COVID-19 taxi guidance

On this page you will find basic guidance for those operating taxis or self-employed taxi drivers during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes both Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licence holders.

This page was last updated as of information on 5 January 2021.

It is important to take guidance from Public Health England (PHE), GOV.UK, and other Government websites and not from social media.

The Department for Transport (DfT) have published trade specific guidance as well as guides for both operators and passengers on travelling safely during the outbreak. It is important you follow this guidance. These documents are updated when restrictions change.

GOV.UK guidance for taxis

Operators guide

Passengers guide

National and local restrictions

From 5 January 2021 people should stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

Taxi drivers can continue to work but people are only allowed to leave their home for limited permitted reasons. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.

Passengers travelling for permitted reason, should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where they live. They may travel further for legally permitted reason, such as for work.

Passengers must not share a vehicle journey with someone from outside of their household or support bubble unless the journey is undertaken for an exempt reason.

General advice

We have produced this basic summary of advice for taxi operators and drivers. Full guidance can be found on GOV.UK.

COVID-19 risk assessment

You (or your employer) must undertake a  COVID-19 risk assessment before working. You should think about how you work and ways you can protect yourself and your passengers.

Hygiene and safety advice

  • Before a journey ask your passengers if they or anyone in their household have had coronavirus symptoms (new, continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to smell or taste) or have had a positive test in the last ten days. You should politely refuse service if they have and remind them to adhere to the government social distancing guidelines.
  • Before the journey clearly explain to passengers what is expected from them with regards to hygiene and social distancing.
  •  Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds in accordance with NHS guidelines. You can keep a bottle of water and a bar of soap in your vehicle or use a sanitiser gel. Sanitiser gel should be a minimum 60% alcohol.
  • You should wash or sanitise your hands if you come into contact with a passenger or their luggage. You should do this before and after contact.
  • Carry disposable tissues with you to catch coughs and sneezes. Dispose of in a plastic carrier after use. Have these available for customers too. Dispose of as soon as possible but a least daily.
  • Avoid the use of cash instead use a contactless payment method if possible.
  • Open windows to provide ventilation and/or use the car's vents to bring in fresh air. You should not use the recirculated air option.
  • Consider using larger vehicles for passengers such as minibuses, to allow more space.
  • If you are considering installing a safety partition screen you must inform us in the first instance.

Cleaning your vehicle

  • Before starting work and between each passenger journey clean surfaces regularly with sanitising wipes or spray including card payment devices, seatbelt buckles, door handles and other surfaces that customers may touch.
  • Open doors and/or windows to ventilate the car for at least 5 minutes between passengers.
  • Clean your driver door, steering wheel, gear stick, switches and other areas you touch on a regular basis
  • Where a vehicle is shared, regularly clean the steering wheels, handbrake, door handles. At the beginning, middle and end of a shift as a minimum.

Social distancing

  • You should only accept passengers from the same household or support bubble in the same journey, up to the maximum you are licensed to carry.
  • Where possible, ask all passengers to sit in the back of your vehicle, and if they are travelling alone then the left-hand side back seat.
  • Ask passengers with luggage to put in the boot themselves. Only assist if they are struggling or require assistance due to a disability. You should ask passengers to leave the luggage next to the boot and move away. You should sanitise your hands before and after handling the luggage.
  • You must continue to provide support to disabled passengers to safely enter and exit your vehicle.

Face coverings

From 23 September 2020 it is the law for passengers to wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. You are entitled to refuse to accept a customer not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt.

Please be mindful of people who don't have to wear a face covering because of age, health or disability reasons. You still have a responsibility to passengers under the Equality Act 2010.

Private hire operators should advise customers when booking of the need to wear a face covering. Drivers of hackney carriages also need to explain this to their customers.

Public health advice is that taxi and private hire vehicle drivers wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained. It is recognised that there will be circumstances when you cannot wear a face covering, or, a face covering may not be worn based on your risk assessment.

If you wear a face covering then you must remove it if a passenger requests to make sure your identity matches that on your licence badge.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household must isolate at home. Wearing a face covering does not change this.

It is important to use face-coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. The Department of Health and Social Care have produced guidance on face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.

NHS Test and Trace

It is advised that NHS Test and Trace information is collected at the time of booking by Private Hire Operators. Hackney drivers should maintain a record of customers as well.

Data collected should be handled in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

You can view the NHS Test and Trace Guidance for more information.

Business support

To see if your business may be entitled to any support you can visit our business pages and use the GOV.UK coronavirus business support finder tool .

Sign up to the Business Support eNewsletter.

Contact us

You can contact us if you have further questions on the guidance on this page.


Phone: 023 8028 5505

Licensing Services
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

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