Coronavirus Update 27 – England’s move to Plan B and Consolidation

This Notice follows the Government’s announcement that England has moved to
Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.


Government guidance is regularly updated and you can keep up-to-date with the
latest information here. We will continue to issue TPH Notices to provide updates to
licensees if significant changes occur.


This Notice also consolidates relevant information from recent TPH Notices and
supersedes TPH Notice 18/21 (Coronavirus Update 26), TPH Notice 15/21
(Coronavirus Update 25) and TPH Notice 10/21 (Coronavirus Update 23 –
consolidation).


Plan B
The Government has confirmed that England has moved to Plan B in response to
the risks of the Omicron variant. This means:
• Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings.
• Office workers who can work from home should do so.
• Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors
aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the
last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
For more information on Plan B restrictions, and detailed information on what you
can and can’t do please visit the gov.uk website.


COVID-19 vaccination
The NHS says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and they give you the best protection against COVID-19.
Alongside the NHS, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling on any Londoner who has not yet been vaccinated, or who is eligible to receive the booster jab but has not yet taken it up, to do so as soon as possible.
You can book your vaccination online.


COVID-19 Booster Vaccination
The Prime Minister has encouraged those who have not yet done so, to arrange their COVID-19 booster vaccination.
The NHS advises a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose helps improve the protection you have from your first two doses of the vaccine. It helps give you longer-term
protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.


Further information on COVID-19 booster vaccinations and how to book your booster appointment can be found on the NHS website.


Consolidated information from previous Notices
This Notice contains information in three sections: Section 1 – All licensees; Section 2 – Vehicle licensing; and Section 3 – Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operators and taxi booking companies.
Section 1 – All licensees
Wear a face covering


Face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places and continue to be required on public transport and in taxis and private hire vehicles. See a full list of places where you must wear a face covering.
Therefore, all passengers travelling in taxis and PHVs are legally required –
pursuant to Government regulations – to wear a face covering at all times
when in the taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt from doing so.


Transport for London continues to expect taxi and PHV drivers to wear a face covering at all times when in a licensed vehicle, unless they are exempt from doing so. This is to keep both drivers and passengers safe.
Guidance for managing a passenger not wearing a face covering


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 lipreading, 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 passengers are required to wear face coverings when travelling in a taxi or PHV, unless they are exempt. 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 passengers are required to wear a face covering, unless they are 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.

Personal hygiene
The Government is clear that COVID-19 remains a serious health risk and that you
should stay cautious to help protect yourself and others.


Simple steps can be taken to keep safe:
•Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
•You must wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and when in a
taxi or private hire vehicle
•Get tested and self-isolate if required
•If you haven’t already, get vaccinated or get a booster vaccination
Licensees are expected to continue to take the following personal hygiene
precautions as a minimum:
•Wash or use hand sanitiser on your hands regularly
•Keep a bottle of hand sanitising gel in your vehicle. It is recommended this bea minimum 60 per cent alcohol
•Wash your hands or use sanitising gel after handling cash
•Do not touch your face
•Drivers should avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilationsystem when carrying passengers and instead use the car’s vents to bring infresh air from outside or lower the vehicle’s windows
•If conditions allow, the car windows should be kept open
•Passengers should be encouraged to use contactless payment or to payonline wherever possible
Social distancing
There is evidence that the risk of transmission of Coronavirus increases by 2 to 10 times at a distance of 1 metre, compared to 2 metres. Additional mitigation measures (such as face coverings) can also reduce the risk further.

Therefore, our guidance to taxi and PHV drivers is:
•To seat passengers as far away from the driver as possible, ideally in the rearpassenger-side seat
•Passengers should not sit in the front passenger seat in PHVs
•Licensees should ask passengers to handle their own personal bags andbelongings during pick-up and drop-off
•Be aware of the surfaces you or others touch
•Drivers should maintain distance from people wherever possible, including attaxi ranks and other areas where drivers and/or passengers may congregate
Medical assessments
We recognise that there may continue to be delays in obtaining medical information from GPs and specialist medical practitioners due to the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to take a pragmatic approach wherever possible.
We are assessing the need to provide a medical assessment on a case-by-case basis, closely assessing the individual circumstances of each driver.


If you are due to provide a medical assessment and are unable to secure an appointment, please contact us at TPHLicensing@tfl.gov.uk. We will assess your individual circumstances and advise on the next steps.
Vehicle Hygiene


We would like to remind licensees of our short, informative video that provides
guidance on how to clean licensed vehicles after each passenger has been safely
dropped off and at the end of your shift.


