Information for the taxi and private hire vehicle industry.
Should I continue to work?
Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers can continue to work.
Some people are considered more vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), because they have a particular underlying health condition.
Welsh Government has published information on how to protect vulnerable people (known as shielding). If you are shielding you should stay up to date with all the latest guidance as this contains relevant information on whether you are permitted to work.
If you are unable to work you may be eligible for financial support.
Self-employed Income Support
If you are self-employed and coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected you, the scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant.
For further information and how to apply please visit: COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
Financial support packages are available to employees and businesses. This includes:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferred VAT and Income Tax payments
- grant initiatives
Find more information and how to apply: coronavirus (COVID-19) support for businesses.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you cannot work as you have coronavirus (COVID-19) or are self-isolating on government advice, you can apply for statutory sick pay. You will be able to claim SSP from the first day that you are self-isolating and cannot work. For further information please see Statutory Sick Pay.
For those not eligible for business or self-employment income support schemes or SSP. Find out if you are eligible for Universal Credit.
Vehicle MOTs and Tax
MOT testing will restart on 1 August . This means that if your vehicle’s MOT is due on or after 1 August you must get the test done.
If your vehicle’s MOT is due between 30 March and 31 July 2020 you will still receive a 6 month exemption from testing.
You must ensure that your vehicle remains safe and roadworthy. You can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.
You can tax your vehicle as soon as your MOT expiry date has been updated.
You should keep up to date on information about stopping the spread of COVID-19 and self-isolation. Health advice is available on the NHS Wales website.
Keeping yourself and passengers safe
If you or someone you have been in contact with have symptoms follow the advice regarding self-isolation on the NHS Wales website.
Ensure that passengers wear a face covering (see section on face coverings below).
Think about asking about symptoms before a passenger is picked up. If potential passengers have symptoms such as a persistent cough, or high temperature or loss of sense of smell and/or taste, you should direct them to NHS Direct and advise them not to make the journey.
Ask passengers to sit in the rear of the vehicle. It is preferable that single passengers sit in the rear left-hand seat to maximise the distance between driver and passenger.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitiser gel in your vehicle. This should be at least 60% alcohol based. Alternatively keep a large bottle of water and a bar/bottle of soap. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
Avoid handling cash and accept alternative payment methods such as a debit or credit card.
Keep the vehicle well ventilated, and open windows when possible.
After each passenger journey drivers should clean hard surfaces such as:
- door handles
- window winders
- seat belts
- card payment devices
- the rear of the front seats and other surface the passenger(s) may have touched or coughed/sneezed on
If you share a vehicle with other drivers you should regularly clean the following:
- steering wheel
- gear stick
- radio equipment
- data heads
- seat belts
- any other hard surfaces
A thorough clean of the vehicle with standard cleaning products should be completed at the end of each shift/working day.
After cleaning your vehicle you should wash/sanitise your own hands.
Ensure the vehicle remains safe and road-worthy. You should carry out basic vehicle maintenance checks at the start of every shift. This should include a visual check on all lights, oil & water levels, tyres, mirrors, seat belts and access ramps (where applicable). Many garages that undertake repairs remain open.
Carry tissues in your vehicles and use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes. Dispose of used tissues in a bin straight away.
It is recommended that you wear a face covering, but do not let the use of a face covering give you a false sense of security. Continue social distancing and good hygiene measures including washing your hands before putting a face covering on or taking it off. Please see FAQs on face coverings for further information.
Can I refuse to carry passengers through fear of infection?
The Institute of Licensing has provided some guidance on the legitimacy of fare refusals in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Passengers who are blind and partially sighted
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have guidance on their website for taxi and minicab staff who transport people who are blind or partially sighted.
Changes to licence application processes and licence expiries
Your licensing authority may have made changes. Check your licensing authority’s website for information.
Can I install a safety screen in my vehicle to protect myself from coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The installation of protective barriers or safety screens is a decision for licensing authorities, PHV operators and firm/individual operating the vehicle to make based on their own assessment of risk.
