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Coronavirus Updates (Taxis)

Last updated on 9 July 2020

How Licensing will work during the coronavirus pandemic

Contact Licensing

To contact Licensing via the phone while our office is closed, please call 01744 676770.

Alternatively, you can contact us via email: Taxi Licensing email

Please be aware the phones will be busy and we would advise you to email us.

This is because our telephone lines are very busy and we can respond to you much faster by email. Please note that we aim to answer your email on the same working day or the next available working day.

Operational Hours

From Monday 30 March 2020, our operational hours are 9am to 5pm. Please use our general licensing and taxi licensing emails first as we don't have as many phone lines as usual.

We can answer your queries much faster on email.

Don't forget to let us know about any problems you may be experiencing and we'll do our best to help.

Taxi Information

How to Access Help and Support

Information for those who are self-employed

Understanding how to claim Universal Credit

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Financial Support for Businesses

Guidance on social distancing

Taxi drivers warned to avoid loan sharks during coronavirus pandemic

Help and Support if Your Business is Affected by Coronavirus

Guidance from Guide Dogs for the Blind

Information for taxi drivers and operators from Guide Dogs for the Blind in relation to assisting passengers with visual impairments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Important Information for Those Using Taxis

You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. A taxi driver may be entitled to refuse to accept you if you are not wearing a face covering.

Keep a 2 metre distance from others during your journey, for example at taxi ranks. If you need to be near other people you should:

  • Avoid physical contact
  • Try to face away from other people
  • Keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible

Follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

You should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.

Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

Testing for COVID-19

It has now been established that taxi drivers can be classed as part of the transport network and, as such, can self-refer for a test should you experience any symptoms.

Here is the link to the government portal should you require this.

Please sign in using the link entitled 'essential workers' and, when you are asked, please select the box for 'transport'.

New Government Guidance for Taxi Operators, Drivers and Vehicle Proprietors

The government have recently released new guidance document to assist with your work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Re-Opening of the High Street and Phased Return from Lockdown

You will be aware of the government's statements with regard to these but for clarity we currently anticipate that:

  • Some children in reception, years 1 and 6, together with high school years 10 and 12, will return from Monday 1 June.
  • Most non-essential shops will begin to reopen from 14 June. This will include betting shops and arcades.
  • The date we are currently working to for pubs and other leisure establishments is from 4 July.

Public Information

All our licensed drivers are self employed and the operators are small businesses. Please support them in any way you can during this crisis. 

Our drivers are still out working and are taking the government advice into account while operating, including cleaning the interior of the vehicle and safe distancing on the number of passengers they carry. They can help you collect prescription medication or food, take you to a medical appointment etc. They are ready and waiting to support you.

Hackney Carriage Ranks

List of our current Hackney Carriage ranks

Please note that social distancing measures have been applied to the Hall Street and Ormskirk Street ranks, which are our busiest. Please queue in an orderly manner and observe the social distancing measures by keeping two metres apart.

To book a Hackney Carriage, please use the following contact numbers:

01744 608844 - C&R Travel

01744 778277 - Taxi Call

01744 644644 - Halo Taxis

01744 22222 - A1 Taxis

07930 251689 - Wilshaw Travel

All of our Hackney Carriages are wheelchair friendly and our drivers are trained to assist you.

Hackney Carriages are working in a different climate they may not be in the places you would usually find them. They may be stopping along the general road side but if the 'for hire' light is on, on the top of the vehicle they are available for hire.

Operator Bases

If you still have bases open, you should be following government guidance on social distancing. It is also advisable that all your surfaces are wiped down using anti-bacterial spray regularly throughout the day.

The following operators are still available for hire:

A to B Delta - 01744 451451 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Britannia Cars - 01744 20022 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Cable Cars - 01744 609060 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Critchley's Cars - 01744 819999

Clear Executive Travel - 01925 321666

Uber - 'Tap the App'

Delta Merseyside - 'Tap the App'

Lingholme Travel - 01744 607835

Receipt of Jobs

As its important that the drivers are protected as much as is possible during this crisis we recommend the following:

  • Before any booking is taken, check if any members of the household are self-isolating due to coronavirus being present in the home. If they are, as these people should not be leaving their homes then you are not expected to accept these jobs.
  • You may wish to limit the number of passengers and not allow any passenger to sit in the front seat.
  • Operators should make their drivers aware that you are checking the locations of jobs for the coronavirus, before they are added to systems.
  • No drivers are required to put themselves into situations which they feel would be harmful to them.
  • Vehicle cleanliness is also important. It is crucial that drivers are given advice to wipe down with anti-bacterial spray the interiors of their vehicle as often as possible, or at least after they have completed a shift. You will be aware that the virus can live on surfaces for long periods of time so this is important in keeping everyone safe.
  • If you operate a service which allows patrons to pay online or by card, this should be used in the first instance to limit the exposure to cash changing hands.
  • Drivers are allowed to wear gloves if they feel this is necessary. Please be aware that if you use disposable gloves then these should be changed and disposed of regularly.

You will be aware that we have already approved the use of face masks for drivers during this period.

Private Hire Vehicle Screens

The Local Government Association have now produced guidance for councils.

St Helens Licensing Authority have not approved the blanket use of such screens.

The main concerns are:

  • the integrity of the vehicle
  • the lack of a specification for each specific model of vehicle
  • no manufacturer approval
  • potential compromise of insurance
  • increase of surface area for the virus to live on
  • safeguarding issues due to lack of visibility

We are aware that some operators from across the region have already installed such features. Whilst- we are sympathetic to the need, the screens are not a proven method of protection from COVID19 and do not form part of existing conditions.

