This year has been particularly difficult for private hire drivers due to the covid-19 pandemic. Even people looking to become private hire drivers have had the opportunity put on hold due to Transport for London not accepting new applications.
From Sunday 20 December, London and all its 32 boroughs were put into Tier 4 restrictions. Which in other words is another Lockdown. From Wednesday 23 December more counties in the UK were added to the tier 4 restrictions, these includes Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, Hampshire and more parts of Essex & Surrey.
Tier 4 Restrictions for Private Hire Drivers in London
On top of all the other restrictions imposed due to covid-19, private hire drivers working in London will also need to keep the following points in mind.
As you cannot work from home, you may still logon to work and pick up fares. The official advice states that people should not leave their homes or be outside without a specific purpose or reasonable excuse. As a driver your excuse is, you cannot work from home for obvious reasons.
You cannot meet people indoors, including over the Christmas period. Obviously, you can be around your own family that you live with. This rule will sadly affect the number of jobs available as most people will remain home.
If you do go outdoors for any purpose that’s not for work, you can only meet one person from another household.
There are no exemptions on Christmas day, like people in tier 1,2 and 3.
The government’s official advice to Private Hire Driver in London is to continue to operate as normal. However, you are asked to remain vigilant and keep following the Government guidance and TfL’s guidance on how to protect yourself and others.
So, continue to wear your facemask and make sure your passengers are also wearing their facemasks (unless exempt). Keep your vehicle clean inside, you can watch TfL videos on best practices to do this. TfL are providing complimentary care packs which include facemasks, stickers and hand sanitiser for drivers.
Private Hire Applications during Tier 4 Restriction and Lockdown
Transport for London are continuing to not accept new Private Hire applications due to staff shortage and driver assessment centres for the topographical skills test have all also been closed until 2021.
Vehicle Inspections during Tier 4 Restrictions and Lockdown
Transport for London are keeping all vehicle inspections centres open throughout the restriction period and have put in extra safety measures in place. Don’t forget to wear a facemask if you attend one of the centres.
Financial Help for Private Hire Driver in London
As drivers are self-employed, they can use the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which has been setup by the government. You can apply for this online. There are also third part grants available, you can apply for these if you were or are impacted by the coronavirus between 1 Nov 2020 and 29 Jan 2021.
The taxable grant allows you to claim 80% of your average monthly trading profits and it is paid out in a single instalment to cover you for 3 months. This is capped at £7,500 and if you are eligible you must claim by 29 Jan 2021.
We hope everyone stays healthy and safe over the coming months and look forward to seeing the Private Hire industry recover from the impacts of covid-19 over the course of 2021. We will keep our drivers up to date with any information or news relating to TfL Private Hire drivers.