The reopening of shops, bars and restaurants means taxi and minibus drivers can finally get back to business. While many drivers have turned to courier services during the past few months, as passengers begin to return to cabs, safety is vital as is the need to check you are still covered with the appropriate taxi or minibus insurance.
Here is a quick guide to staying safe and properly insured while carrying passengers.
It is almost impossible to practice social distancing while driving a taxi and private hire vehicles, meaning that your own health and safety, together with that of your passengers, is at increased risk. The following will help to keep you protected by creating a safe space for you and those you transport.
- Ensure passengers sit in the back seat to create as much distance as possible.
- Encourage passengers to handle their own bags and luggage to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus. Exceptions would of course be disabled or elderly passengers who may need assistance.
- During your shift, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser and have some freely available to your passengers when entering the cab.
- Reduce the handling of cash by accepting pre-payments or card payments.
- Consider wearing a mask. Evidence suggests it doesn’t protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but haven’t yet developed any symptoms. It can also help to lessen face touching, which should be avoided. It also recommended that passengers wear a face covering as social distancing is limited in a taxi or private hire vehicle.
- Install a Perspex screen between you and your passengers to offer further protection.
- Between fares, wipe down all surfaces including belts and door handles with disinfectant.
Remember that the safety of you and your family and community should be uppermost. If you are a Private hire operator, make it clear to your passengers when they book if you would like them to wear a face covering.
If you are a taxi driver who has concerns for the wellness of a passenger or regularly transports key workers or hospital patients and would prefer they wear a mask inside your vehicle, the Government advises making an assessment of risk as outlined in the transport operator guidance published on 12 May. Passengers should not use taxis or private hire vehicles if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or any of their household are self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms.
Covering Your Vehicle for Private Use
If for whatever reason, you have taken the decision not to continue taxi or minibus driving for the foreseeable future but would like to use your vehicle just for personal use, such as shopping or picking up essentials, you are able to temporarily transfer your insurance to social, domestic and pleasure (SDP) use.
SDP use is not recommended if you are still doing the odd fare as you will not be covered should you have an accident while working and you may become liable. So, if you are thinking of easing back into taxi driving, this probably is not the right move. You could also investigate the option of ‘laid up’ cover with your broker but you would not be able to use your vehicle at all, even for SDP reasons.
If you need any help in finding out the latest advice regarding your business sector or keeping yourself protected, your insurance broker will be able to answer some of those more challenging questions in this fast-changing situation.