Taxis and private hire COVID-19 updates for taxi and Private Hire licensing

COVID-19 - Safety screens in private hire vehicles - May 2020

We currently have a policy for the installation of safety screens in private hire vehicles:

The current policy only allows for the fitting of screens where evidence can be provided of testing to the relevant EU standard and approval by MIRA or other comparable independent product engineering company.

We are aware new screen apparatus is being sold in response to the COVID-19 situation. However there is a lack of information about safety testing or certification (both practically and in relation to transmission of the virus) to allow us to endorse their use, and there is currently no government guidance on the subject.

We recognise that these are unique times and we are taking a realistic approach to enforcement of the current policy. The decision to install a safety screen during the current pandemic will be a matter for vehicle owners, drivers and operators to consider.

We will not accept liability in circumstances in which a screen causes injury to a passenger or driver.

We ask that the following guidance is considered if you are to continue operating or driving a private hire vehicle and wish to install a screen/shield.

The screen/shield should:

  • Not interfere with or compromise any operating or safety features in the vehicle (including airbags, handbrake, gearstick ) or the vehicle type approval
  • Not be made of materials that will increase the fire risk in the vehicle
  • Be transparent enough so as not to interfere with the safe use of the vehicle, and to enable the driver and passengers to see each other; and remain clear of scratches, clouding or stickers which would impede the drivers or passengers’ visibility.
  • Be adequately and safely secured and not interfere with the safe access and egress of the driver or passengers or become easily detached during normal use.  
  • Be adequately disinfected between bookings and at the start and end of the working day

Owners/Drivers/Operators should:

  • Inform insurers about the intention to fit such a device and ensure their insurance will not be invalidated as a result
  • Fit/install screens at your own responsibility and in accordance with the manufacturers specifications and recommendations
  • Ensure the device/apparatus is removed prior to the attendance for a vehicle compliance test
  • Understand that this is a temporary measure and we reserve the right to require their removal with reasonable notice       
  • Be aware depending on the type fitted (full front/back partition or driver only) the front passenger seat in the vehicle may be unusable in which case the maximum number of passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry will be affected

If a compliance officer has any concerns about the use of a partition screen in a licensed vehicle, they will speak to the owner and may require the removal of the device, they will explain their reasons in writing.

We would like to remind you that we can't make or stop Private Hire drivers working during this crisis. We recognise some drivers are still working and we want to provide as much guidance as possible in these circumstances.

Advice on Sanitisation and Face Coverings

Those who are working have a responsibility to take all possible precautions to keep themselves and their vehicles as safe and sanitised to help stop the spread of the virus. We advise you to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces using cleaning products that are touched regularly i.e. door handles, seat belts and buckles and other obvious hard surfaces touched by a passenger, including areas that may have been infected following a passenger coughing or sneezing.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing but are advisable when in an enclosed space and where there is difficulty socially distancing.

Further government guidance is available:

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