Temporary Taxi and Private Hire Licensing processes and advice - COVID-19

Advice for Private hire/Hackney carriage drivers/Operators

Due to the current situation we have temporarily amended our taxi and private hire licensing processes. This will allow us to continue to licence you in the coming weeks. The information below also deals with other issues such as vehicle transfers and lost property.

This page also contains important welfare information and advice for drivers and operators.

If you have any questions, please contact the Licensing Team on 01923 278476 or by email.

You can also read all of our information on COVID-19.


COVID-19

As taxi and private hire drivers, you are permitted to continue to work if you have to. The situation may change and if it does, we will update this area of the website. Information on newly announced government assistance can be found futher down this page.

Details of new laws can be found on GOV.UK, with Sections 6 and 7 being the most relevant. If you have any questions about these regulations, please contact Jamie Mackenzie.

If you do decide to go to work you may be collecting people who have arrived from overseas at airports or train stations, or people who are just unwell. You will need to take steps to check travel destinations to protect yourselves from potential infection and customers. This could include you declining to collect people with flu symptoms, people returning from high risk areas, or self-isolating if you are infectious.

If anyone suffers from flu like symptoms they should follow the government advice to self-isolate for at least 7 days. For any shared households (including flats or other spaces) where another person has flu like symptoms, all people within the household should all self-isolate together for at least 14 days. This is to account for the incubation period.

The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. 

The flu like symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can include:

  • a new and persistent cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

There are things you can do to help stop viruses spreading.

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • dry hands after hand washing with disposable towels
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • detergent based disinfectants can be used with disposable non- latex gloves, and disposable cloths to clean hand contact points in the vehicle, such as steering wheel, hand break, gear stick, dials, and door handles;
  • you should consider ways in which you can reduce contact with customers where possible, for example, avoid shaking hands, and using a contactless card payment system.

We understand how difficult things are for all drivers and operators at this time across the country.

Driver welfare is a primary concern of the council and we have been working to find solutions to these issues.

General guidance issued in relation to COVID-19.

If you require help or assistance with payments, please find below a number of links to government advice.

Unfortunately, grants and business interruption loans recently announced are not applicable to the self-employed.

The Hertfordshire Growth Hub (HGH) has set up a dedicated COVID-19 business resource page - which includes a lot of useful information which might be of interest.  They are currently asking businesses to complete a survey re: the impact COVID-19 is having on their business so this information can be used to shape what business support is needed in Hertfordshire so it would be helpful for self-employed drivers to have their say. The survey can be completed online.

Hertfordshire County Council School Contracts

If you usually do a school contract for Hertfordshire County Council please contact the operator who sends you the job for full details of the guaranteed payment terms issued by the county council.

Hertfordshire County Council is unable to answer any of queries. Please do not call Hertfordshire County Council.


Vehicle Applications

The process is now fully electronic and will require you to send scanned or photographed documents to us via email.

You will need access to an email account

You must make an appointment using the online booking system as usual.

You must send all documents to us before this appointment time.

All documents must be sent to Licensing team.

You must include your current badge or plate number in the subject line, for example: Driver Renewal Application, Badge number 4444. Or: Vehicle renewal application, plate number 8888

Important: Following the announcement of 25 March 2020 from Grant Shapps MP, any vehicle licensed after 01 April and benefitting from an MoT extension for 6 months will be granted a licence up until the end of the extension period.

You are reminded that regardless of MoT status, you are required to keep the vehicle in a roadworthy condition at all times. The licence application fee remains the same. Those granted a 6 month licence will have a further 6 month licence granted at no cost once a new MoT is obtained. After this, in 2021, the licensing process will go back to the usual process of requiring an MoT at the time of application.

You may wish to obtain a full one year MoT as usual as many garages are remaining open and this will allow you to receive a licence for one year as per a standard application. However, you should take all precautions to ensure you do not put yourself at unnecessary risk.

