As the current situation with the Covid-19 outbreak continues to develop, we are constantly keeping the matter under review, following government advice and looking at its own business continuity arrangements to ensure we can continue to deliver the services.
In relation to the taxi and private hire trade, we need to relay the information below. Note please that the situation is constantly changing and some of the information may be subject to change. We will do our best to keep you informed but we appreciate your understanding and patience.
Medicals and MOTs
We are aware that drivers may face difficulties with getting medicals done as surgeries are cancelling non-urgent appointments. There has been no official advice from the government and so we will be seeking permission to do the following:
- If licence holder contacts us to say they have had their appointment cancelled or are unable to make an appointment we will require a letter stating their medical condition has not changed since their last medical report. However if no contact is made prior to the expiry then suspensions will be issued in the normal way as we can assume that they have made no effort to book their medicals in the required time.
- New applicants will not be issued with a licence until they have complied with all the requirements including medicals.
- Existing drivers with pre-existing health conditions will be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.
Due to recent Government guidance MOTs have been extended for a further six months.
We would like to also take the opportunity to remind the trade of the official advice and the importance of following these for your own, but also your passengers, protection.
- If you are vulnerable either due to your age, suppressed immunity or pre-existing health conditions, please consider whether it is in your interest to work.
- If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus through a passenger (or anyone/where else), please consider the official advice to self-isolate particularly if you are displaying symptoms.
- Regularly clean touch points (such as steering wheel, door handles both inside and outside etc.) with alcohol (minimum 60%) wipes or bleach based cleaning products.
- Regularly clean the inside of your vehicle with warm water and soap.
- Consider carrying tissues in your car and where possible and practical, please wash your hands regularly
- Read the COVID-19: guidance for staff in the transport sector
Licensing committees have been postponed for the time being until alternative arrangements have been put in place.
We will deal with complaints and compliance issues as normal.
Advice from Department for Transport on COVID-19 (released 25/3/20)
Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.
Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.
Critical Worker Status
Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”
Renewals due in the next 6 months
The Council are trying to support you during this difficult time and have been given approval to permit the following:
- To save money on insurance, you can voluntarily surrender your plate to the Council and this will be retained until such time that you reinstate your insurance. The plate will be returned to you (with the original expiry date) once you can provide the necessary documents. No refunds will be given for any period of time lost on the plate. During the time that the Council retains your plate and you have no insurance, you cannot use the vehicle for any journey that requires a licence
- For any renewal (driver or vehicle) that is due in the next 6 months the Council will allow you to take the opportunity to pay over a 12 month period. This will be 12 monthly direct debits and a mandate must be completed before the licence is issued. Failure to pay an instalment will result in the licence being suspended
- For any renewal (driver or vehicle) that is due in the next 6 months the Council will allow you to take the opportunity to defer the application and the renewal application will be honoured at a later date. Provided that all requirements are met for licensing then the application will be charged as a renewal. If this is a vehicle, it must be for the same vehicle registration number. Also, the 15 year upper age limit will still apply and vehicles will not be relicensed that have met this age limit
These arrangements will not be a permanent arrangement and is for the duration of 6 months. This will be reviewed in the future and may be extended if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.
All of our reception areas are now closed. If you have an application to make please either post this to us (we are receiving post once a week) or email everything to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to accept photographs of documents but please make sure that these are legible before sending. Payments can be made by calling the Council on (01285) 623000.
Housing service needs help!
The Council is looking to work with licensed taxi/private hire drivers to assist with transporting our homeless client’s to emergency accommodation. We are particularly looking for companies who have licensed minibuses or 6 seater vehicles and/or are willing to take bookings after hours. If you are interested, please can you email email@example.com with your contact details.
The NHS are looking for volunteers to help transport patients and to help move vital equipment. If you are interested please go to: https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs