With the issues of health and safety rightly at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the wellbeing of our passengers, drivers and employees is Panther Taxis’ number one priority.

We continue to offer a full service to all passengers and customers for your essential travel needs and also delivery services during this period. In line with UK Government advice, we have a clear set of guidelines and procedures around managing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protecting our people, passengers and self-employed driver partners, whilst we maintain that service continuity.

This policy is continually reviewed and updated considering additional measures and guidance announced by the government/local government and/or HSE and/or DfT to manage the spread of COVID-19 and with new initiatives by Panther Taxis to protect all parties.

WHAT WE AND OUR SELF-EMPLOYED DRIVERS ARE DOING

At the core of our policy is an adherence to Public Health England (PHE) guidelines – issued by the UK Government and regularly updated.

  • While we continue to provide a full service to passengers and a delivery service, we are promoting the guidance among our customer base that – if local or national lockdown rules are in place – their journey should be essential and within current lockdown guidance before booking.
  • We are continuously reinforcing, through a variety of mediums, PHE precautions to our drivers and employees to help prevent spreading of COVID-19.
  • We are asking passengers, where we can, through the booking and dispatch processes – to follow UK Government and PHE/NHS guidelines and ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 before they book or travel with us.  
  • As of 19th July 2021, we are strongly advising, but not making it mandatory (in line with govt. guidance/law) that our self-employed drivers wear a mask or face covering whilst passengers are in the vehicle.  We are further advising drivers to ask passengers to wear masks before the journey commences and acknowledge that drivers have a right to do this. We are further advising that all such conversations are conducted with mutual responsibility foremost in mind on the part of both parties.
  • As of 19th July 2021, we are advising and recommending all customers – at the point of booking by various means – to wear a face covering when travelling in a taxi unless they are in one of the exempt groups, in line with Govt. guidelines and expectations. We are doing this via the text and WhatsApp messages that confirm each booking made and verbally on our phone lines as well as during the actual booking process and on our website.  These reminders cover all booking methods; phone; web and App.
  • In line with the Govt advice for Step 4 easing of restrictions effective July 19th 2021, children aged under 11 are not expected or required to wear a mask/face covering whilst in the taxi.
  • With effect from 19th July 2021 and until further notice a licensed driver reserves the right to refuse to undertake a journey if a customer without exemption refuses to wear a face covering for the journey, with the proviso that this is executed in a non-discriminatory way. Licensed drivers have been advised as to the correct protocol in these instances and how to expediently do all they can to help the traveller make alternative substitute arrangements for another vehicle via our Control Room. 
  • We have made it permissible but not obligatory for drivers to carry a small quantity of masks that they can sell for no more than £1 to customers who find themselves without a covering at the start of a journey and wish to resolve the issue by purchasing one. 
  • Where a Police officer or Council official requests it Panther drivers will remove any masks being used for the purposes of identification; all Panther drivers have been advised of this requirement.
  • We are continuing to ask and are facilitating employees (dispatch, admin and booking staff as well as management) to work from home where possible and over 90% of shifts are now carried out remotely. Within the office, we are facilitating social distancing and providing sanitising equipment and commensurate guidance.
  • We have developed new interim emergency practices and automated procedures using technology in order to negate the need for drivers to attend the office in person except in exceptional circumstances and when they do – strict social distancing and sanitising rules are being adhered too.
  • Similarly, PPE equipment that we are providing to the self-employed drivers is distributed to them in a safe and socially distanced, controlled manner.
  • We are requiring drivers who are exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with the Coronavirus: high temperature or a new, continuous dry cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – to stay at home and seek a test.  We are facilitating lateral flow testing for any drivers requiring the same.
  • As of 19th July 2021, we are continuing to offer the public the facility of booking a vehicle with a partition and we have circa 300 vehicles with such a partition. Local councils (regulators of the self-employed drivers) have confirmed that partitions can remain in place regardless of the government’s Step 4 easing of restrictions.

We have advised drivers on the protocols and methods for seeking a test. Reproduced below is the advice continually being reinforced with drivers and the practices they are adopting on a per-job and daily basis in-keeping with PHE guidance.

  • Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes. Dispose of used tissues in a bin as soon as possible – you could carry bin liners in your car for you and your customers. Double bag all used tissues.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, or if not possible use sanitiser gel, to kill germs.
  • Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes. Dispose of used tissues in a bin as soon as possible – you could carry bin liners in your car for you and your customers. Double bag all used tissues.
  • Hand Sanitisers – This should be used before and after each passenger enters the vehicle – wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – do not shake hands with customers and avoid direct contact.
  • Antibacterial wipes – Internal and external door handles and card payment machines should be wiped after use by passengers and when they have left the vehicle ready for the next passenger. 
  • Disinfectant spray – you should spray the interior of your vehicle with a disinfectant spray after each job, ensure you’re out of the vehicle when using the spray and do not enter the vehicle for 2 mins after the spray has been used and then open all windows so that any odours can be removed ready for the next passengers. Most journeys are at least 30 mins apart so this should have no impact on customers. 
  • Always carry a spare stock of masks for use by yourself or the public travelling in your vehicle.
  • Luggage – you are still required to give reasonable assistance with luggage and other cargo. Advice is to wipe the handles with antibacterial wipes before lifting the luggage into the vehicle yourself. At the end of the journey simply wipe the handles again before you pass the luggage back to the customer. 
  • End of shift/beginning of shift/change of driver – ensure your vehicle is deep cleaned using antibacterial agents, including steering wheel, mats, windows and all other instruments not forgetting interior and exterior handles will need greater attention. This is particularly important if you share the vehicle with another driver.

Various monitoring strategies are in place to help maintain standards among the self-employed fleet and Panther Taxis Ltd retain the right to restrict or remove access to the self-employed services they provide if the need arises with any such instances being treated on its own merits using our established procedures and protocols.

Additional measures – adhering to guidance:

We are supplying our self-employed drivers with approved three-layer face masks and hand sanitisers where they request them.  

ADDITIONAL PAYMENT METHODS

To reduce the risk of transmission we have implemented and promoted additional contactless payment options for customers, through the following:

All vehicles have in-car card payment facilities including contactless.

Card payment via our app for passenger journeys and deliveries: http://onelink.to/juygke

Please note the app now facilitates your phones native pay method: apple pay/android pay.

Card payment via our web booker see here: https://book.panthertaxis.co.uk/login

LIMITING PASSENGER NUMBERS

In-line with government guidance effective from 19th July 2021 onwards we are no longer limiting the passenger numbers in vehicles and normal licensing restrictions now apply again.

However where possible, we will facilitate any customer requests to send larger/suitable vehicles (or send more than 1 vehicle) where they may wish to limit passenger numbers in vehicles and/or in the front of vehicles of their own volition.   For the avoidance of doubt, drivers are not counted for the purposes of calculating passenger numbers and babes-in-arms are counted.

DELIVERIES

We currently offer a delivery service and click and collect collaboration with some suppliers. This can be accessed via our booking App of by calling us.

Guidance on the delivery of post, goods, prescriptions and parcels does not currently identify a known specific risk that people can contract COVID-19 through receiving parcels. However, as a precautionary measure, if you are receiving a parcel or package direct to your home, our drivers will knock on your door or alert you (using masked calling) to their arrival; place your parcel on the doorstep and step away to a safe distance of at least 2 metres so that you can collect it personally. If you are receiving a parcel in a workplace environment, our drivers may leave the parcel with an appropriate member of staff, such as a receptionist or security guard, following the same safety procedures.

Panther Taxis Ltd will continue to monitor PHE/HSE/DfT and government advice closely and stands ready to make necessary changes to help protect our passengers, employees and drivers.

Version 1.3. Policy written by Paul Clare, General Manager, April 2020

Updated: May 2020

Updated: September 2020 upon new Govt. guidelines and changes to law.

Updated: July 2021 upon new Govt. guidelines, Step 4 easing of restrictions.

Review schedule: ongoing in-line with Government/PHE/HSE/DfT advice and any additions to Panther’s facilities.