The Department for Transport has written to licensing authorities with advice and information for the licensed taxi and private hire trade.

Guidance for staff in the transport sector

The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector

Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance

We are aware that the taxis and PHV trade 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

Insurance for undertaking deliveries

Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor insurance members have committed to support taxi and private hire drivers seeking alternative sources of income: licenced taxi or private hire drivers that had hire or reward insurance in place, as of 8 March, will not need to contact their insurer to extend their your existing cover while driving this vehicle to carry parcels, medical supplies, household goods, groceries or takeaway meals during the Covid-19 restrictions. 

The ABI’s commitment will be in place until the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, or until 31 July 2020, whichever is sooner

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/motor-insurance/

Face masks

The 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 settings

Public 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

Driver licensing

Medicals – It will remain a matter for licensing authorities whether to issue or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence. We aware of the current difficulties in obtaining medical examination reports, such as those used for the Group 2 HGV and bus driver entitlements that many taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities base their assessments on. As part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the we are reviewing the position on Group 2 medical assessments.

Offers of assistance from the trade

We have received many offers of assistance from the trade, to co-ordinate the offers and assistance needed we are requesting that all offers of services be directed to: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business; this will help us to ensure all such offers are received by the correct team leading on a particular issue and responded to quickly.

Assisting the trade

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information on the scheme is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme   

The above is perhaps particularly relevant to the taxi and PHV trade but it is part of the measures announced, e.g. changes to Universal Credit – more info is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19 

Assistance for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. More information on the measures is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.

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