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

The Government has said that it "expects and recommends that face coverings are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, such as public transport, when mixing with people you don't normally meet."

Following the Government's announcement, we expect and recommend that taxi and private hire drivers and passengers continue to wear face coverings, at all times, when in taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt. 

We are strongly encouraging PHV operators and taxi booking platforms to communicate TfL guidance on face coverings to passengers as part of the booking process, to support drivers and to ensure the safety and comfort of both drivers and passengers. 

Guidance is provided below to assist licensees in instances where a passenger is not wearing a face covering.

 

Guidance for managing a passenger not wearing a face covering

On 19 July, the legal requirement for passengers travelling in taxis or PHVs to wear a face covering, unless exempt, will be removed. Licensees should remove any signage from their vehicles that refer to face coverings as a legal requirement or a prosecutable offence.

However, TfL expects and recommends that passengers continue to wear face coverings, at all times, when in a taxi or PHV. 

Drivers must assess the risk to their own safety and can request that a passenger wear a face covering while in the vehicle. A driver also has the discretion to refuse to carry a passenger if they refuse to wear a face covering without good reason. 

The following exemptions should continue to be applied:

  • children under the age of 11
  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • if someone is speaking or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate

 

What happens if a passenger isn't wearing a face covering when they get in the taxi/PHV?

In these circumstances please explain that TfL expects and recommends that passengers are required to wear face coverings when travelling in a taxi or PHV. This measure is for their safety.

Can a taxi or PHV driver refuse to undertake a job if a passenger refuses to wear a face covering?

In these circumstances, drivers should request that a passenger wears a face covering while in the vehicle and can refuse to carry a passenger if they do not wear a face covering, unless they are exempt. 

What if the passenger gets in the vehicle and then removes their face covering?

In these circumstances please explain that, in line with Government guidance, Transport for London expects and recommends that passengers are required to wear face coverings at all times when in a taxi or PHV unless exempt.

What if the passenger becomes aggressive?

If the passenger becomes aggressive or refuses to pay drivers should contact the police on 101 or 999 if that is considered justified because of the passenger's conduct. Please note that the driver cannot demand that the passenger remains in the vehicle until the police arrive.

Does the passenger have to provide any evidence to show that an exemption to wearing a face covering applies?

No, passengers do not have to provide any proof of an exemption.

Some passengers may not have a face covering exemption badge or card and we ask that drivers are mindful and respectful in such circumstances.

 

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.

Vaccination Hubs

There are large NHS vaccination centres at ExCel and Wembley.  Further details of these vaccination sites are provided below.  

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.

Staying safe

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. 

Cleaning products

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. 

Cleaning tips

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
  • Gearstick
  • Visors

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:

Cleaning services

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 - How your trading conditions affect your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

GOV.UK - How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

GOV.UK - Find coronavirus financial support for your business

GOV.UK - Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

GOV.UK - COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

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. And now, as restrictions begin to come to an end, these changes can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to adjust to things we have not done in a while.

For advice related specifically to managing the impact of the coronavirus on our mental health and wellbeing here:

NHS - 11 tips to cope with anxiety coming out of lockdown

Mental Health Foundation - From lockdown to relaxation of covid rules: tips on looking after your mental health

British Heart Foundation - Coming out of Lockdown: staying safe and managing anxiety

Mind - Managing feelings about lockdown easing

Please visit our dedicated health and wellbeing page for more information.

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.

Driver and vehicle licensing

Driver assessment centres (topographical testing and Knowledge of London)

Topographical testing for PHV drivers and Knowledge of London appearances for Taxi driver applicants will continue at our driver assessment centres.

At this time, centres will continue to operate with measures in place to reduce the risk to staff and candidates. Measures include the installation of social distancing markers and hand sanitiser units and the wearing of face coverings. Candidates will oonly be permitted to enter a TfL building if they are wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt. These measures will be kept under review.

NSL vehicle licensing inspection centres

At this time, to continue to protect staff and licensees, our vehicle inspection centres will continue to operate with appropriate safety measures in place, including: social distancing markers, hand sanitiser stations, personal protective equipment for staff, ventilation of vehicles and limits on contact between staff and customers. Customers must wear a face covering when attending our vehicle inspection centres unless exempt. These measures will be kept under review. 

