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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:44 pm 
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Taxi drivers' infection fears over screen removals inside cars

Taxi drivers in Wolverhampton claim their lives are being put at risk from infection - after being told to remove protective plastic screens from inside their cars.

Many private hire operators still working across the city have fitted their own 'isolation' screens, after hearing reports that taxi drivers have one of the highest mortality rates from Covid-19 amongst key workers.

However, many drivers are now claiming that the council has been ordering them to remove the protective screens from their vehicles.

Mr Ali Khawari, speaking on behalf of private hire drivers in the city, said: "We are a group of taxi cab drivers licensed by Wolverhampton City Council, and we would like to raise this important issue which we feel is being neglected by the council and all the relative authorities.

"As taxi drivers, we would like to be able to work under safe conditions and do whatever it takes to keep ourselves and our passengers safe from the Covid-19 virus.

"Most of the councils in the UK are allowing drivers to take all the necessary precautions to stay safe, and install driver isolation sheets in their cars if they want to do so.

"But Wolverhampton Council is making it impossible for drivers to use these precautions. Unlike other councils, they are going out of their way to have these driver isolation sheets removed from cars if they see one.

"Drivers are also being threatened with suspension of their PHV (Private Hire Vehicle) license if they refuse to remove this sheet. This puts drivers and passengers at risk of spreading the virus," he added.

"When we enquired about this, the council told us that we must carry the specified number of passengers shown on the PHV license and cannot ask people not to sit in the front of the car.

"Having a passenger sitting in the front seat next to us puts both them and the driver in grave danger.

"At times like this, surely the driver and the passengers' safety must be of the utmost importance? All other businesses in the UK have installed plastic separation sheets in shops, banks, schools, hospitals etc, so why is it different for taxi drivers?"

Mr Khawari said he was calling on the council to review its policies and issue a temporary notice during the pandemic, allowing drivers to take whatever safety measures they deemed necessary.

"We would also like to know if Wolverhampton Council will take responsibility if a driver or a passenger is infected with Covid-19 as a result of having to remove their screens?" he added.

A statement issued by Wolverhampton City Council said: "The City of Wolverhampton Licensing Authority have not banned partitions.

"Condition 2.1 of the licence for private hire vehicles states: 'No material alteration or change in the specification, design, condition or appearance of the vehicle shall be made without the prior approval of Licensing Services'.

"Therefore, no partitions, screens, safety guards should have been fitted to any licensed vehicle without the prior approval of Licensing Services. No approval has been given to any vehicle proprietor and as such any screens fitted are in breach of their licence condition.

"The safety of the public is of paramount importance to the Licensing Authority and as such, much like the government, we follow the science.

"There is no evidence available that demonstrates that partitions reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 infection. Partitions do not provide a fully sealed compartment which completely separates the driver from the passenger.

"Therefore, whilst it is possible that partitions might reduce the risk of transmission of infection, the risk would not be eliminated entirely.

"The current position of the Licensing Authority is that prior approval for partitions are not being authorised. However, further advice is currently being sought and should the advice change, the position would be reconsidered.

"The safety of the public is of paramount importance and simply going along with populistic trends cannot be allowed to impede on the public’s safety.

"Everyone is encouraged to follow the current government advice on Covid-19 which can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus".

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:13 pm 
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It's about time Uk gov got a grip on things in respect of our trade it is ridiculous the patchwork quilt of "advice" from councils.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:40 am 
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Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
"Therefore, whilst it is possible that partitions might reduce the risk of transmission of infection, the risk would not be eliminated entirely."

Who knew? :roll:

Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
"The current position of the Licensing Authority is that prior approval for partitions are not being authorised."

Hope their safety advice is better than their clarity of expression :?

Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
"The safety of the public is of paramount importance and simply going along with populistic trends cannot be allowed to impede on the public’s safety."

'Populistic trends'? Oh, what a cracker, particularly coming from Wolverhampton City Council :badgrin:


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