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Staying Safe When Using Taxis/Private Hire Vehicles

Coronavirus: Licensing - Taxis

Guidance for staff in the transport sector

The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers.


Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance

We are aware that the taxis and PHV trade are undertaking delivery work – please see the section on ‘Deliveries’ as well as ‘Transport businesses’. Measures contained in the section on ‘Use of private vehicles and car-pooling’ would apply to the taxi and private hire vehicle sector e.g. maintain good ventilation.


Insurance for undertaking deliveries

Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor insurance members have committed to support taxi and private hire drivers seeking alternative sources of income: licenced taxi or private hire drivers that had hire or reward insurance in place, as of 8 March, will not need to contact their insurer to extend their your existing cover while driving this vehicle to carry parcels, medical supplies, household goods, groceries or takeaway meals during the Covid-19 restrictions.

The ABI’s commitment will be in place until the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, or until 31 July 2020, whichever is sooner


Face masks

The UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance.


Assisting the trade

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information on the scheme is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme 

The above is perhaps particularly relevant to the taxi and PHV trade but it is part of the measures announced, e.g. changes to Universal Credit - more info is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

Licensing Committee Hearings

Local authorities in England have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing until 7th May 2021. The Council is finalising the arrangements but once confirmed we will notify all drivers who are due to be attending hearings. Full guidance and training will be given before any hearings take place.


East Staffordshire Borough Council licences two types of taxis to carry the public.

Hackney Carriage Vehicles

  • A licensed driver must wear their identification badge at all times.
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ are also known as ‘taxis’ or ‘cabs’ and display a ‘TAXI’ sign on the roof.
  • A ‘Hackney Carriage’ does not have to be pre-booked and can be flagged down off the street or park on a ‘taxi rank; (we call this ‘plying for hire’)
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ are fitted with meters which show the price of the fare. Drivers are not allowed to charge more than the shown fare at the end of the journey but can charge less if they choose to do so. They must by law put the meter on.
  • A ‘Hackney Carriage’ can be pre-booked through a Private Hire Operator who has a prior arrangement with the ‘Hackney Carriage’ driver to temporarily operate as a ‘Private Hire Vehicle’
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ will display a white plate at the rear of the vehicle, stating the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry. They also display a panel on both front doors, showing the Council’s logo

Private Hire Vehicles

  • A licensed driver must wear their identification badges at all times
  • A ‘Private Hire Vehicle’ can only be hired by a booking made through a licensed Private Hire Operator
  • The ‘fare’ of the journey must be agreed between the Private Hire Operator and the passenger when booking the journey.
  • A ‘Private Hire Vehicle’ cannot ply for hire, park on a taxi rank or be flagged down from the street. This invalidates their insurance policy.  Any person witnessing this should report it to the Enforcement Team.
  • Private Hire Vehicles’ licensed by East Staffordshire Borough Council display green plates at the front and rear of the vehicle, stating the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle can carry. They also display a panel on both front doors, showing the Council’s logo, details of the company and will state ‘advanced bookings only’.

If you are approached by someone in the street, offering you a lift, ignore them as this is classed as touting and is illegal.

A vehicle not displaying door panels, licence plates or the driver not wearing their badge, should not be used in case they are bogus, un-checked and un-insured.

Please report any concerns you have regarding an operator, vehicle or driver that you have used, or propose to use to Enforcement on 01283 508506