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        Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Face Coverings – updated 24 September 2020

        The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 states that all passengers of Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles must now wear a face covering. Children under the age of 11 and those who have age, health and a disability reason are exempt. For drivers of these vehicles a risk assessment should be in place and is good practice to wear a mask when passengers are in the vehicle.

        DRAFT Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy – update 21 July 2020

        The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way that many businesses can operate.

        The updated licensing policy we planned to introduce in April 2020 was designated for review following considerable feedback received from key stakeholders. As we return to business as usual, the review of the policy and engagement with stakeholders will continue. The updated draft and any further updates will be published here.

        Coronavirus (Covid-19) – updated 16 June 2020

        Taxis and private hire vehicles

        Advice to drivers is to ask your lone passengers to sit in the back left-hand seat and any others also in the back seat. 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 where possible use contactless payment methods.

        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 as soon as possible for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands with antibacterial gel.

        You may also wish to carry out your own risk assessment prior to carrying any passengers – the following link will assist with guidance  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

        Licensing Department

        The Licensing Department is operating business as usual, although it may take a little longer than normal to respond to emails and telephone messages.

        At present, visuals are not being conducted in the normal way.
        If you are wishing to licence a vehicle, a video/pictures of the vehicle must be uploaded and sent to licensing@thanet.gov.uk, these photos must be taken on the day you are sending them and must include all four sides and the interior. Once this is accepted, compliance paperwork will be sent to you via email.
        A check on the vehicle will be made at a later date.

        Application paperwork can be scanned and emailed to licensing@thanet.gov.uk. Please indicate what your enquiry is about in the subject line of the email. You can then make payment by bank transfer – the details are as follows:

        National Westminster Bank PLC

        Sort Code – 60 14 05

        Bank Account – 67834000

        Payee – Thanet District Council

        Your reference – your licence number ie LN/ or your plate number and whether HC or PH or your full name

        Driver applications, whether new or renewals, will need to be left in the post box directly outside the main Council offices. Please include original documents in order for us to verify identities. DBS application forms will be posted to applicants – please email licensing@thanet.gov.uk to make your request

        The Knowledge Test has been reinstated with strict social distancing guidelines – see the knowledge test page for dates.

        The Department for Transport has provided an update on the status of taxi & PH.

        Paul Elliott, DfT Policy Adviser, Buses & Taxis Division said in his communication to councils:

        “Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear – people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

        “Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

        “Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered 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. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”

        Drivers of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, hackney carriage and private hire vehicle proprietors and private hire operators, whether self-employed or employees, have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to both themselves and those who are likely to come into contact with their business (sections 2, 3 & 4).

        Therefore, the driver and proprietor of the vehicle both have a responsibility to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the vehicle is safe. Whilst that usually relates to mechanical safety, clearly environmental safety is also vital. They should already have a Health and Safety Policy in place. It may have been necessary to amend this to incorporate a risk assessment relating to the coronavirus which clearly survives on surfaces for a significant period of time.

        Ideally every vehicle should be disinfected after every hiring, but this is clearly not practically possible. However, it would be possible to ensure that some form of cleaning of obvious areas takes place – door handles, seat belts and buckles and any other obvious hard surface that may have been touched by a passenger. This would include areas that may have been infected following a passenger coughing or sneezing such as physical divisions between the front and rear of the vehicle, the rear of front seats and so on. The guidance from the Government is:

        “frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products”

        Beyond that there is a divergence between hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

        Up to date advice can be found on the NHS UK website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/


        Updated information 22 April 2020

        If at any time you need to return your private hire plate and close the licence please leave the plate and a covering letter in the post box directly outside the main Council offices in Margate. A refund of the plate deposit will be dealt with as soon as practicably possible. The same applies if you wish to return your private hire or hackney carriage driver badge.

        Updated DRAFT policy information

        23 March 2020 – Due to the current situation with Covid-19 it will not be possible to share an updated DRAFT policy as anticipated. It is our intention however to share it on this page as soon as possible.

        Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver application forms

        Application forms for new and renewal applications are available on this website.

        DBS forms and Privacy Statements can be obtain by emailing licensing@thanet.gov.uk and information regarding the Visitor Ambassador Training can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre.

        Changes to the Law regarding Wheelchair Users

        From 06 April 2017 taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged by law to:

        • transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
        • provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance
        • charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users

        The new rules will apply in England, Wales and Scotland affecting only vehicles that are designated as wheelchair accessible and will apply to both taxis and private hire vehicles. Taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra in a change to the law announced 07 February 2017 by the Transport Minister Andrew Jones.

        Licensed Drivers

        Don’t forget to bring your DBS certificate into the Gateway or email it to licensing@thanet.gov.uk as soon as you receive it in order for your licence to be updated and issued.

        We no longer receive copies direct.  If this is not done your licence could be suspended.

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