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Advice For Private Hire Drivers In Dealing With The Risk Of The Coronavirus

During this time of quarantine, essential sectors are still working. Much praise has been given to the brave staff of the NHS - and quite rightly so. As a private hire operator licensed by TfL, we’d like to give some advice to private hire drivers, helping them to carry out their duties in a safer environment.

Bus, train, taxi and private hire drivers keep London moving and provide an important service for society to function. Some may have heard the terrible news about several bus drivers dying of Covid-19. This may or may not be a direct result of contracting the virus at work, but the possibility is very real. There has been a shocking lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) given to those people providing an essential service in the UK and around the world.

Some bus drivers, as well as taxi and private hire drivers, have been using their own personal protective equipment in order to try and remain safe. Some drivers have even resorted to making their own face masks, which, as we know, are not N95 standard. The lack of PPE for our NHS workers is common knowledge. PPE for other services is also a huge issue. Misinformation doesn’t help either. The use of face masks, for example, has come with mixed messages. Many governments have decided to not recommend their use, as this would inevitably lead to a shortage, deeper than the one we are already in.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads mostly by touching an infected surface, then transferring that infection (from your hands) directly to your mouth or eyes. Therefore, the face, eyes and hands must be protected and at no time should you touch your face, unless you have washed your hands. The use of hand sanitiser is recommended only when you do not have access to wash facilities. Hand sanitiser is not intended to be a replacement for vigorous handwashing.

We have put together some advice for private hire drivers who have decided to carry on working, so that you can try to deal with the threat of Covid-19 effectively.

  • Use a face mask, if you can get them. If not, make your own

  • If you have goggles, use them - as long as they don’t impair your vision of the road

  • Do not shake a customer’s hand and avoid any face-to-face contact

  • Remain seated in the car unless it becomes necessary to get out

  • If you have one, use the automatic boot release button for the customer to use

  • Avoid turning around and looking at the customer

  • Avoid customers sitting on the front seat

  • Keep the car interior and exterior door handles and door frame clean by using anti-bacterial cloths before and after each service

  • If possible, use disposable gloves whilst wiping all surfaces, and discard the gloves responsibly by removing from the wrist and turning inside-out

  • Do not provide water bottles or any other food/snacks in the car

  • Remove all tissue boxes. Viruses could remain active on the box

  • Keep a window slightly open to allow fresh air in

The above are guidelines to help mitigate the risks involved in continuing to drive as a private hire driver. The best option would be to stay at home. This saves lives and reduces pressure on the NHS. However, if you feel it’s necessary to continue driving, then please take on-board the advice given.

Stay safe.

Blackwing Executive Chauffeurs