Taxi regulation and the environment

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Drivers and taxi operators should please read the below information regarding safety at this time.

Updated: 24 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Advice for drivers

Peterborough City Council is providing the following Government Guidance to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in the City, to help keep drivers and their customers’ safe and prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

We advise all licensees, including taxi and private hire drivers, to follow these simple and sensible precautionary steps at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.

The following provides information about how to keep you and your family safe at home and whilst at work and can be found on the Gov.uk website.

The key messages are:

Your health

  • If you have a recent or new continuous cough and/or high temperature however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 but if your symptoms worsen when you are staying at home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
  • If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram.
  • If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

Read more guidance for households with possible Coronavirus COVID-19 at Gov.uk

Social distancing

  • This means limiting the amount of contact with other people for example, if you do need to go out to food shop or for your work if you meet others ensure that you stay at least 2 metres away.

Vulnerable groups and COVID-19

  • Certain people are more likely to be affected very badly by the virus especially older people, those with an underlying health condition and pregnancy. It is particularly important that these people adopt the social distancing advice.

Read more guidance on social distancing on Gov.uk

Hand hygiene

  • Washing your hands more often than usual is advised for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitizer if that’s all you have at that time.

Reducing the spread of germs

  • To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.

Cleaning

  • Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Advice for Taxi and Private Hire vehicle drivers

The Government has not currently put any restrictions on these services.

However it is important that the measures recommended above are used to help protect drivers and their customer as they go about their work.

  • Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes
  • Dispose of used tissues in a bin as soon as possible – you could carry bin liners in your car for you and your customers. Double bag all used tissues
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, or if not possible use sanitiser gel, to kill germs
  • Take precautionary measures by cleaning surfaces regularly with routine cleaning materials or sanitising wipes or spray to get rid of germs. Wipe over seats and card payment devices. Licensees who share a taxi or private hire vehicle should regularly clean the steering wheel and instruments.  Where possible use card devices to avoid handling coins and notes
  • Older drivers or drivers who have underlying conditions such as heart disease or diabetes should if possible undertake other jobs to avoid unnecessary contact with other people as they are more likely to become very ill from COVID-19

We would expect all private hire operators to fully cooperate with any enquiries they may receive from Public Health England or any other relevant agencies.

Whilst the above advice is current at the time of writing, please regularly check the Public Health England website found above.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information for businesses

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy

Following the consultation which took place between 7 April and 2 June 2017, the licensing committee met on 6 July 2017 and properly considered all responses received and recommended that the amended draft policy be adopted by full council. The full council convened on 26 July 2017 and the draft policy, as amended was formally adopted.
  • Introduction of Group 2 medical assessments
  • Requirement to display required information (Part 1 and Part 2 notice)

The policy is now in effect, however, there will be a transitional period, during which the following arrangements will be implemented.

All other arrangements detailed within the policy are now in effect and licence holders are expected to adhere to its contents. During the transitional period officers will assist licencees with compliance on any of the new provisions.

Report an accident

If you are a taxi driver and need to report an accident then please click on the following link:

Conditions

Our taxi regulatory officers carry out various vehicle stop and checks per week. They also perform late night inspections to ensure compliance with licence conditions. Any conditions found not to be complied with, will be reported.

General driver conditions

  • obstruct authorised officers or police officers
  • fail to comply with a request from such an officer
  • use false addresses
  • fail to report accidents to the licensing section
  • fail to report their change of address, or the transfer of their plates.

Private hire conditions

  • illegally ply for hire, this will also invalidate the insurance
  • stand, wait or pull onto hackney carriage ranks
  • fail to wear their badge
  • have their two-way radio loose in the foot-well of their vehicle
  • drive without insurance.

Hackney carriage conditions

  • drive their cabs with their meters unsealed
  • drive uninsured
  • allow their vehicles to be driven by unlicensed drivers.

These offences carry maximum fines of between £400 and £5000 and in some instances will also include a minimum of 6 to 8 points on your licence.

Those drivers continually caught breaking the law or behaving in an unacceptable way will be reported to the Licensing Sub Committee who may suspend or revoke the drivers licence.

Rules of evidence

Our licensing enforcement team are like any other authorised enforcement agency and must comply with all rules of evidence and home office guidelines to ensure consistency and fairness.

In any case presented before a magistrate or crown court, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the offence charged was committed by the defendant. This means that in all cases our officers must ensure that they have followed up all reasonable lines of enquiry and that the matter has been processed efficiently and within strict guidelines and time limits.

Legislation

In order to ensure a reasonable chance of success the legislation must be used and adhered to.

Advice on taxi idling and the environment

Running your engine unnecessarily while your vehicle is stationary pollutes the environment and it's against the law on a public highway.

An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. These can effect the air quality of the surrounding environment and the air we breathe.

Vehicle idling is an offence against the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. The law states that it is an offence to idle your engine unnecessarily when stationary. If you fail to turn your engine off after being spoken to you, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20.

What you can do

  • You can do your bit by switching off the engine if it looks like you could be waiting for more than a minute or two. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they're restarted without pressing the accelerator so you won't waste lots of fuel switching the engine back on.
  • Turn off your engine when stationary, for example - on a road at a shop, school, taxi rank and stands, whilst unloading/loading or when parked outside your house.
  • Avoid idling whilst waiting in car parks, petrol stations, lay-bys, "set down" and "pickup points".