The quickest and most efficient way to make a vehicle inspection inspection remains the online booking portal. The online portal allows you to book or reschedule an appointment at your own convenience, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

However we appreciate that some licensees may prefer to book their inspection over the phone so we are trialling phone lines remaining available over the weekend. Call 043 222 5555 to make a booking, 8am -5pm, seven days a week.

Vaccination Hubs 

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, Wembley

Taxi access:

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 vaccination centre, Stratford at Westfield Stratford City

Postcode: E20 1EJ

Taxi access: 

There is a rank at Montfichet Road and there is also a drop-off area on Westfield Avenue. 

Private hire access: 

There are drop-off and pick-up locations outside Meridian Square. 

There is also a drop-off area on Westfield Avenue. 

Business Design Centre, Islington

Taxis can use the rank on Berners Street. There is a taxi and private hire pick-up and drop-off at the Business Design Centre. 

Science Museum

Taxi access: 

Pick-up: There is a temporary rank on Imperial College Road in bays 216 -225 for taxi pick up. It is essential that the there is no overranking or engine idling and drivers must follow the guidance of the marshals. 

Please do not queue on Museum Lane

Drop-off: The drop-off will be Exhibition Road

NHS vaccination centre, The Francis Crick Institute 

Postcode: NW1 1AT

Taxi access: 

Drop-off: there are drop-off facilities available at the nearby taxi rank or on Midland Road or Brill Place. 

Pick-up: please use the taxi rank at St Pancras Station, Midland Road

Private hire access:

There are drop-off and pick-up locations on Midland Road or Brill Place

NHS vaccination centre, Hornsey Central Neighbourhood Health Centre

Postcode: N8 8JD

There is a designated drop-off outside the front door of the centre. There is a car park on-site that taxi and private hire drivers can use for free for up to two hours. 

Vehicles can also use the leisure centre next door, however there is a small charge for use. 

NHS vaccination centre - Willesden Centre for Health and Care

There is a taxi rank on Amersham Vale and passengers can also be dropped off and picked up from the single yellow line. 

NHS vaccination centre - Hawks Road Health Clinic, Kingston upon Thames

The drop-off and pick-up location is in the clinic car park to the rear. Please follow the guidance of the marshalls. 

NHS vaccination centre - Selhurst Park stadium

The drop-off and pick-up is anticipated to be in the car parks. We advise drivers to follow the guidance of the mashals. 

Stone X stadium (Saracens) 

Postcode: NW4 1RL

Taxi access: there is a dedicated taxi pick up and space for drop off at Gate A in the car parks

Private hire access: there is space for pick up and drop off at Gate A in the car parks. 

Waldron Health Centre

Drop-off and pick-up can be made on the road as there are single yellow lines. There is a taxi rank on Amersham Vale.

Harlequins RFC

The drop-off and pick-up will be in the car park.  Please follow the guidance of the marshals. 

Private Hire access:

Pick-up and drop-off will be on Exhibition Road. Please follow the guidance of the marshals. 

ETC Venues - Edgware Road (entrance on Forset St)

Taxi access:

Pick-up: There is a temporary rank on Stourcliffe Street in the pay by phone bays. Taxis must not rank on Edgware Road. 

Drop-off: Please use the bays by the Pickled Hen pub in George Street. Please be aware that George Street has an eastbound directional closure. 

Private hire access:

Pick-up: drivers can pick-up on Stourcliffe Street where space is available. 

Drop-off: Please use the bays by the Pickled Hen pub in George Street. Please be aware that George Street has an eastbound directional closure. 

Bromley Civic Centre 

There is free parking in place at the Civic centre, which is accessible via Stockwell Close. This can be used by both taxi and private hire drivers for pick-up and drop-off. 

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 tphlic@tfl.gov.uk.

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 tphlic@tfl.gov.uk with your driver licence number in the subject heading.

Other useful information and resources

GOV.UK - Coronavirus (COVID-19): taxis and PHVs

GOV.UK - Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators

GOV.UK - Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers