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Guidance

Coronavirus guidance for taxi and private hire drivers

Last updated: April 22 15.30

The following temporary measures will apply until further notice.

Can I continue to work as a taxi driver?

Taxis and private hire vehicle can continue to work.  However, the government’s advice is clear: people should stay at home if possible. The only reasons people should leave home are set out in the government Stay at home guidance.

Am I a critical worker?

Taxi and private hire drivers are not generally considered to be 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.

Health and safety precautions

You have a responsibility under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, to the best of your ability, that your vehicle is safe, both mechanically and environmentally.

Ideally your vehicle should be disinfected after every hiring, but this may not be practically possible. However, it is possible to ensure that some form of cleaning of the obvious contact areas, such as door handles, seat belt buckles, or other hard surfaces, is carried out.

Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly using standard cleaning products.

Can I refuse a fare if the passenger is showing obvious symptoms of coronavirus?

Yes. You are entitled to refuse a hiring where you have a reasonable excuse, and refusal to take someone displaying obvious symptoms of the virus could be considered reasonable. However, you should not make such decisions based on assumptions or crude stereotyping.

Remember you are responsible for the health and safety of yourself and others who may choose to use your services, including future customers.

Surrendering a licence or changing insurance

If I surrender my Driver/Vehicle licence(s) will I get a refund?

The Council do not issue refunds for licences once granted.

I’m currently not working. Can I surrender my vehicle licence and save money by cancelling my insurance and/or insure it for private purposes only?

Surrendering your licence will mean that it ceases to have effect, and therefore when you want to resume work you will have to apply for a new licence with all the requirements that involves.

You are not obliged to use your licence, therefore you may simply choose to take your vehicle off the road whilst the current emergency restrictions are in place. There is no need to advise the Council of this.

Should you choose to take your vehicle off the road, and cancel your existing insurance, then you must give notice to the Council of this by means of an email detailing the plate number, the date and time the vehicle was taken off the road, the date your insurance was cancelled, whether you intend using the vehicle for domestic purposes, and attach a copy of the insurance cover for domestic purposes if appropriate.

Once that notification has been given, and if you have provided proof of domestic insurance, then you will be granted a temporary relaxation of the requirements to display plates/roof box in order that these may be removed from the vehicle so it no longer looks like a ‘taxi’.  However please be warned that although the vehicle is no longer ‘working’ it may still only be driven by a dual licence holder as it remains a licensed vehicle.

Once you decide to resume working then you must notify the Council of that fact by email giving detail of your plate number, the date and time you intend to resume working, confirmation that you have re-instated plates/roof-box, and produce a valid certificate of insurance to cover hackney/private hire use.

You are strongly advised to speak with your insurance company before taking this course of action as it may have some bearing on your future premiums, for example loss of no claims.

If, having given notice of your intention to take the vehicle off the road, you are found to be using/have used the vehicle for work purposes before notifying the Council you are resuming work, and have supplied a notice to that effect as above, then you can expect your vehicle licence and dual driver's licence to be revoked immediately and you will be liable to prosecution.

Licence renewals and inspections

My vehicle licence is due for renewal.

Please follow the normal procedure for renewing your licence.

My vehicle is due a Mechanical inspection. What happens if all the MOT garages are closed?

MOT garages are currently permitted to continue trading, therefore you should be able to arrange for a Mechanical inspection. Should it be the case that all MOT garages are closed, then the requirement for a Mechanical will be temporarily suspended.

I have received a letter inviting me to renew my Driver’s Licence.  How do I do this during these current restriction?

  • Complete the application form and DVLA mandate in full and send by post with a cheque or postal order.  If you wish to pay by card please request this in writing.
  • If a medical declaration form is enclosed with your renewal documents, this must be completed in full and included with your application.
  • If a DBS declaration form is enclosed with your renewal documents this must be completed in full and included with your application.
  • For those signed up to the DBS online checking process and a DBS declaration form is enclosed with your renewal documents a copy of your current disclosure should be included in the bundle.
In all cases no application will be validated until all documents/ payments have been received, and all documents are properly completed and clearly readable so check them before you send them.

Where application for DBS enhanced disclosure has been made, and the production of the disclosure certificate by the disclosure and barring service is delayed, then the licence will be renewed subject to the licence holder producing a satisfactory disclosure certificate to the Council within six months of the licence being issued.

Nothing in the above shall exempt the driver from the requirement to inform the Council of their arrest/conviction/penalties in line with the terms and conditions of your DD licence as set out in the Councils handbook.

New applications

Applications for new driver’s licences will not be processed at the present time.

The Licensing team can be contacted by email licensing@horsham.gov.uk for any queries or booking vehicle inspections.