Should a driver or vehicle proprietor be considering installing such screens you should contact the Licensing Authority BEFORE ANY SCREEN IS INSTALLED.

The installation of such screens is an unauthorised or tested vehicle modification. We will however consider any application seriously which meets the following criteria.

  • Evidence that a product is compliant with government and industry regulations, for example the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations and relevant safety, UK and European Community (EC) legislation. 
  • Evidence that the product has been tested to relevant EU standards and approved by appropriate certification organisation.
  • Directions about how screens should be fitted, for example by a professional in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and specification. 
  • Specification of what screens should be constructed of, for example PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified) or poly-carbonate.
  • That screens do not impede the driver’s vision, movement, or communication with passengers, or the driver, passenger access or egress to the vehicle or vehicle safety devices. 
  • Confirmation that your insurer has authorised such installation insurers should be notified of any modifications made to the vehicle and that the policy has been updated.
  • Confirmation from the manufacturer that the installation does not compromise the integrity of the vehicle’s structure and safety features. 

Prior to installing a screen, drivers should be encouraged to contact the licensing authority to check that they will permit the installation and ensure that the screen and installation will meet their requirements.

Should the appropriate test be met, the Licensing Authority will consider the application however there will be no material change to conditions and the Licensing Authority will accept no liability for said PHV Screen.

Business/Self-employed Support

We are updating our taxi and business news feeds regularly with information on how to access grants and support for small business along with information on how to access self employment support. If you need any help with this or would like further information, then please email us and we will sort this for you.

Media Articles

Our media team are working regularly on articles both in the press and on social media around businesses that are still working or going above and beyond. We'd like to share some stories of what you have been doing to help generate some extra PR for you, so again please send these through to our email. With every post we make we are linking the page from the website displaying your operator numbers and those of the hackney trade to help support your business.

Discounts

We've noticed that some of you are offering discounts for NHS and/or keyworkers. We are about to launch a promotion around this so, to be sure we don't miss anyone out, can you email us if you are offering this new service. This applies to Private Hire Operators and Hackney Carriages.

Vulnerable Community Members

No doubt you are seeing first hand some of the most vulnerable members of society and as a council we are trying to support them as much as possible, if you could pass on the information. There is help available but we need to know where they are to get this to them.

Changes to taxi licensing for existing licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors

Taxi medicals

We are aware that GPs are not operating normal medical services during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are an existing licensed hackney carriage/private hire driver with us and are due a medical, please contact us urgently, if you have not already done so. 

In the event that existing drivers are unable to obtain a medical, provision is in place to permit you to continue to work providing that (a) you have a previous 'clear' medical history, and (b) you will be required to sign a declaration which confirms that you have no newly diagnosed medical conditions which could affect your ability to drive. These licences will be approved for a period of 12 months. 

DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) checks

The DBS service is operating as normal. If you are due for this check, please contact us as soon as possible so that we are able to organise this for you. During this pandemic, the DBS service have confirmed we are able to accept a scan of your documents, which you can send via email. This will limit the need for face to face appointments. 

We will post out the DBS application so that you are able to complete this and return it to us via the post box outside Wesley House reception. You may also post these back to us at our usual address.

Licence renewals

We are no longer carrying out face-to-face appointments as the council has decided to close its main reception areas. This means that licence renewals will be conducted by email or post.

We have also advised Merseyside Police as it is likely that some licensed vehicles will be displaying out-of-date plates for a period of time. You will not be penalised for this as long as you have the licence documents we have provided to you electronically or by post. All driver and operator licences are currently being renewed for a maximum of 12 months.

Covering the mouth and nose while driving

Permission has now been given so that drivers, operators or base staff who come into contact with the public can, if they wish, either wear a mask or a scarf during the coronavirus pandemic. The eyes should always remain uncovered and you should continue to wear your driver badge.

Taxi compliance tests

Our garage at Hardshaw Brook Depot has been designated for Council fleet vehicles only (Please do no attend any pre-booked compliance tests after 24th March 2020).

We are now accepting a standard MOT certificate from approved suppliers in order that you can continue to work/operate. The MOT certificate when presented to renew your vehicle licence must be no more than two weeks from its testing date. This is to ensure that all our vehicles are being tested as close as possible to the renewal date of the licence. If you present a certificate that is outside of this time frame then your licence may not be renewed.

Please note that vehicle licences will only be issued for a maximum period of six months if you provide us with a standard MOT certificate.

For those who have tests booked for anytime after 24th March 2020 test fees will be refunded in approximately 5 working days.

New and renewal vehicle applications

New and renewal vehicle applications will be required to send all vehicle renewals to our email (insurance, completed application form, etc). We will then return your licences to you by email. 

We will no longer issue physical plates during the coronavirus pandemic after Friday 20 March 2020. During this period, you will maintain the same vehicle licence number so that if the plate you are displaying has expired, the licence number trail will remain unchanged.

For those bringing new vehicles to licence, you will not be provided with a physical plate to display. You must have your licence information with you in your vehicle so that you can show this to a police or authorised officer, should you be stopped.

Contingency plans

We have further contingency plans in place should they be required, so there is no need to be concerned with regard to licence renewals.

New hackney carriage/private hire driver applications

As of Monday 6 April 2020 we will accept new hackney carriage/private hire driver applications as long as you're able to obtain a Group 2 Medical certificate from your GP or a GP that has access to your medical records.