The following temporary measures will apply until further notice.
Please Note: *Any dates below may be subject to extension.
Q: Can I continue to work as a hackney/ private hire driver?
Taxis and private hire vehicle can continue to work. However the government’s advice is clear, people should stay at home if possible and the only reasons they should leave home are set out in the government guidance. (DFT 25th March 2020)
Q: Am I a Critical Worker?
Taxi and private hire drivers are not generally considered to be 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.
Q: Health and Safety
You have a responsibility under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, to the best of your ability, that your vehicle is safe, both mechanically and environmentally.
Ideally your vehicle should be disinfected after every hiring, but this may not be practically possible. However, it is possible to ensure that some form of cleaning of the obvious contact areas, such as door handles, seat belt buckles, or other hard surfaces. Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly using standard cleaning products.
Q: Do I or my passengers have to wear a face covering?
On 15th June it will become compulsory for those travelling on public transport to wear a face covering but it currently appears that the legislation may not extend to taxis and private hire vehicles. (This may be subject to change).
The Government has previously issued guidance in respect of face coverings in taxis, and common sense dictates it should extend to drivers too, unless there is a protective screen in place. The following are quotes from that guidance.
“You should wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms”.
“Some people may not be able to wear a face covering. For example, young children, people with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities makes it difficult for them to wear a face covering”.
“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.”
Remember you are responsible for the health and safety of yourself and others who may choose to use your services, including future customers.
Q: Can I refuse a fare if the passenger is showing obvious symptoms of coronavirus?
Yes. You are entitled to refuse a hiring where you have a reasonable excuse, and refusal to take someone displaying obvious symptoms of the virus, or not wearing a face covering, could be considered reasonable. However, you should not make such decisions based on assumptions or crude stereotyping and you should consider each case on its merits.
Again remember you are responsible for the health and safety of yourself and others who may choose to use your services, including future customers
Q: Can I fit a protective screen inside my vehicle?
This guidance is valid for three months and will be reviewed at the end of August or earlier should government guidance be issued regarding this area.
The Licensing Authority is not requiring vehicle owners to fit protective screens. However, should you decide that you would like to fit a temporary screen in your vehicle, you must:
1. Obtain written/email confirmation from your insurance company that your insurance is still valid if you fit a temporary protective screen.
2. Inform the Council by email that you are fitting to fit a temporary CV19 protective screen by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and include confirmation from your insurance company that your insurance is still valid with this screen.
3. Agree that the protective screen shall be removed in less than 21 days after the current social distancing restrictions relating to CV19 have been removed.
The screen must be fitted between the rear passenger compartment and the driver and NOT fitted just around the driver. If a screen is fitted no passengers shall be allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle and the total permitted (licensed) number of passengers shall be reduced by one.
The temporary CV19 protective screen must:
• be clear and transparent and only fitted behind the front seats, creating a partition between the front and back area of the vehicle. It should not wrap around the driver’s seat or create a partition between the front seats.
• not be permanently installed in the vehicle or have a solid frame to the screen;
• only be fitted with velcro or adhesive fastenings (to be removed when the screens are no longer needed)
• not be fitted in such a way as to affect the structural integrity of the vehicle or interfere with any manufacturer fitted safety equipment e.g. air bags.
• not be fitted in such a way that it becomes loose or detached under normal driving, or sudden braking, or is likely to cause injury to an occupant of the vehicle either during normal driving or in the event of an accident.
• not impinge on foot space for passengers
The whole passenger compartment including the screen and door handles should be cleaned with anti-bacterial product after each passenger carrying journey.
None of the above shall apply to the fitment of a permanent or solid security screen, which may require separate authorisation from the Council.
Q: I’m not working so can I surrender my vehicle licence and save money by cancelling my insurance and/or insure it for private purposes only?
Surrendering your licence will mean that it ceases to have effect, and therefore when you want to resume work you will have to apply for a new licence with all the requirements that involves
You are not obliged to use your licence therefore you may simply choose to take your vehicle off the road whilst the current emergency restrictions are in place. There is no need to advise the Council of this.
Should you choose to take your vehicle off the road, and cancel your existing insurance, then you must give notice to the Council of this by means of an email detailing the plate number, the date and time the vehicle was taken off the road, the date your insurance was cancelled, whether you intend using the vehicle for domestic purposes, and attach a copy of the insurance cover for domestic purposes if appropriate. Once that notification has been given, and if you have provided proof of domestic insurance, then you will be granted a temporary relaxation of the requirements to display plates/door badges/roof box in order that these may be removed from the vehicle so it no longer looks like a ‘taxi’. However please be warned that although the vehicle is no longer ‘working’ it may still only be driven by a dual licence holder as it remains a licensed vehicle.
Once you decide to resume working then you must notify the Council of that fact by email giving detail of your plate number, the date and time you intend to resume working, confirmation that you have re-instated plates/door badges/roof-box, and produce a valid certificate of insurance to cover hackney/private hire use.
