Drivers and operators across East Herts are being offered free online training to keep themselves – and their passengers – safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Those drivers who successfully complete the course and become accredited can display ‘Travel with Confidence’ stickers on their taxi or private hire vehicle.
In addition to becoming accredited and being able to display the stickers, those who complete the course will qualify for £100 reimbursement towards the cost of a screen to separate the driver and passengers and further reduce the risk of infection.
The latest government guidance means that passengers in taxis are required to wear face coverings. Drivers now have the right to refuse to carry passengers not wearing a face covering or to ask them to leave their vehicle. Those that fail to comply could face fixed penalty notices.
The course builds on the success of an initiative that was first developed in Watford and other district and borough councils across the county are signing up to the scheme using funding from Hertfordshire’s director of public health, Jim McManus.
Cllr Linda Haysey, Chair of the community reassurance cell of Hertfordshire’s Local Resilience Forum and Leader of East Herts Council, said: “We want to make sure people in Hertfordshire feel confident when taking a taxi and minicab and know that everything has been done by the drivers and operators to keep passengers safe.
“Taxis and private hire vehicles are often used by people travelling to and from hospital so we must protect the vulnerable while also ensuring the safety of the drivers as there is a proportion of them who may be more vulnerable to the serious effects of Covid-19 because they are from a BAME background, because of their age or other underlying health issues.
“I would encourage people to look out for the special mark on vehicles or ask for an accredited driver when booking a vehicle and make a safer choice when deciding on how to travel.”
Peter Taylor, Elected Mayor of Watford where the scheme was first introduced, said: “I am very pleased that Watford is leading the way on this transport initiative and it is now starting to be used countywide. The programme gives drivers the information and guidance they need to operate safely, and I would urge people to look out for the confidence mark in order to make a safe choice when deciding on a taxi or minicab.
“Councils across Hertfordshire want to make sure local people can feel confident when taking a taxi and minicab that as much as possible has been done by the driver to keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of the virus.”