Covid vaccine

Taxi and private hire trade bodies across the UK have written to the Government demanding that professional drivers are given priority access to Covid-19 vaccinations.

The joint call, which includes the LPHCA, LTDA and Private Hire Board, has written to ministers in the Transport, Health and Education departments, stating that the high-risk nature of the job means drivers should be given high-priority vaccination status.

The letter states: “You will be aware that taxi and PHV drivers are in the very high-risk category group and that sadly the associated mortality rate as borne out by Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures is extremely high. Not only is there extreme risk for drivers but, of course, the same applies to passengers due to close proximity, which in turn, adds to the risk of onward transmission and super-spreading.”

In the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis between March and May 2020, 143 taxi drivers died of the virus after picking up infected passengers, mainly at airports. The letter continued: “Our industry has been asked to support the NHS, nursing establishments, other modes of transport, the elderly, the vulnerable, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), key worker and educational support transportation.”

“We respect the absolute priority set out in the Independent report by the Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which identifies the priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination (updated January 6, 2021) but wish to add that taxi and PHV drivers need to be included/added.”

The letter was sent to Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department for Transport; Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, on behalf of all the trade bodies listed below:

  • Chauffeur & Executive Committee
  • City of Salford Private Hire Association 
  • Driver Guides Association
  • Durham Licensed Taxi Association 
  • GMB Professional Drivers Branch
  • Greater Manchester Drivers Federation 
  • London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC)
  • Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) 
  • Private Hire Board
  • Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) 
  • National Private Hire & Taxi Association (NPHTA)
  • Scottish Licensed Private Hire Car Association 
  • Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association (SHPHA)
  • South Cambridge Executive Operators 
  • Unite the Union (Cab Section)
  • United Cabbies Group 
  • Welsh Licensed Private Hire Car Association
  • York Private Hire Association 

LPHCA Chairman Steve Wright added: “Many taxi and PHV drivers have needed to continue working to support the NHS, emergency services, educational and other critical services. With all the above essential services stretched it has been necessary for drivers to play their part in supporting them. Drivers need to be protected as do passengers, so once the very highest levels of priority have been done, taxi and PHV drivers should be prioritised for vaccination.”