These are the rules around taking taxis during lockdown - and how to stay safe

If you usually rely on taxis to get you to the shops or hospital appointments, you may be confused about current lockdown rules. 

Can I take a taxi under lockdown? 

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Taxis are still operating during the current lockdown. However, taxis may only be taken for the following “essential” purposes, as outlined by the government: 

-For travelling to and from work if you can’t do it from home

-For taking one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household

-Shopping for basic necessities (though trips should be kept to a minimum)

-Attending medical appointments or providing care for a vulnerable person

The restrictions on gatherings of more than two people outside of the same household don’t apply to passengers in cars.

Any businesses providing road passenger transportation have been designated as “critical” by the government, so taxi drivers are allowed to work by law.

However, each individual taxi service may have different policies in place, so ring up or check their website to be sure.

Can I use services like Uber and Lyft under lockdown? 

Same as ordinary taxi drivers, drivers who operate with ride-hailing companies are allowed to work.

However, most of these companies are encouraging customers to only travel if absolutely necessary. Uber has warned passengers, for instance: 

"We’re reminding everyone who uses Uber to follow advice from public health authorities," its website says.

"If you’re sick, stay home and away from others. Wash your hands frequently, and cover your cough or sneeze."

Uber has also suspended the accounts of drivers who have, or have been exposed to coronavirus, and ride-sharing options are not available.

Competitors Bolt and Ola have also put out similar messages urging passengers to only travel with them for essential reasons, and to practice good hygiene.

How can I keep myself safe as a driver or user of taxis under lockdown?

There are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe while in a taxi, whether you’re a passenger or a driver. If you’re a passenger:

-Always sit in the back seat of the car to maintain a distance 

-Choose contactless payments, rather than cash if possible

-Wash your hands thoroughly when you get home and avoid touching your face before you have done this 

-Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately throw it away

If you’re a driver:

-Consider carrying hand sanitiser and/or sanitising wipes in your car to clean your hands and wipe down any high-touch surfaces between passengers

-Wash your hands thoroughly after every shift and avoid touching your face with unclean hands

-Ask passengers to lift their own luggage where possible

-Encourage passengers to sit in the back seat

-Cough and sneeze into tissues to be immediately thrown away

You should never give rides or take taxi rides if you suspect you might have coronavirus or feel generally unwell.