How do we ensure levels of safety as business resumes and starts to build up again? It’s clear that much has changed. The taxi and private hire sector remains on the front line – indeed, the Government has now recognised that professional drivers are among the highest risk occupations of all.

So how do we define our policies for how to operate in the future? A great starting point is the Safe Taxi Charter – an initiative driven by three of the UK’s leading dispatch software providers, Autocab, Cordic and iCabbi. The Safe Taxi Charter is a pledge by the UK taxi and private hire industry to adhere to the very highest standards of sanitisation.

We fully support this initiate, and believe it is in everyone’s interests to sign up for the pledge – and more importantly, to ensure that as operators, you fully undertake to carry out the policies outlined by the Charter, which are detailed below.

Seventy-five operators signed the Charter pre-launch, including Street Cars in Manchester, Radio Taxis in Southampton and Premier Cars in Cardiff. Signing up means they are promising to do everything they can to protect their customers and drivers, to create and maintain a safe environment. Now the number of signatories to the Charter is well past 250.

With people travelling for work and leisure again, they need to know that their transport options are safe and reliable. Strict safety and hygiene measures will remain an essential part of the day-to-day lives of drivers and operators – cleaning and sanitising your car is central to this industry’s “new normal”.

Public transport is not only a source of concern for travellers; services have been greatly reduced and those that do run are often over-crowded, particularly in major cities, making social distancing almost impossible in many cases. So it’s up to the taxi and private hire industry to step up and show that taxis are a safe and comfortable way to travel.

Every firm that signs up to the Charter will implement the following procedures, delivered by all staff and drivers:

The Safe Taxi Charter

  • Social Distancing guidelines will be followed by the driver.
  • Drivers will have no physical contact with the passenger, unless in an emergency situation or if a passenger requests assistance
  • Hand sanitisers will be provided to all drivers and customers. Drivers will sanitise their hands regularly
  • Option to pay by card through the app, to avoid drivers and passengers using cash
  • Vehicles which have a partition screen installed will be regularly cleaned and sanitised
  • Drivers will wear clean clothes each day, be well-presented and maintain impeccable personal hygiene
  • Drivers will wear PPE in line with the latest government guidelines
  • The passenger area of the vehicle will be wiped down regularly and cleaned with sanitiser
  • Drivers will conduct a weekly inspection and deep clean of their vehicle
  • Signage to be displayed, where available and where licensing permits to convey safety and sanitation messages in and out of vehicle

“With travel resuming, we know that safety is going to be an important factor for the public as people decide what method of transport to take to work. We need to show that, as an industry, we’re doing everything we can to put their minds at ease. We’re encouraging the entire industry to get behind our Charter – by signing it, taxi firms can guarantee that they are providing a cleaner and more hygienic way of travelling for both customers and drivers,” said Safa Alkateb, CEO at Autocab.

The three dispatch system providers account for more than 1,000 taxi operators across the UK, but for the campaign to work, it needs the entire industry to get behind it, and they are calling for more operators to join them in promoting the Safe Taxi & Private Hire Charter and the nationwide ‘Go Safe Go Taxi’ campaign.

Safa Alkateb, CEO at Autocab said: “With travel resuming, we know that safety is going to be an important factor for the public, as people decide what method of transport to take to work. We need to show that, as an industry, we’re taking safety seriously. We’re encouraging the entire industry to get behind the Charter – by signing it, private hire taxi operators can guarantee they are providing a cleaner and more hygienic way of travelling.”

Bart von Schriek, CEO at Cordic, said: “There are approximately 250,000 registered taxi and private hire drivers in the UK. Combined, Cordic, Autocab and iCabbi already has access to 200,000 of those drivers, and we, of course, welcome participation from all other providers and industry suppliers who want to get onboard and sponsor the Charter. This is an amazing opportunity for us all to work together to put safety first and to get the industry back on its feet.”

“We’re also urging trade bodies, local councils and government to support us with the Charter”, added Gavan Walsh, CEO at iCabbi. “It’s great that the industry is coming together but we’d also love to see nationwide consensus from authorities on what a safe taxi or private hire vehicle looks like, to provide clarity and consistency, while ensuring the safety of drivers and their passengers.”

Steve Wright, chair of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association, said: “This is a great initiative as it brings the UK taxi and private hire industry and its critical suppliers together to provide a safe door-to-door alternative to mainstream public transport. I have no qualms about endorsing this wonderful initiative and will encourage all LPHCA members and industry suppliers we work with to sign-up to the Charter and come together in supporting the nationwide campaign to promote taxi and private hire as a safe means of transport.”

Taxi operators that wish to sign-up to the Charter can do so on www.gosafegotaxi.com or follow the hashtag #gosafegotaxi