The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/V3ogeV8ucvE

All licensed taxi and private hire drivers should familiarise themselves with the video
and follow the steps to ensure the highest possible safety standards are being met.
Contacting TPH Licensing

For driver and operator licensing questions please see the following list of email addresses for each type of enquiry.
Please include your application or licence number in the subject field of your email.


Please only use the relevant email address below and refrain from sending emails to multiple email addresses. This will help us to resolve your enquiry as quickly as possible.


•Medical information – If you have been asked to provide any medicalinformation please contact TPHLicensing@tfl.gov.uk


•Driver renewal application enquiries – To ask a question about your taxi orprivate hire driver renewal application, please contactTPHRenewals@tfl.gov.uk


•Online driver renewal assistance – For help with your online driver renewalapplication, please contact TPHOnlineEnquiries@tfl.gov.uk. Please include atelephone number within your email as it may be necessary for one of ourteam to call you to resolve your issue


•Change of address for drivers – To inform us of your address change,please contact TPHAddress@tfl.gov.uk. Please allow 10 working days for thereceipt of your updated licence
•To notify us about any change in personal circumstances, includingmedical health, convictions, cautions or charges, please contactTPHLicensing@tfl.gov.uk
•Private hire operator queries – To ask a question about your application orany other aspect of being a licensed operator, please contactTPHOperators@tfl.gov.uk

•To contact us about any other type of enquiry related to licensing, pleasecontact TPHLicensing@tfl.gov.uk
•For vehicle licensing queries, please contactTPHenquiries@nslservices.co.uk


Contact details
All licensees are required to ensure their contact details (postal address, email and telephone) provided to TfL are up to date. This enables us to provide you with important regulatory information.
We urge all TPH licensees to check we have the most up to date contact details.
Please email any updated contact details – with your licence number in the subject heading – to TPHLicensing@tfl.gov.uk.
Further Resources
There is further information regarding COVID-19, including support resources that cover mental health support and wellbeing support on the TPH Health and Wellbeing webpage and the TPH Coronavirus Information for Licensees webpage.


Section 2 – Vehicle licensing
NSL vehicle licensing inspection centres
Our vehicle licensing inspection centres continue to operate with appropriate safety measures in place.
The quickest and most efficient way to make a booking for a vehicle 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 prefer to book their inspection over the phone, so we are currently trialling phone lines remaining available over the weekend. Call 043 222 5555 to make a booking, 8am – 5pm, seven days a week.
Temporary screens in PHVs
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance on safety screens in PHVs and has added an updated risk assessment guidance for drivers considering installing a safety screen in their vehicle in its Coronavirus guidance for Taxis and PHVs.
Licensees who have already installed an approved temporary screen in their vehicle can continue to use it.
We have published a list of approved temporary screens here – that also confirms which vehicles the screens can be fitted in.


Temporary screen approval process
It is essential that any aftermarket equipment (e.g. temporary screen or partition) fitted in a licensed PHV meets appropriate safety standards and that only approved adaptations are made to vehicles. Any PHV drivers who wish to install a temporary screen in their vehicle need to follow the established process for seeking approval for temporary screens in PHVs, via industry leading automotive testing facilities at Millbrook and HORIBA MIRA.
Further information on temporary screens in PHVs can be found on our website: www.tfl.gov.uk/tph-policy.


Section 3 – Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operators and taxi booking companies

Face coverings
PHV operators and taxi booking platforms should communicate Government
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.
We recommend that PHV operators and taxi booking platforms continue to provide
this information to passengers as part of the booking process and via their other
communication channels. This will ensure that passengers are aware of the need
to wear a face covering (and any additional steps that are being taken to ensure they
are as safe as possible) before they enter the licensed vehicle.
Private hire operators and taxi booking platforms should support drivers in
using face coverings safely and provide communications advising them to:
•Wash or use hand sanitiser on their hands regularly
•Keep a bottle of hand sanitising gel in their vehicle. It is recommended this bea minimum 60 per cent alcohol
•Wash their hands or use sanitising gel after handling cash
•Do not touch their face
•Avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation system whencarrying passengers and instead use the car’s vents to bring in fresh air fromoutside or lower the vehicle’s windows
•If conditions allow, the car windows should be kept open
•Passengers should be encouraged to use contactless payment or to payonline wherever possible
Ridesharing


Any PHV operator that has previously offered, or intends to offer, ridesharing
services should continue to suspend these until further notice.
Please do stay safe and well.

Graham Robinson
General Manager
Taxi and Private Hire
Transport for London
16 December 2021

Visit our YouTube Channel at www.LCDC.TV

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