As the nation emerges from the current lockdown it’s obviously a worrying time for taxi drivers. But it’s not only important to get out there and start earning again, you’ll also want to do it as safely as possible.


The safety of you and your loved ones as well as your customers has to come first. Along with having adequate taxi insurance, wearing a face mask is a key way to ensure you’re safe when working and are protected from passengers passing on the virus.


So, what are the current rules on wearing face masks? And how can you do your bit to protect the public during the COVID-19 crisis?


What is a face mask?


For the purpose of this article, the term face mask can include any face covering.


It doesn’t include surgical masks or respirators that should only be used by health workers or others needing personal protective equipment.


Face masks can be disposable or reusable and obtained either online or in shops. A face mask can even be a simple home-made cloth covering as long as it covers your nose and mouth.


Three face masks paced on a table

Why do you need to wear a face mask?


The current mandatory face mask measures for travelling on public transport doesn’t cover taxi and private hire vehicles.


However, taxi and private hire regulators such as Transport for London have stated that drivers “should” wear a face mask at all times. This guidance is intended to mirror the arrangements put in place for public transport.


So why wear a face mask? The latest scientific advice states that while a face mask is unlikely to stop you getting the virus, it can stop you from infecting others if you’re infected, thereby helping to control the spread.


Recent research from Germany suggests face masks can reduce the daily growth in reported infections by around 40%.


Face masks are particularly effective where the two-metres social distancing guidance is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in a taxi or private hire vehicle.


Face masks for drivers


Face masks are important for drivers in view of the amount of interaction they have with passengers. When wearing a face mask, it’s important drivers continue to follow government guidance.


  • The face mask should cover your mouth and nose whilst allowing you to breathe comfortably.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser every time you take it off or put it on.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Used face masks should be stored in a plastic bag until they can be washed or disposed of appropriately.
  • Don’t touch the front of the face mask.
  • Once removed, make sure to clean any surfaces the mask has touched.
  • Wash your face mask regularly.


Following this guidance is essential to ensure the effectiveness of face masks.


A man wearing a mask in a coat standing outside a modern office building

Face masks for passengers


The guidance for passengers is similar to that for drivers. The Department for Transport has advised that passengers ‘should’ wear a face mask when making a journey by taxi.


Both taxi and PHV drivers ‘may be entitled to refuse’ to carry passengers who refuse to wear a face mask.


However, drivers should take into account individual circumstances. For example, face coverings shouldn’t be used by children under three or those who find it difficult to manage them correctly, such as primary age children, people with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities makes it difficult for them to wear a face covering.


The advice goes on to ask passengers to follow any requests issued by a driver during the journey.


These might include being asked to sit in the back left-hand seat furthest away from the driver. Passengers are also advised to use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.


Tips on personal and vehicle hygiene


Your taxi is not just a vehicle, it’s your livelihood. That’s why it’s vital to not only protect it with specialist taxi insurance but also follow the most up-to-date personal and vehicle hygiene advice.

  • Wear a face mask.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser.
  • Regularly clean door handles, window controls and seat belts.
  • If handling cash, wash your hands afterwards.
  • Regularly clean card payment devices and partitions.
  • If you’re using a shared vehicle, regularly clean the steering wheel and instruments.
  • Ask passengers to handle their own bags and belongings.
  • Have hand sanitiser gel readily available.
  • Avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation.
  • Use vents to bring in fresh air or lower the windows.
  • Maintain a two-metre distance from people wherever possible.
  • If social distance cannot be maintained, avoid physical contact with others.
  • Keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible.
  • Stay aware of the surfaces you or your passengers touch.


A mask next to a bottle of hand santiser

The 5-point pledge


Taxi manufacturer LEVC recently launched a campaign to support safe city journeys. It included a suggested 5-point pledge for drivers to make to provide passengers with reassurance.


The pledge is useful for all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers to bear in mind.


After all along with having the correct taxi insurance it demonstrates to your customers and other drivers that you take their safety seriously.


The taxi driver 5-point pledge includes:

  1. I will never work if I or any of my household have symptoms.
  2. I will clean my taxi after every journey, and at the end of my shift.
  3. I will wear a mask when it is necessary for me to do so.
  4. I will encourage passengers to pay by card where possible.
  5. I will not allow passengers to sit on the seats closest to the driver, to maintain a safe distance.


The specialist team at Taxi Insurer understands the huge challenges drivers have encountered due to COVID-19 and the lockdown.


There are several ways we can help. For example, interest-free payment plans are available to make your taxi insurance more manageable at this testing time.


We’ve spent decades working with our trusted panel of insurers to make sure you’re in safe hands whatever the risks out there.


Get a quote today.


Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.