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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:35 pm 
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We have had a number of drivers contact us to establish if they should be on lockdown. Our advice is that you are providing public transport. You may be providing that service to a key worker who relies on you in order to take them to work. You may be providing a delivery service for the vulnerable. However, there is no actual requirement for you to be working. That is a decision for you. The following advise has been provided by Mr James Button, a solicitor who specialises in Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing. This guidance may change subject to any further developments. Please pass this message onto those who has no access to email.



Thank you

Can Hackney carriage and private hire drivers refuse to carry certain passengers through fear of infection?

The starting point here is that as there are no scheduled services for hackney carriages or private hire vehicles (unlike buses and trains) there is actually no requirement on a hackney carriage or private hire driver to be working. That is very simplistic approach, and it is appreciated that they need to make a living as much as everybody else. It will be for each individual driver to decide whether they are prepared to take the risks associated with providing hackney carriage and private hire services.

In relation to the driver themselves, they should not work if they have a new continuous cough and/or a high fever and should at that point self-isolate (https://www.gov.uk/government/collectio ... f-guidance).

A driver of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, hackney carriage and private hire vehicle proprietors and private hire operators, whether self-employed or employees, have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to both themselves and those who are likely to come into contact with their business (sections 2, 3 & 4).

Therefore, the driver and proprietor of the vehicle both have a responsibility to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the vehicle is safe. Whilst that usually relates to mechanical safety, clearly environmental safety is also vital. They should already have a Health and Safety Policy in place. It may have been necessary to amend this to incorporate a risk assessment relating to the coronavirus which clearly survives on surfaces for a significant period of time.

Ideally every vehicle should be disinfected after every hiring, but this is clearly not practically possible. However, it would be possible to ensure that some form of cleaning of obvious areas takes place - door handles, seat belts and buckles and any other obvious hard surface that may have been touched by a passenger. This would include areas that may have been infected following a passenger coughing or sneezing such as physical divisions between the front and rear of the vehicle, the rear of front seats and so on. The guidance from the Government is

“frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products”

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... s-covid-19).

Beyond that there is a divergence between hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

Hackney Carriages

The driver of a hackney carriage that is standing for hire (that is at a taxi rank or elsewhere on the highway) can only refuse a hiring for a journey within the district if they have a reasonable excuse (section 53 Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (“the 1847 Act” outside London; section 35 London Hackney Carriage Act 1831 and section 7 London Hackney Carriage Act 1853 in London)). It would seem to be a reasonable excuse to refuse to carry a potential passenger who has obvious symptoms of coronavirus, but drivers must be careful. Assumptions about potential victims should not be made, and certainly should not be based on crude racial stereotyping. It would be difficult to see how a driver could refuse to carry a passenger who was not displaying symptoms in these circumstances.

In those circumstances (standing for hire) a driver can legitimately refuse to take any hiring which would be for a destination outside the district (unless there are local exemptions to that).

There is no requirement placed upon a hackney carriage driver who is plying for hire (i.e. cruising) to respond to any hailing by a prospective passenger (see Hunt v Morgan [1948] 2 All ER 1065 QBD).

Private Hire Vehicles

A private hire operator is under no obligation to enter into a contract to provide a private hire vehicle for anybody, provided any such refusal is not based on a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 (section 4 - age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation).

Once the booking is been accepted, there is a contract in place to provide a vehicle for that hiring. If on arriving at the pickup point, the driver sees that the passenger is displaying obvious symptoms of coronavirus then they may feel it is not safe to carry that passenger. The driver would need to discuss that with the operator, because the contract for hire is between the hirer and the operator (there is also a contract between the operator and the driver which will need to be considered as well).

A pre-booked hackney carriage is similar to this, but the contract may have been made directly with the driver rather than a 3rd party booking agent.

Conclusions

A great many people work in the hackney carriage and private hire industries and even more people rely on hackney carriages and private hire vehicles to transport them. Whilst there may well have been a significant downturn in this activity as a result of this crisis, hackney carriages and private hire vehicles will still remain a vital form of transport for many, including to and from hospitals, GPs and to go shopping.

No activity is risk-free: the key is to take all sensible reasonable precautions to protect both drivers and passengers.

Article by James Button, IoL President and Principal, James Button & Co Solicitors

Sarah Gear

Senior Licensing Officer

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 Post subject: Re: Refusing a hire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:01 pm 
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A bit legalistic, and nothing that any driver who knows the rules shouldn't be able to work out for themselves by applying a bit of common sense and taking account of the risk of infection.

But probably the most important point is essentially that there's noting to stop drivers working, as I said in another thread a few hours ago [-(


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 Post subject: Re: Refusing a hire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:56 pm
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StuartW wrote:
A bit legalistic, and nothing that any driver who knows the rules shouldn't be able to work out for themselves by applying a bit of common sense and taking account of the risk of infection.

But probably the most important point is essentially that there's noting to stop drivers working, as I said in another thread a few hours ago [-(



If he can find any.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:36 pm 
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School boy error from me, whilst I was still working. I was asking people to pay by card if possible. After the customer had left the vehicle I was wiping down my card reader (or the actual cash!) the door handles (even though I have auto doors) and all the hard surfaces with antibacterial wipes. Thinking I was being ever so careful, didn’t even think about the seatbelts or buckles though! #-o


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:59 am 
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Key workers have been defined as those involved in the "transport of people or goods by air, water, road or rail". So your choice if you want to work.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:29 pm 
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the downside is there is someone in Guernsey who continued working even though they had symptoms and infected possibly up to 79 people (not sure what his job was)

If someone got infected because he wasn't self isolating could he possibly get prosecuted it is a balancing act of deciding whether the risk is worth taking

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:33 pm 
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Quote:
If someone got infected because he wasn't self isolating could he possibly get prosecuted it is a balancing act of deciding whether the risk is worth taking

In our trade the fault will not lie with us, IMO.

We don't force anyone into our vehicles, it's always voluntary.

And folks that are out, who use our services, have been advised by gov not to be out unless their business is essential.

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