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Taxis

Telephone Enquiries  023 8028 5505

Covid-19 and the taxis/private hire

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. This is also vital for drivers of licensed vehicles who should frequently wash their hands or use antibacterial gel during the day. Particular attention should be given to the cleanliness of the inside of the vehicle by drivers and it is advisable to use antibacterial wipes on the surfaces where passengers have touched. Drivers should also look at minimising the use of cash where possible.

NFDC Licensing Services update

This is the current situation with regard to the services that we are able to deliver under the current circumstances. However, if Government advice and regulation change, this may affect the services that we can provide.

As the offices are closed and the team are working remotely processing applications, all documents and licences will be accepted and issued via email.

New applications

In order to prioritise resource on the existing fleet of NFDC vehicles and drivers we are unable process new driver applications, new vehicle or insurance replacement vehicles at this time. Driver knowledge tests for new drivers are also suspended and applicants should not submit a request to book a test at this time.

New driver/vehicle applicants are advised not to contact Licensing Services at this time but submit new applications after current restrictions are lifted and our advice changes. However once fully operational we will be prioritising those licences that have have been, or will be issued during the next few weeks/months.


TO CLARIFY, PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT LICENSING SERVICES AT THIS TIME REGARDING NEW DRIVER OR NEW VEHICLE LICENCES.

THIS WEB PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WHEN WE ARE ABLE TO ACCEPT NEW LICENCE APPLICATIONS. PLEASE CHECK THIS INFORMATION REGULARLY.


Renewal drivers

Those drivers due to renew their driver licences will be contacted by Licensing Services as arrangements have been made to process applications and issue licences via email. At this time NFDC Driver licences will be issued for a period of 6 months.

All drivers aged 70 and over who require a medical or a driver assessment will have their driver licences suspended until the current situation and the Government withdraw the requirement for vulnerable persons to be isolated. The current Covid-19 situation, Government Policy and legislation states that those persons aged  70 and over should be self-isolating and all in this group must adhere to the Government mandate on Staying Safe to protect themselves and others. Therefore it is not appropriate at this time to suspend the medical requirement or driver assessment, as they should not be driving a licensed vehicle.

Licensed vehicles due a 6 monthly vehicle test

Those proprietors whose vehicles are due to be tested at the NFDC garage facility will be contacted via email prior to the due date of the test. Arrangements will be made for this test to be carried out at a later date. However proprietors and drivers still need to maintain vehicles and ensure they are safe for passengers.

Renewal vehicles (private hire and taxi)

Those proprietors whose vehicle licences are due to expire each month will be contacted at the start of the expiry month. Applicants will be advised on the process and which documents they will need to supply (all via email).

The vehicle must be continued to be taxed and insured as usual and a link to the current arrangements for MOTs is provided below as there have been some changes to reflect the Coronavirus situation.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

Further information may be found on the Gov.uk website below but please check regularly for updates.

As proprietors and drivers have a duty to ensure that the vehicle is clean, safe and suitable for passengers during this period, particular care and attention MUSTbe given to the maintenance of the vehicle. Any mechanical problems that are found, must be repaired to ensure the safety of passengers and if there is any doubt about the safety of the vehicle it must not be used to convey passengers. Vehicles are licensed with this in mind and this must be considered whenever this licensed vehicle is used.

Renewed driver and vehicle licences will appear on the registers provided on our website.

Any urgent queries should be emailed to licensing@nfdc.gov.uk.

Please do not post any original documents into the NFDC offices at Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst or any other outlying offices. As a temporary measure we will accept photocopies of original documents or if you are emailing us an application, scanned copies.

