This was released today @ 16:17 by Chris Howell,
Commercial Regulation Manager, Taxi Licensing Department, City of Wolverhampton Council
"All Taxi and Private Hire Drivers “SHOULD” wear face coverings" - Department for Transport
"Following specialist opinion from Public Health, drivers who are licensed with the City of Wolverhampton Council are advised that they should wear a face-covering at all times when passengers are inside their vehicle.
Passengers traveling within the vehicle must use a face-covering unless they have a medical condition preventing the use of face coverings.
Where a face covering cannot be worn for medical reasons, the passenger is expected to sit in the rear of the vehicle and as far away from the driver as possible. The windows should where practicable, be open for the entire journey to provide adequate ventilation.
On those occasions when a driver is asked to prove his identity, the face-covering may be temporarily removed."
CUSTOMERS NOTE :
CITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON DRIVERS ARE HEREBY AUTHORISED TO "REFUSE CARRIAGE" TO PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE A MEDICAL EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE AND WHO REFUSE TO WEAR A FACE COVERING - (FACE-MASK).
DEFINITION OF "FACE-MASK" :
A PROTECTIVE MASK COVERING NOSE, MOUTH AND EYES.
THAT DOES NOT MEAN A "SCARF" OR ANY OTHER "MATERIAL" THAT IS NOT DESIGNED FOR THE PURPOSE.
Any enquiries with regard this decision can be made directly to the following Wolverhampton MP's :
Pat McFadden - firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuart Anderson - email@example.com
Jane Stevenson - firstname.lastname@example.org
A man who refused to pay for his taxi ride in Oxford has been ordered to pay back £5.70.
Samuel Craig Cooper, 28, was also made subject to a community order after hurling racist abuse at the driver on April 4.
Oxford Magistrates’ Court documents said: “For the racial element, the Bench took the sentence from a community order to a custody and reduced it back down to a community order to reflect the guilty plea.”
Cooper must also take part in a ‘thinking skills’ programme for 30 days and attend appointments with a court officer for 25 days.
He was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the man and £85 in court costs.
Cabbies in Cheltenham can install safety screens in their vehicles after Cheltenham Borough Council's cabinet agreed to change policy to allow licensed taxi and PHV drivers to voluntarily fit them if they choose to.
The council said that the policy is designed to provide taxi and private hire drivers with the confidence they need to return to work in the light of ONS data showing licensed drivers to have a greater risk of mortality relating to Covid-19.
According to a report, the council sent out 1,000 letters as part of a consultation with the taxi trade. It received 51 replies, 35 of which were opposed to screens, citing concerns that some insurance providers would not allow their installation.
However, the policy is discretionary, so individual drivers can decide whether or not to install a screen, and customers can decide whether or not to enter a vehicle without one.
Speaking in the council meeting, Cllr Andrew McKinlay said: "Clearly taxi and private hire drivers have been quite badly hit in the Covid-19 crisis. Not only because of their economic situation but also because they are one of the most at-risk groups of catching the disease.
"This council has a commitment not just to protect the drivers but also the travelling public as far as we can. This policy does not make protective screens mandatory. Firstly because there is no Government legislation which allows us to do that, but also there was significant opposition from the consultees to that.
"What that is going to mean is we are going to have a mixed fleet. Some drivers will have screens, some won't, depending on their circumstances and their own view.”
The authority's cabinet unanimously backed the proposals in the meeting on Tuesday night 7 July.
The Irish Government is expected to bring pressure on the taxi industry to switch to electric cars away from diesel in line with the end of petrol and diesel car sales by 2030.
The Programme for Government, specifically mentions taxis, saying that: “The taxi fleet has a disproportionate impact on air quality and climate emissions in urban centres.” The trade however will be supported throughout “the greening of the fleet” and financial incentives will be provided to switch to both battery-electric vehicles (EVs) as well as plugin-hybrid vehicles.
With taxis having much higher mileages than private cars, they are seen as crucial in the fight against climate change, with greater impact being achieved from a smaller number of vehicles switching to electric power.
Currently, there are significant financial supports for anyone wanting to purchase an electric car to use as a taxi. A €10,000 SPSV (Small Public Service Vehicle) grant is available for a new car, which includes a car up to three months old. Second-hand cars can receive a grant of €6,000, for a vehicle up to four years old.
If the car is wheelchair accessible, then the maximum grant rises to €12,500 while for plugin-hybrid vehicles there is a maximum €5,000 grant.
Meanwhile, there are likely to be penalties and extra costs for those continuing to use petrol or diesel models.
However the taxi industry feels that the support would be more beneficial if it focused on the finance. Vinny Kearns, general secretary of the Taxi Dispatch Operator’s Representative Association (TDORA), told The Irish Times: “It would be better if taxis could get access to finance for vehicles at zero or very low interest, and that finance could be Government-funded.”
There are also significant issues with the EVs that are being passed as fit for taxi service, with Mr Kearns pointing out that the compact Renault Zoe had recently been approved for SPSV use, but the larger Tesla Model 3 has not. He said: “The Zoe is not suitable as a taxi. It has very little boot space, and it’s too small for four passengers. So we haven’t got enough choice of vehicles at the moment, and what is an issue, still, is range anxiety.
“We definitely need more charging points” added Kearns. “And it would be helpful if, maybe, the ESB could set things up so that taxi operators can charge at public points for the same cost they’d have charging at home.”
Graeme Weedy is a private hire driver and like many members of our trade has been off work since the Covid-19 outbreak. His car was maliciously torched a week before he was due to go back to work.
Mr Weedy, 47, has been living on Universal Credit in the meantime and had been intending to start driving again “once the pubs settled down”. But he is now facing unemployment again after a suspected arson attack which took place on his own driveway in Jarrow
In the early hours of Sunday 5 July, Graeme looked out of his window to see two men had set fire to his car which he used as a taxi. The blaze then spread to his three bins, which caught alight and melted. The car has now been written off.
But Graeme said the outcome could have been much worse. “The bins were against my downstairs window and if me and my wife were asleep it would have been a different story as I believe my house would have caught alight,” he said.
He added: “I heard voices outside but at first I thought it was my son coming home from a friend’s house.
“But then I heard three big bangs and I heard my daughter getting up in the next bedroom and heard her shout.
“I looked out of the window and saw two lads on the drive. The car was on fire and it was about two inches away from the bins, which also caught alight.”
Graeme said that when he shouted to the males they ran off towards an industrial estate.
The incident means that for now, self-employed Graeme, who is also recovering from a heart attack in April, will have to continue living off Universal Credit.