Coronavirus information for licensees
For general information about coronavirus and travelling safely in London, see our coronavirus pages.
Personal Protective Equipment - general information
Face coverings for passengers
Passengers must wear a face covering in a taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt. You can refuse to take a passenger if they are not wearing a face covering, and they could be fined.
Details of face covering exemption can be found on our face coverings webpage. Passengers do not have to provide proof that they are exempt.
Face coverings for licensees
Taxi and private hire drivers are expected to wear face coverings at all times when in their taxi or private hire vehicle.
This remains the case, unless you have a valid exemption.
This is an important safety measure to protect licensees, passengers and wider society.
Cleaning your licensed vehicle
After each journey, you should prepare your vehicle for the next passenger.
This video has been created specifically for taxi and private hire licensees to demonstrate how to effectively and efficiently clean your vehicle to keep you and your passengers safe.
Coronavirus is carried in the air by tiny droplets. Larger droplets can land on surfaces they touch. Smaller droplets can stay in the air for at least five minutes and often much longer if there is no ventilation.
Because of the risk of coronavirus being on surfaces in your vehicle after you've dropped off a passenger, there are also a variety of cleaning procedures that you should do before you pick up a new passenger. These include using your onboard sanitising product to wipe clean any surfaces that your customers may have touched while inside the vehicle.
Before you start, it is important that you find a safe environment to park your vehicle, where you can safely move around the outside of it without any risk to yourself or others.
Make sure you're wearing protective gloves and a face covering, and that you're in a well-ventilated area. Your anti-microbial product should be applied using a trigger spray bottle and fresh rags or paper cloth, that should be disposed of after use. They should be wrapped in a plastic bag and disposed of in general waste. Anti-microbial products kill or slow the spread of micro-organisms such as viruses and are important in helping to prevent the spread of harmful microbes.
There are multiple household cleaning products you can use to help stop the spread of coronavirus in your vehicle.
For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions (hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite), alcohol solutions with at least 60% alcohol, and certain anti-viral household disinfectants can be used effectively. Detergent, such as washing up liquid, is also a cost-effective cleaning product for combating coronavirus.
Disinfectants such as household cleaners, commonly available in all supermarkets, can also be used. If you are buying disinfectant, check the product information to make sure it says it combats enveloped viruses including influenza and human coronaviruses. The product should contain benzalkonium chloride, ideally with a concentration exceeding 0.1% by volume.
When using these products, it is recommended that gloves are used to protect from substances that can damage sensitive skin.
It is important to clean dirty surfaces before sanitisation, as the cleaning product will work better on a physically clean surface. Once this is complete, starting on the outside of your vehicle, begin by cleaning all door handles that have been used, and the handle for the boot, if it has been used.
Then clean the interior surfaces that the passenger may have come into contact with, including:
- Window controls
- Door handles
- Internal grab handles
- Seats, seatbelts and clips
- Light switches
- Payment terminal, if you have one
All taxis are fitted with a permanent partition and some private hire vehicles now have a temporary partition screen. If there is a partition in your vehicle, this should also be properly cleaned. Once clean, surfaces should be left undisturbed for 10 minutes to allow for proper disinfection.
End of shift
At the end of your shift, there are other areas that you should also clean in addition to the ones already mentioned - these are the surfaces that only you (the driver) are likely to have come into contact with. They are as follows:
- The steering wheel and related controls
- Your keys
- Any buttons (including radio and heating or A/C controls)
- Rear-view mirror adjuster
- Handbrake lever or button
When you have finished cleaning your vehicle, you should keep the doors or windows open for 5 minutes to make sure it's properly ventilated. If any virus is present in the air, the dillution effect will significantly reduce the viral count and therefore reduce the risk of spreading the infection. You should then wash your hands for a full 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
For more general information on cleaning practises and guidance, see the following:
You may also wish to consider using a company that provides professional cleaning services to have your vehicles cleaned.
If you decide you want to get your vehicle cleaned professionally, here are some questions that you may wish to consider or ask companies offering this service to help you decide which to choose:
- Ask the company if the cleaning products they use are effective against enveloped viruses
- Ask how long the cleaning products they use protect surfaces for and if they have evidence of this
- Confirm that the cleaning products are safe to use on all surfaces (eg leather, rubber seals, etc.)
- Once a vehicle has been cleaned ask how long you have to wait before you can drive it and it is safe for passengers to travel in it
- Ask what actions or cleaning products should or should not be used after a professional clean
Safely operating TPH services
It is important to wash or sanitise your hands if you come into contact with a passenger or their luggage. You should do this before and after contact.