Before considering installing a safety screen you should contact your licensing authority to:
- check that they will permit the installation
- ensure that the screen and installation will meet their requirements
Can taxi and PHV drivers support passengers with accessibility issues while maintaining social distancing?
Taxi and PHV drivers are still under the same obligation to provide reasonable assistance and make reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers. You should follow the guidelines above including good hygiene practices when it is not possible to maintain the recommended social distance.
Mandatory use of face coverings
As of 27 July 2020 all passengers using public transport (including taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)) must wear a face covering. Welsh Government recommends wearing a three layer face covering.
You should always ask a passenger to put on a face covering before they get into your vehicle, but you should be aware that some passengers may be exempt or have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one. For example some people cannot wear or put on a face covering due to a physical or mental illness. It is suggested that you familiarise yourself with the guidance in relation to face coverings.
Passengers travelling in a taxi or PHV without wearing a face covering, may be liable to a fine.
Although it is only a legal requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on public transport, in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, we would advise that drivers also wear a face covering. See our video on how to make a 3 layer face covering for further information.
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.
Children under 11 years old are not required to wear a face covering. Children over 11 years old travelling on dedicated school transport in a taxi or PHV are also exempt from wearing a face covering, but they will need to wear one for ordinary taxis/PHV journeys that are not part of dedicated school transport.
What to do if a passenger is not wearing a face covering
It should be noted that it is the passenger that it liable for contravening the regulations if they fail to wear a face covering without an exemption or reasonable excuse. The driver is not liable under the regulations, however, it is recommended that you consider the following steps if a passenger is not wearing a face covering:
- Ask the passenger why they are not wearing a face covering to establish whether they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse such a health issue that prevents them from wearing a face covering.
- Consider keeping a supply of face coverings for passengers who do not have a face covering with them. You cannot charge for face coverings as part of a hackney carriage fare unless explicitly permitted by your local authority.
- As it is a mandatory requirement that passengers wear face coverings in taxis and PHVs, you should refuse to transport a passenger who is not wearing a face covering if they do not have a reasonable excuse to not be wearing one.
- You may transport a passenger that is exempt or has a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering:
- Hackney Carriage drivers are not permitted to refuse hire without reasonable excuse. Hackney Carriage drivers will therefore need to carefully consider the individual circumstances of passengers and assess the risks and all relevant precautionary measures that may be taken before refusing a fare.
- Taxi and PHV drivers will need to consider their duties under the Equality Act 2010 in relation to transporting passengers with disabilities.
Face covering notices
Notices advising passengers of their legal obligation to wear face coverings should be displayed in a prominent place in taxis and PHVs. Public waiting areas at booking offices, websites and apps should also display notices.
Information for PHV operators
- It is a legal requirements that operators provide information to passengers about the requirement to wear face coverings. It is recommended that this done at the time of booking confirmation either verbally or electronically such as website/app/email information. Please see examples of notices that may be used on vehicles, websites/apps or on premises.
- When a passenger advises the operator that they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse to not wearing a face covering, it is recommended that this information is passed onto the driver prior to the journey.
- Please read our guidance on how public transport operators can keep premises and workplaces safe in order to protect employees and passengers from coronavirus.
- General information on how to keep workplaces safe is also available.
Collecting passengers returning from international travel
Welsh Government may introduce local restrictions in areas with increased cases of coronavirus.
The current position is that Taxi and PHV drivers can continue to work, including undertaking work that takes place beyond the lockdown area.
It is the passenger that could be fined for leaving the lockdown area without reasonable excuse, rather than the driver. However in order to assist in reducing the transmission of coronavirus in the area we would expect drivers and operators to establish reasons for travel taking place outside the lockdown area, and you may wish to advise passengers against travel if they do not have a reasonable excuse or refuse to accept the fare.
It would be considered acceptable to refuse a fare to a passenger travelling outside the lockdown area who does not have a reasonable excuse under the lockdown restrictions to do so. We would however urge you to take any possible passenger safeguarding issues into consideration in this matter.