Vehicle licence applications must include:

  • A electronic copy of a completed application and declaration form (this will be sent to you following your appointment booking)
  • Electronic copy of the Insurance Certificate
  • Scan or photograph of all pages of the V5 logbook
  • Scan or photograph of the MoT certificate or notify us to check online (we do not need a consent code to do this – just say that you want us to check online)

It is possible that for the next few weeks we will ask you to continue using your existing vehicle plate as we may not be able to issue new ones. Please do not dispose of your old plate. Your new paper licence will be emailed to you as a PDF and will contain the correct dates should anyone ask you to provide proof of valid licence.

If you are applying for a new vehicle licence to replace an old vehicle please be aware that there may be a delay on issuing the new plate and bracket and you will not be able to work without these items. Please also be aware that this will affect licence holders who are buying or transferring to a new vehicle, or those using courtesy vehicles.

If your vehicle is involved in an accident, please retain the plate and bracket.

If your vehicle licence is expiring and you cannot re-licence at this time due to self-isolation, please send an email to the Licensing Team and we will make a record of the possible late renewal.

Any questions, please contact us on 01923 278476 or by email to the Licensing Team.


Driver Applications

You must make an appointment using the online booking system as usual.

You must send all documents to us before this appointment time.

All documents must be sent to the Licensing Team.

You must include your current badge or plate number in the subject line, for example: Driver Renewal Application, Badge number 4444. Or: Vehicle renewal application, plate number 8888

Driver Renewal Applications must include:

  • A completed and signed copy of the driver application form
  • A scanned or photographed copy of the usual documents you bring for the DBS check (see application form for details)
  • A recent (taken at the time of application) photograph (head and neck only)
  • A driver licence check code.

It is possible that for the next few weeks we will ask you to continue using your existing badges (small and large) as we may not be able to issue new ones. Please do not dispose of your old badges. Your new paper licence will be emailed to you as a PDF and will contain the correct dates should anyone ask you to provide proof of valid licence.

Once the documents have been received and processed an officer will telephone you to take payment over the phone.

Any questions, please contact us on 01923 278476 or by email to the Licensing Team.


Vehicle Transfers

The process is now fully electronic and will require you to send scanned or photographed documents to us via email.

Please ensure you use the words ‘Vehicle Transfer’ in the subject heading.

Transfer forms are available online.

Completed and scanned/photographed forms must be emailed to the Licensing Team.

You must include a scanned/photographed copy of vehicle insurances for all drivers.

If you are applying for a transfer to a new vehicle to replace an old vehicle please be aware that there may be a delay on issuing the new plate and bracket of up to 7 days and you will not be able to work without these items.


Replacement driver badges (lost or stolen)

Please contact the licensing team on 01923 278476 or email the Licensing Team.

A new badge will be issued to you when possible. Please be aware that there may be a delay of up to 7 days for this service.


Replacement licence plates (lost or stolen)

Please contact the licensing team on 01923 278476 or email the Licensing Team.

A new plate will be issued to you when possible. Please be aware that there may be a delay of up to 7 days for this service.


Lost property:

Requirement suspended for all lost property other than driving licences, passports. Advice to drivers to destroy/dispose of all other lost property.

Driving licences and passports to be delivered or posted to the town hall post box marked ‘For Attention of Licensing Team’.


Medicals

Medicals for existing drivers are suspended.

New drivers are still required to obtain a medical and the form.


Taxi Marshals

The taxi marshal scheme has been suspended. We will review the situation as soon as possible.


We understand that the changes outlined above have been introduced very quickly and we appreciate that some of these changes will make applications and processes more difficult for you in the short term. Please do contact the licensing team if you are having difficulty with any of the above processes.

Watford Borough Council are also planning for the medium to long term in terms of outcomes and how we may be able to support the trade in any way we can.  Please contact Jamie Mackenzie if you have any taxi/private hire related issues in terms of medium to long term outcomes you would like to raise.


 

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