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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:05 pm 
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Parents' anguish as social distancing measures see some taxis banned from taking pupils to school

Five seater taxis without protective shields for coronavirus have been stopped taking children to school, leaving some parents scrambling for transport.

Wrexham parents Evan and Clare Barker branded the news "a bombshell" and said they were only told about it at the weekend, after the Welsh Government updated guidance, as schools reopened this week.

They said they had been left to work out how to get their 12-year-old child Toby, who has Smith-Magenis syndrome, to St Christopher's special needs school in Wrexham yesterday (Monday).

In a letter to parents Wrexham County Borough Council's chief officer, for environment and technical services, Darren Williams, apologised for the late information, but said it had "been adopted across the regional local authorities."

He told parents "I am writing to inform you that in order to comply with current social distancing guidelines issued by Welsh Government it is not possible to provide home to school transport for your child to return to school between Monday 29th June and Friday 17th July 2020."

Mr Barker said: "Toby has special needs and has been taken to school and back, by taxi to St Christopher's for a number of years.

"We are now trying out best to get Toby to school, I may have to take some time off work, or my 18-year-old son may have to take him."

"We only got this news at the weekend and it came as a bombshell and there are a lot of parents in the same position.

Mr Williams, said: "Welsh Government has issued updated guidance in connection with the reopening of schools, for local authorities to consider.

"In light of this it has been adopted across the regional local authorities that the use of five seat saloon cars without any form of protective screen between the driver and passengers, should not at the moment be used for the purpose of transporting clients or students on local authority contracts.

"These vehicles do not meet the current social distancing requirements.

"The withdrawal of existing transport provision, is consistent with school transport provision from Monday 29 June in that these smaller vehicles will not be available for transport contract provision”

Mr Williams has told parents they will continue to review all transport arrangements leading up to the September 2020 school term.

Wrexham council's lead member for environment and transport, Cllr David A Bithell, added: "We appreciate the difficulties parents will have but it is no longer possible to use vehicles where social distancing cannot take place.

"We will be offering payment credits to parents of SEN pupils who are able to transport their own children to school for this three week period.

"Safety is paramount for all children and we have tried to accommodate those children who wished to return to school."

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IDFIMH


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:29 pm 
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It would seem the rumour I heard about Flintshire council was right then,it maybe a good time to start looking at tendering for a school run.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:48 am 
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Wrexham Council wrote:
Safety is paramount...

Never heard a council say safety isn't paramount.

And, funnily enough, that's exactly what Wolverhampton Council said when they stated they couldn't recommend screens #-o


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:15 am 
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COVID-19: Important information

The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential at this time. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

If absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, your best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home and requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.

Vehicle Licensing

New arrangements take effect from Monday 30th March and will remain in place until further notice. The vehicle testing stations have shown great co-operation with us at this difficult time, for which we are thankful, and it is only with their co-operation that we have been able to formulate this plan. The new process is as follows.

Vehicle Licensing Process

• When your licence is due present your vehicle to the testing station to be tested in the normal way
• You must also take with you evidence of current insurance i.e. your insurance documents.
• The testing station will complete with you a proforma to collect up to date contact details such as name, address, email and telephone number
• If the car passes, the testing station will email the One Stop Shop attaching a copy of the test certificate, the vehicle insurance and the contact proforma
• The vehicle owner will then receive a confirmation email from the OSS that their renewal has been completed and that their new plates will be sent to them in the post
• Until the plates arrive, drivers should keep this email available at all times the vehicle is working as evidence that the vehicle has a current and valid licence
• The plate will be posted to the address given on your contact proforma

• The Taxi Licensing service is undergoing a software update and is currently unable to take payments. When the software update is completed the vehicle owner will be contacted by telephone to request payment

Driver Licensing

All drivers will have their licence automatically extended for 6 months when it comes due for renewal. Drivers will be notified by email where we hold an email address and receive a letter through the post where we don’t have an email address which confirms this extension. Drivers will be expected to carry this email/letter with them whilst they are working as evidence they hold a current licence. No payment will be required for this extension at the moment, however when the extension expires, assuming things have returned to something more “normal”, the payment for the 6-month extension will be collected with any renewal fee at that stage.

Operator Licensing

All operator licences will also have their licence automatically extended for 6 months with similar requirements regarding payment as drivers.

Vehicle Screens

Temporary protective screens in Private hire vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Council has been asked to approve the installation of temporary screens that might help compliance/improvement with social distancing advice during the current pandemic. There are a range of screens being offered by different suppliers with claims to reduce the risks of infection for both passengers and drivers alike.

Any protection offered would require that the screen be cleansed with the correct cleaning materials after each journey. The Government advice on social distancing measures and personal hygiene during the pandemic must always also be followed.

The licensing authority have not approved any of these screens for the following reasons;

effect on the integrity of the vehicle
lack of a recognised specification for type of screen
no manufacturer approval
potential compromise of vehicle safety and insurance
increased potential for spread of virus due to surface area of materials used
uncertainty over level of protection for driver and passengers
passenger access or egress issues
potential lack of visibility
Any screens already installed are not approved by the Council and are not included in the current testing criteria or conditions. Any modifications would have to comply with the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations.

Taxis and Private Hire Drivers can continue to work but the advice from the Government is clear - people should stay at home. Licensed Drivers still need to follow the legal restrictions and Government Guidance.

Drivers are advised to undertake their own risk assessment in respect of whether they can safely work at this time and this will include the use of any screens. It is for drivers to take all sensible and reasonable precautions to protect both themselves and passengers.

Hackney Carriage Plate Owners

If any Hackney Carriage plate owner wants to put their licence/plate on hold then please contact the One Stop Shop via email TaxiLicensingadmin-Bootleoss@sefton.gov.uk with your request.

If anyone has made a SORN then send a copy through and we will make a note on file.

There is no need to re-test or re-licence the vehicle during this time and if the plate lapses during the time ‘on hold’ we will treat as a normal renewal on whatever date a fresh licence is issued.

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Justice for the 96. It has only taken 27 years...........repeat the same lies for 27 years and the truth sounds strange to people!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:09 am 
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I thinks the above statement/advice is a little ‘out of date’ now Mr T.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:05 pm 
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x-ray wrote:
I thinks the above statement/advice is a little ‘out of date’ now Mr T.

So do I, Leadership by councils is sadly lacking :oops:

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Justice for the 96. It has only taken 27 years...........repeat the same lies for 27 years and the truth sounds strange to people!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:08 pm 
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Sefton Council wrote:
The licensing authority have not approved any of these screens for the following reasons;

effect on the integrity of the vehicle

lack of a recognised specification for type of screen

no manufacturer approval

potential compromise of vehicle safety and insurance

increased potential for spread of virus due to surface area of materials used

uncertainty over level of protection for driver and passengers

passenger access or egress issues

potential lack of visibility

Any screens already installed are not approved by the Council and are not included in the current testing criteria or conditions. Any modifications would have to comply with the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations.

This just looks like a list of the LGA criteria.

Which Sefton Council is essentially said can't be met.

And, after all, the LGA stuff is just 'guidelines', so unsurprising that some local authorities will use them to ban screens, while others won't.

A legal challenge would be interesting, but unlikely to happen, and the nature of the beast means that by the time it was all done and dusted Covid might effectively have been forgotten about. Or at least the protective screens aspect.


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