You must continue to provide support to disabled passengers to safely enter and exit your vehicle and assist with their luggage and/or mobility equipment if required.
You should ask passengers to sit as far from you as possible. Passengers should not sit in the front seat of a private hire vehicle.
Open windows when carrying passengers and/or use the car's vents to bring in fresh air from outside. You should not use the recirculated air option for the car's ventilation system when carrying passengers.
Passengers should be reminded to wash or sanitise their hands after the journey. You should endeavour to take contactless payment wherever possible. If this is not possible, then you should wash your hands with soap and water or use sanitiser after handling money.
PHV operators and taxi apps should provide information on hygiene and relevant information to passengers via smartphone apps, text messages and any other relevant means of communication (email etc) before the journey commences.
Operators and taxi apps should also:
- encourage drivers to read the latest guidance from GOV.UK and keep up to date with the latest TPH notices and bulletins
- Display posters to remind drivers and passengers of good hygiene practices
- Encourage passengers to download and use the NHS COVID-19 track and trace app
- Remind passengers of social distancing rules when they make a booking make it clear that passengers must wear a face covering at all times when in the vehicle, unless they are exempt
- Remind passengers to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before entering the vehicle
Financial advice and support for licensees
There are a range of financial support packages set out by the government to help those who have been impacted by coronavirus.
Please see the links below for information and guidance
GOV.UK - Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you're self-employed and getting less work or no work
GOV.UK - Winter Grant scheme
The Money Advice Service - Coronavirus and your money
City Hall - Financial support during coronavirus
Citizens Advice - If you can't pay your bills because of coronavirus
Financial advice - frauds and scams
There has been a marked increase in scams and fraud related to coronavirus. We advise all our licensees to be mindful of this and take extra caution especially when providing personal details or bank account information.
There is some further information on this here:
National Trading Standards - Coronavirus fraud tips and advice
Action Fraud - report a case of fraud and support for victims
Mental health and wellbeing
We know that this is a challenging period and so we all need to be extra vigilant with our mental health and wellbeing. Some of the measures put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus may have had an impact on our usual support networks and so it is important to be aware of the help that is available.
For advice related specifically to managing the impact of the coronavirus on our mental health and wellbeing here:
Public Health England - guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing
Mental Health Foundation - Mental health tips during a pandemic
Temporary partition screens in private hire vehicles
Our role is to ensure the installation of any screens, and the materials used, comply with government and industry regulations and our requirements as the licensing authority.
For information on approved screens and the installation process, please see our policy page.
There are large NHS vaccination centres at ExCel and Wembley. Further details of these vaccination sites are available on the TfL Vaccinations centres page.
Anyone travelling to the centres must have an appointment.
We are working to ensure there are taxi and private hire drop-off and pick-up arrangements in place at vaccination centres.
NHS vaccination centre, Newham at The ExCel London
Drop-off - Western Gateway
Pick-up - there is a taxi rank at ExCel - Western Gateway (west side)
Taxi drivers are asked not to over-rank at Canning Town taxi rank (Silvertown Way) as this has a negative effect on the running of the network and may affect people travelling for vaccine appointments.
Private hire access:
There are drop-off and pick-up locations on Western Gateway - please follow the guidance of security and marshals.
NHS vaccination centre, Wembley
Drop-off - Rutherford Way
Pick-up - there is a taxi rank at Wembley Park Station, a 6-minute walk from the centre.
Private hire access:
Drop-off - Rutherford Way
Pick-up - Rutherford Way - there is limited space and vehicles must be pre-booked.
NHS COVID-19 app
All licensees are encouraged to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app.
The app ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
PHV operators and taxi booking apps and platforms should also encourage passengers to make use of the app in the booking process.
For more information about the app and how it works, visit the NHS Track and Trace guidance page.
Keeping up to date with the latest information
It is important to keep up to date with the latest information provided in our TPH Notices.
These can all be found on our Notices and consultations webpage. We use these notices to communicate key information about coronavirus that is relevant to the taxi and private hire trades.
Any new notice will be emailed to all licensees on our mailing list, we also use this to send our weekly driver email which also contains key information and the latest updates. If you are not already on our mailing list, you can sign up to it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage licensees to ensure the contact details (email and telephone) provided to TfL are up to date. This enables us to provide you with important regulatory information such as the aforementioned TPH Notices. If you need to let us know of any changes to your contact information or if you aren't already receiving our weekly email, please email email@example.com with your driver licence number in the subject heading.