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Advice for licensed drivers

Coronavirus (Covid -19) updates for taxi operators and drivers

It is important to take advice and guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and Government websites and not from social media. In line with the advice from Public Health England, New Forest District Council is providing the following guidance to licensed drivers to help prevent the transmission of Coronavirus. Drivers should follow these simple and sensible steps at all times:

  • Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes
     
  • Dispose of used tissues in the bin as soon as possible
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (you can keep a bottle of water and a bar of soap in your vehicle) or use a sanitizer gel - do this for at least 20 seconds. Sanitizer gel should be a minimum 60% alcohol

  • Clean surfaces regularly with sanitising wipes or spray
     
  • Wash hands regularly for 20 seconds in accordance with NHS guidelines
     
  • Regularly clean card payment devices, seatbelt buckles, door handles and other surfaces that customers may touch between each passenger journey
  • Where a vehicle is shared, regularly clean the steering wheels, handbrake, door handles, with normal cleaning products. (At the beginning, middle and end of a shift as a minimum)

  • Where possible, ask all passengers to sit in the back of your vehicle

  • Use the contactless payment method wherever possible and avoid use of cash

  • Maintain a record of passengers, in case of tracking and tracing of Covid cases is required

  • Clear explanation by the driver as to what is expected from customers with regard to hygiene and social distancing when entering the vehicle, for the safety of the driver and the passenger

  • Use of larger vehicles for passengers ie mini-buses which would allow more distance between passenger and driver

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible to continue to save lives and protect the 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.

Drivers aged 70 and older

If a person is aged 70 or over or has an underlying health condition, they have a higher risk should they contact coronavirus. Clear instruction has been issued by the Government about staying at home and taking precautions, which should be followed to protect themselves and others. These clinically vulnerable people should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded.

However, there are licensed drivers who may that fall into this category and they must think very carefully before putting themselves at risk through driving passengers in their vehicle. Precautions may be taken but there is no guarantee that an older driver will not catch the virus from a passenger.

Use of face coverings

Increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet. However it is not mandatory or a requirement by this Council.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

It is important to use face-coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Partition screen in vehicles

Whether a driver safety partition screen should be installed in a vehicle is a matter for vehicle owners, drivers and/or operators to consider.

 

Due to the wide variety of vehicles licensed by NFDC and the different types of driver safety partition screens available, it is not possible to offer specific purchase or installation advice in respect of these devices. However, any screen installed should meet the NFDC guidelines, available from Licensing Services and the agreement of the vehicle's insurers should be obtained.

Licensing Services must be contacted in the first instance prior to the fitting of the screen to enable the Licensing Authority to approve the installation. This may include information from the manufacturer.

The vehicle will then be inspected following installation and the proprietor of the vehicle must sign a declaration providing details of the screen, manufacturer and date of installation.

 

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Any car or small minibus that is used to carry 8 or less passengers for hire or reward is required by LAW to be licensed by the Council. There are two types of vehicles available for hire by the public that are licensed by the Council. The two types of vehicles are similar, in that they both transport members of the public to a specific destination upon request, in exchange for payment of a fare.

Hackney Carriage Vehicles which are available for hire at a taxi rank and ply for hire in the street. These vehicles are identifiable by a compulsory condition to carry an illuminated roof sign and display a yellow council licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Private Hire Vehicles which must be pre-booked by telephone or in person will only display a white council licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.

The fares for hackney carriages are set by the Council and are displayed on a taximeter fitted in the vehicle. The fare shown is the maximum that can be charged for the journey undertaken. If the journey takes the vehicle outside the council district then a different fare may be agreed before the journey begins. Fares for private hire vehicles should be agreed with the private hire operator before starting a journey.

A taxi (hackney carriage or private hire vehicle) can only be driven by persons who are also licensed by the same council to drive these vehicles. These persons are identifiable by the display of a valid taxi driver identification badge.

New Forest District Council publishes a list of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles. It is advisable to discuss your specific requirements with either the hackney carriage proprietor or private hire operator when making the booking for your journey.

New Forest District Council has produced a adobe icon Policy [171kb] for taxi licensing. This explains what the Council will take into account when considering applications and compliance thereafter.

Updated: 13 May 2020
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