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 in light of additional measures and guidance announced by the government 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 process – 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 September 23rd 2020 we are advising and reminding all customers – at the point of booking – of the mandatory legal requirement to wear a face covering when travelling in a taxi unless they are in one of the exempt groups. We are doing this via the text and Whatsapp messages that confirm each booking made and also verbally on our phone lines as well as during the actual booking process. These reminders cover all booking methods; phone; web and App.
- In line with the mandatory legislation issued for September 23rd 2020 children aged under 11 are an exempt group and will not be required to wear a face covering whilst in the taxi.
- With effect from 23rd September 2020 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. In all circumstances, it is the passenger that remains liable if a breach of this law is enforced by the police.
- 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 an dish to resolve the issue by purchasing one.
- Where a Police officer or Council official requests it Panther drivers will remove their face covering for the purposes of identification; all Panther drivers have been advised of this requirement.
- We are asking and facilitating employees (dispatch, admin and booking staff as well as management) to work from home, unless it is essential that they come in for their role and over 95% 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 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.
- Disinfectant 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.
- Luggage – where possible ask customers to load and unload luggage for this period only. If the customer is unable to lift their bags, wipe the handles before lifting the luggage into the vehicle yourself. At the end of the journey simply wipe the handles 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. Guidance has now been given to drivers to wear a face mask while they are carrying customers and that hand sanitiser should be available to customers.
ADDITIONAL PAYMENT METHODS
To reduce the risk of transmission we have implemented and promoted additional contactless payment options for customers, though the following
Card payment via our app for journeys and deliveries 👉🏼 http://onelink.to/juygke
Secure payment through a web portal once a vehicle has been dispatched via an SMS web link. – effectively turning cash journeys into contactless payment journeys where utilised by the customer.
Partitioned vehicle availability: (covers all makes/models of vehicle):
Our self-employed drivers have taken it upon themselves to offer additional safety measures for Covid-19, to themselves and customers, by fitting partitions into their vehicles. Requests for a vehicle with a partition may be made via App; phone or web by selecting vehicle type as ‘partition’.
LIMITING PASSENGER NUMBERS
In-line with Government guidance we have implemented a policy of limiting the number of passengers that a vehicle can carry so as to protect driver and customers. The following guidance is therefore currently adhered to:
No customer should sit in the front of the vehicle unless both the customer and driver agree by mutual consent, but our advice is to avoid this.
- Maximum of three passengers per saloon vehicle.
- If there are four passengers a five-seater vehicle will be sent (at no additional cost)
- If there are five passengers a six-seater vehicle will be sent
- If there are six people travelling a seven or eight-seater will be sent.
- In the interest of safety, we will no longer be able to dispatch a vehicle that can carry seven or more passengers.
- The above Panther safety rule has been superseded by DFT guidance effective from 23rd September 2020 which confirms taxi travel is governed by the ‘Rule of 6’ legislation thus Panther Taxis and its booking staff will be adhering with this until further notice:
- The ‘Rule of 6’ restricts gatherings of more than 6 people in any place unless they are members of the same household, support bubble, or an exception applies.
The Department for Transport has confirmed that this applies to journeys conducted by taxi and private hire vehicles unless the journey involves an exception. Therefore vehicles capable of carrying more than 6 passengers must ensure that for routine journeys no more than 6 passengers are carried.
- Drivers are not counted for the purposes of calculating 6 passengers – the driver is exempt as it is their place of work.
This policy will be constantly reviewed based on Government advice.
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 and Government advice closely and stands ready to make necessary changes to help protect our passengers, employees and drivers.
Policy written by Paul Clare, General Manager, April 2020
Updated: May 2020
Updated: September 2020 upon new Govt. guidelines and changes to law.
Review schedule: ongoing – in line with Government and PHE advice and any additions to Panthers facilities.