Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, taxi and private-hire drivers, have provided an essential service transporting NHS staff, key workers, patients and the vulnerable.
As life starts to return to normal, and fares begin to pick up, at Patons we wanted to do all we could to keep you protected.
So, following the government’s latest guidelines, here are Patons’ top tips for safer taxi travel:
Always wear a face covering
Because a taxi is an enclosed environment, the government recommends both drivers and passengers wear a face covering at all times. You may be entitled to refuse a passenger if they do not wear one.
It is important though that passengers can still identify you as a legitimate driver. So, please be prepared to remove your face covering so they can see your identity matches with your displayed licence badge.
Keep customer numbers to a minimum
The number of customers travelling in your cab on any one journey, should be kept to a minimum and be from the same household. Before you take a fare, ask if they, or anyone in their household has had symptoms in the last 14 days.
Customers should also be asked to sit in the back and face away from you, the air conditioning should be switched off, and windows kept open to help with ventilation.
You should also avoid cash payments and take card payments wherever possible.
Keep your distance when handling luggage or shopping bags
If a customer has any luggage or shopping bags, ask if they are able to put them in the boot themselves. You should pop the boot open from inside of your cab, if they are. The customer should put their items in and close the boot.
If you need to help a customer, you should keep your distance where possible. Ask them to leave their bags at the back of your taxi and then step away so you can load them in.
When handling any item, it is advised that drivers wear disposable gloves and either wash or sanitise their hands before and afterwards.
Keep your taxi clean at all times
After every customer, you should clean your taxi thoroughly using wipes or disinfectant spray focussing on the surfaces that are likely to have been touched, such as door handles and seat belt clips.
You should also regularly clean the areas you touch, and if you share your cab with another driver, make sure to do this thoroughly at the start and end of each shift. Store any personal waste, such as tissues and cleaning wipes in disposable rubbish bags and dispose of it in accordance with government guidelines straightaway.
Stay safe when back at base
Even when back at your operator’s base, you should keep your distance from other drivers wherever possible. It is also good practice to display posters in the booking office relating to hand hygiene and social distancing.
If your base is open for customers to walk in and make bookings, fitting Perspex screens to reduce the risk from face-to-face contact is advised. Also, the number of people allowed in at the same time should be limited, or markers provided on the floor, to allow people to stand, queue and socially distance.
Please remember if you believe someone displaying Coronavirus symptoms or a confirmed case has travelled in your taxi, then the vehicle should be decontaminated thoroughly. If this isn’t possible the vehicle needs to be left parked up and not used for a minimum of 72 hours.
Stay safe and plan ahead with Patons.