TfL Helen Chapman

Transport for London is this week offering free face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser to London’s taxi and private hire drivers. A total of 1.5 million masks and 30,000 bottles of Dettol sanitiser are being distributed to drivers from sites including London Underground and other car parks throughout the capital. The masks and sanitiser bottles are being distributed on a first come, first served basis.

TfL has also created short educational videos for drivers that provide guidance on how to clean their vehicle after each time a passenger has been safely dropped off. Drivers will also receive a sticker to display in the vehicle to demonstrate that the driver is “Covid prepared”. The video does not include advice on screens, however, and TfL continues to make screen-makers undergo costly and time-consuming certification, citing spurious safety issues.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging (pictured), said: “We know that the pandemic has been tough for taxi and private hire drivers, which is why we want to do all we can to help them prosper as restrictions are eased. We are providing this additional support to help boost the industry in the coming weeks, reassuring customers that vehicles are as safe and clean as they possibly can be. We will continue to provide up-to-date advice and guidance for drivers on how to keep themselves safe and what support is available for them in these difficult times.”

Steve Garelick, GMB organiser, welcomed the move, saying: “GMB Union is delighted to learn of this initiative giving protection to drivers and the public alike. This extra support is heartening at such a precarious time for the taxi and private hire trades that have been decimated by the pandemic.”

And Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “Taxi drivers need all the support they can get, at what continues to be an extremely challenging time. This is therefore a positive initiative, which should help to demonstrate to the public that taxi drivers are taking every possible precaution to keep their passengers safe.”

TfL has also created short educational videos for drivers that provide guidance on how to clean their vehicle after each time a passenger has been safely dropped off. Drivers will also receive a sticker to display in the vehicle to demonstrate that the driver is “Covid prepared”. The video does not include advice on screens, however, and TfL continues to make screen-makers undergo costly and time-consuming certification, citing spurious safety issues.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging (pictured), said: “We know that the pandemic has been tough for taxi and private hire drivers, which is why we want to do all we can to help them prosper as restrictions are eased. We are providing this additional support to help boost the industry in the coming weeks, reassuring customers that vehicles are as safe and clean as they possibly can be. We will continue to provide up-to-date advice and guidance for drivers on how to keep themselves safe and what support is available for them in these difficult times.”

Steve Garelick, GMB organiser, welcomed the move, saying: “GMB Union is delighted to learn of this initiative giving protection to drivers and the public alike. This extra support is heartening at such a precarious time for the taxi and private hire trades that have been decimated by the pandemic.”

And Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “Taxi drivers need all the support they can get, at what continues to be an extremely challenging time. This is therefore a positive initiative, which should help to demonstrate to the public that taxi drivers are taking every possible precaution to keep their passengers safe.”