You are strongly advised to speak with your insurance company before taking this course of action as it may have some bearing on your future premiums, for example loss of no claims.
Important: If, having given notice of your intention to take the vehicle off the road, you are found to be using/have used the vehicle for work purposes before notifying the Council you are resuming work, and have supplied a notice to that effect as above, then you can expect your vehicle licence and dual drivers licence to be revoked immediately and you will be liable to prosecution.
Q: My vehicle licence is due for renewal
Follow the normal online procedure for renewing your licence.
Q: My vehicle is due a VCT what happens if all the VCT garages are closed?
Garages are MOT stations are currently permitted to continue trading, therefore you should be able to arrange for a VCT. Should it be the case that all VCT garages are closed then the requirement for a VCT will be temporarily suspended.
Q: I have received a letter inviting me to renew my Dual Drivers Licence. How do I do this during these current restrictions?
Complete the application form and DVLA mandate in full and send by email, together with scanned copies/photographs of passport, drivers card, utility bill, and proof of right to reside/work, along with proof of payment for renewal and DBS. Where possible also send a copy of your DVLA drivers record as well as your completed DVLA mandate. email@example.com.
Where your identity documents have not changed since the previous application then we accept these as being valid. Where there is a change, for example a passport/ driver photocard has been renewed, then you will be required to produce the original documents by post.
For those signed up to the DBS online checking process a copy of your current disclosure should be included in the bundle.
For those not signed up to the online process the DBS application for disclosure should be sent by post, marked private and confidential, to: Taxi Licensing, Rother District Council, Town Hall, Bexhill-on-Sea. TN39 3JX
Please bear in mind that the email systems generally do not accept large files so it may be necessary to send your attachments in more than one message. All messages should include your DD number in the subject field and where you are sending more than one message you should also indicate this, for example DD265 msg 1 of 3.
Important: in all cases no application will be validated until all documents/ payments have been received, and all documents are properly completed and clearly readable so check them before you send them
Q: I have made application to renew my Dual Drivers Licence but what happens if I cannot get a medical report completed by my GP in time for my licence to be renewed, or to comply with the requirement for an annual medical?
If you are unable to submit a medical in support of your application your licence renewed subject to a condition that a satisfactory medical report is provided to the Council within six months of the licence being issued.
This shall not apply to drivers over 70 years of age, or those with a chronic condition which requires them to self-isolate under the current Government guidance on coronavirus. A driver in this category should allow their licence to lapse and then be permitted to re-apply once the Government’s guidance has been rescinded. Provided such applications are received before 1st April 2021 then the driver will not be required to undergo the knowledge, driving, or English proficiency tests.
Nothing in the above shall exempt the driver from the requirement to inform the Council of any change in their medical circumstance in line with the DVLA group 2 requirements and the terms and conditions of your DD licence as set out in the Councils handbook.
Q: I have made application for renewal of my Dual Drivers licence and it is due to expire but I still haven’t received my disclosure certificate.
Where application for DBS enhanced disclosure has been made, and the production of the disclosure certificate by the disclosure and barring service is delayed, then the licence will be renewed subject to the licence holder producing a satisfactory disclosure certificate to the Council within six months of the licence being issued.
Nothing in the above shall exempt the driver from the requirement to inform the Council of their arrest/conviction/penalties in line with the terms and conditions of their licences as set out in the Councils handbook.
Q: Instead of renewing my DD licence can I let it lapse and then reapply after these current restrictions have been lifted?
A driver invited to renew their DD licence may opt to allow the licence to lapse and then be permitted to re-apply once the Government’s guidance has been rescinded. Provided such applications are received before 1st September 2020* then the driver will not be required to undergo the knowledge, driving, or English proficiency tests. During this period a driver may not drive a licensed vehicle and will only be permitted to drive once a complete and valid application to renew has been received, and the driver notified that is the case.
Any driver taking advantage of this temporary relaxation will be expected to comply fully with the terms and conditions of their existing licence, which includes the reporting of convictions/ arrests/FPN’s or changes in medical circumstances.
A driver taking advantage of this temporary relaxation and who is found to be driving/have driven a licensed vehicle during this period can expect to have their application to renew refused or their licence revoked. This will also apply to a driver who fails to notify convictions/ arrests/FPN’s or changes in medical circumstances.
Q: I’m currently not working so can I surrender my DD/vehicle licence(s) and get a refund?
The Council do not issue refunds for licences once granted.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty you should visit the following websites which will provide you with information as to how you may claim universal credit or apply for a grant under the coronavirus (Covis-19) self-employment income support scheme.
Q: I want to become a taxi driver. Can I make an application for a licence?
Applications for new driver’s licences will not be processed until after 1st September 2020*.
Note *Dates may be subject to extension.