Keep the meter running – how to ensure passengers feel taxis are safe

23 November 2020

For those travelling by bus or train we know that a ‘Covid safe’ environment is a current top priority. Passengers want visible evidence that vehicles are clean and face-covering rules are being enforced, and information that helps them plan a socially distanced journey.

But what about those travelling by taxi to make that essential journey to work or the shops or, if restrictions allow, home from a pub or restaurant?

Government guidance published last week details the actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles in England can take to protect against coronavirus. It covers the key areas of cleaning, face coverings and social distancing.

We asked people what would be most important to them when considering travelling by taxi. More than half of those in our latest report say that the driver wearing a mask is most important. Around half say that a screen between the driver and passenger is important. Other top asks include the ability to make a contactless payment, having hand sanitiser available and being able to open the windows.

We asked passengers to tell us how their recent taxi journeys were. Our survey found that almost nine in 10 of those who travelled by taxi felt safe doing so.

“Everything was fine. Both myself and the driver wore masks and there was a screen between me and the driver.”

“The taxi journey was as a normal journey. I just had to wear a face mask and made sure I used hand sanitiser afterwards.”

On the other hand, among those who haven’t used a taxi in the last four weeks just less than half say that they would feel safe to do so.

This is a similar story to bus and rail where our research highlights a gap between the views and experience of those people actually using public transport and the perceptions of those who aren’t.

The taxi industry, like bus and train operators, must continue to demonstrate that it is rising to the challenge to keep its passengers feeling safe.

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