivers have raised concerns that this was regularly taking place on the Market Street rank at Ilkeston and the licensing department are currently investigating these allegations.

Licence Conditions - Reminders

Change of Address: Drivers will notify the council of any change of his/her address during the period of his /her licence WITHIN 7 DAYS of such a change taking place.

Convictions, Cautions and Fixed Penalty Notices:

  1. If the driver is charged with or convicted of any criminal offence
  2. If the driver has been formally interviewed under caution at a police station for any offence which you are suspected of having committed
  3. If the driver has been cautioned for any offence
  4. If the driver has been convicted of a Fixed Penalty Notice, within 5 days of being endorsed on the driving licence.

If the offence is endorsed on your driving licence and /or a fixed penalty notice is issued you must also produce the licence to the licensing department within 14 days of your appearance in court OR the date the conviction was endorsed on the driving licence, whichever is the later.

Failure to notify the council of any conviction as stated above may result in the revocation or suspension of the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver's licence. The driver may have to attend the council's Driver's Panel to determine whether the licence will be re-issued, and whether the driver is deemed a ''fit and proper person''.

Disability Awareness - Additional Training

Drivers may wish to visit the Democracy, Disability and Society Group website for some information regarding the difficulties disabled people have when using taxis. This society are a group of people trying to break down the barriers to disabled people's inclusion in society. Their experiences have caused them to be particularly concerned about the availability of transport to get them around.

This web site is intended to help this process by showing how taxi companies, drivers and local authorities can best support disabled peoples' use of taxis and private hire vehicles. It must be stressed that this web site merely offers advice and guidance to drivers when dealing with disabled passengers. Any training involved is seen as best practice and NOT compulsory for Erewash drivers.

Market Place Taxi Rank, Long Eaton - Traffic Order Enforcement

The traffic order covering the Market Place Taxi rank and the adjacent pedestrianised area are now formalised and therefore enforceable. Depending on the type of offence both the Council's Civil Enforcement Officers or the Police will be enforcing the Traffic Order.

The main points of the order that will affect taxi drivers are as follows:

  • Prohibition of driving on the Market Place pedestrianised area between the hours of 10am and 4pm (so there can be no entering off the Market Place or off Union Street). Entering the pedestrianised area through these access points between the restricted hours is a moving traffic offence which will be enforced by the police.
  • There is also a prohibition of waiting within this area between the same hours. Anyone found parked on the pedestrianised area is contravening the prohibition of waiting. Civil Enforcement Officers will be enforcing this contravention.
  • It will also be an offence to be waiting on the taxi rank anywhere other than in one of the six marked bays. This will also of course apply to private vehicles parked on the taxi rank.
  • The order will also apply to empty vehicles left on the taxi rank, both licensed and private. Drivers are reminded that if a vehicle is left unmanned on the rank and a space becomes available on the rank, the empty vehicle will hold up vehicles wishing to move forward.

Merlin Way Depot appointments

Drivers and proprietors of vehicles are reminded that arriving late for appointments without prior notice may incur cancellation of the appointment and a further re-appointment charge. If suitable notice of cancellation or lateness is given, or good reason for non-attendance, then any due payment may be deferred until a new appointment is made.

Please remember when calling the contact centre at Erewash Borough Council to make a note of the time of your appointment time. If in doubt please call the contact centre or the licensing office.

Immigration Act 2016 - Right to work in the United Kingdom

The Immigration Act 2016 was introduced as law on 1 December  2016 and this has meant that we have had to make some changes to how we process new and renewal applications for all taxi drivers. 

Under Schedule 5 of the Immigration Act 2016, all councils must now make sure that licences are not issued to people who do not have a right to a licence.  This includes those illegally present in the UK, those not permitted to work in the UK, or those permitted to work in the UK but who are subject to a condition that stops them from holding a hackney carriage/private hire licence driver's licence.

The checks that we now have to complete are for people of all nationalities, including UK citizens and must be completed by everyone who wants to apply for a hackney carriage/private hire driver's  licence or a private hire operator's licence. 

This means that licensing officers will now need to see proof of right to work in the UK for every new applicant and every existing licence holder. Please see the list of the documents that will be required, or contact the licensing team if you need further information about what documents are acceptable to prove the right to work in the UK.  Original documents only will be accepted. We cannot accept photocopies.

The licensing team will aim to avoid duplicating or repeatedly checking documents.  However, the checks have to be done for every new applicant and also for every licence driver renewal for existing licence holders in the future.

Staying Safe whilst working

There is some important information and advice from the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding staying safe whilst at work. Please read the safety guidelines for Taxi Drivers. There are additional guidelines for Private Hire drivers.

Taxi rank regulations

We would like to remind drivers of the regulations and etiquette regarding the use of hackney carriage taxi ranks. Please read the guidance on the Use of ranks.

Regulation reminders

We would like to remind drivers of certain regulations that are causing the licensing department some concern. Firstly the rules concerning late renewal applications - this is still happening and drivers are being taken off the road because they have not followed Council guidelines.

Secondly we would remind drivers and vehicle owners that ONLY persons holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's licence issued by Erewash Borough Council may drive a licensed vehicle. Spouses, other family members or friends may NOT drive the vehicle under any circumstances. Any insurance policy on the vehicle would be invalid should the vehicle be involved in an accident whilst being driven by an unlicensed driver.

 

Erewash Borough Council

Erewash Borough Council, Town Hall, Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5RP
0115 907 2244
   
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