Wearing of face coverings by taxi/private hire car drivers and passengers

The Scottish Government have issued guidance for both the drivers of taxis and private hire cars and their passengers in relation to face coverings. For taxi drivers, only where the driver is behind a screen, it is not mandatory for the driver to wear a face covering, and this is optional for the driver. Face coverings are however mandatory for all taxi passengers, even where the driver is behind a screen with limited exemptions.

Young children (i.e. under 5s) are exempt from wearing a face covering as are those people, for example, with health conditions for whom a face covering would be inappropriate. Furthermore, where someone has a physical condition which makes it hard to keep a mask in place are also exempt.

There is not always a need for taxi or private hire drivers to wear a mask where the cab is empty, or where they are behind a screen however further advice applies.

It is recommended taxi drivers should minimise the number of times they are fitting/removing a mask as this can increase likelihood of infection where they are touching surfaces then the inside of the face mask.  Where a passenger has just left the taxi, there may be virus lingering in the air within the vehicle, and so good ventilation, cleaning and hygiene practices should be observed before any mask or face covering is removed.

Drivers, like the general population, should not be working if they are symptomatic or if someone they live with is symptomatic. Drivers in the clinically vulnerable group and extremely clinically vulnerable (shielding) group should follow government advice, as above. Drivers and passengers should remain at 2m distance. If maintaining 2m distance is not possible, drivers and passengers should face away from each other and face-to-face contact should be minimised. Windows should be kept open if possible and air conditioning/ventilation should be set to extract and not recirculate the air within the vehicle.

Any driver seeking exemption from wearing a face covering must provide a letter from their doctor explaining the reasons why this would be inappropriate for them. This will then be considered by the local authority and a decision taken on an individual basis.


Anyone found not complying with this legal requirement regarding the wearing of face coverings may be subject to enforcement action, which could result in a fine being issued, the taxi being taken off the road and the driver being subject to suspension procedures.

Updated information from the Scottish Government on the use of protective screen and safety advice for carrying passengers

The Scottish Government has provided information on the use of protective screens and safety advice for the carrying of passengers.

Further information on the use of protective screens within vehicles will be made available as soon as possible.

Customer Care Training for Taxi Driver’s

As part of the conditions of holding a Taxi/Private Hire Car Driver’s Licence, newly licensed  driver’s are required to attend a Customer Care Training Course within 6 months of the licence being granted. Given the Covid-19 situation, there will be no expectation on any driver who is due to attend the customer care training course to attend until the situation is resolved.

Knowledge Tests

Knowledge tests for new applicants have now resumed. Applications will not be accepted unless the knowledge test has been passed. Please contact licensing@west-dunbarton.gov.uk to make an appointment.

Vehicle Inspections – important update

DVSA have announced that extensions to expiry dates for Class 4 MOT’s will end on 1 August 2020.

Anyone whose vehicle is due a certificate of compliance examination on or after that date will now require a Class 4 MOT instead until such times as the Council’s MOT station re-opens.

Operators who have received a letter giving a 6 month extension on the expiry date of their existing Certificates of Compliance can continue until the additional 6 month period ends when they will require to have the vehicle tested. This will effect all those who were due an annual inspection between April and July and they will now require to be tested from October  to January respectively.

Anyone requiring a Change of Vehicle will still require to attend at a garage and obtain a Class 4 MOT. This includes any vehicle which is replaced with an insurance vehicle for a temporary period. Your original vehicle will also require a fresh MOT before it can resume operating.

Class 4 MOT’s should be sent electronically along with a vehicle registration document and valid certificate of insurance to licensing@west-dunbarton.gov.uk In the case of a Change of Vehicle a completed change of vehicle form should also be submitted. You can obtain a form on request via the licensing inbox address above.

We will be noting any advisory items detailed on MOT certificates. You must ensure that these advisory items are closely monitored and rectified as required.

Formal inspections will only resume when the MOT station re-opens.

If you wish to have a Change of Vehicle and the new vehicle has an existing MOT then you will be able to operate with this MOT until it’s expiry. MOT stations are unable to test vehicles with a valid MOT until they move into the last month of their validity.

Operator’s are reminded that they should ensure their vehicles are kept to the highest standard at all times and note the following points:-

Vehicle Bodywork

There should be no rust, dents, accident damage or missing body trims. Paintwork should be in good condition.

Vehicle Interior

The inside of the vehicle should be clean, tidy and well presented with no upholstery damage.


The vehicle must be maintained in MOT condition.

Operator’s must hold a valid insurance certificate at all times covering ‘hire and reward’.

We will be contacting you to request a copy of a valid insurance certificate as soon as the certificate held on file goes beyond the expiry date. This should be sent to us immediately on request to licensing@west-dunbarton.gov.

Meter Checks

Clydebank Zone

Following the conclusion of the Clydebank Taxi Fare Review many operators have attended for their meter check. Those who have still to have the meter check carried out  will be notified in April that they will be required to attend at an appointed date and time.

Any Clydebank Operator who changes their vehicle will also require a meter check and be allocated a date and time.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Zone

A taxi fare review is currently ongoing and at its conclusion operators will be advised of the arrangements for the meter checks to be carried out.

Any Dumbarton and Vale of Leven operator who changes their vehicle must provide evidence of their meter tariff being updated.

Carrying of Passengers

We understand that there may be some questions regarding the number of passengers being carried in taxis and private hire cars. If a driver wishes to limit the number of passengers being carried, below the licensed capacity of their vehicle, it will be at their own discretion. In particular, where possible, passengers should sit in the rear of the vehicle.

We will not be taking any enforcement action on anyone who decides to reasonably reduce the number of passengers which they will carry at any one time.

Temporary surrender of taxi licences

If you wish to put your vehicle off the road at this point in time you should notify us by email at licensing@west-dunbarton.gov.uk detailing the Plate number and Vehicle Registration of the vehicle(s) concerned.

When you are ready to resume operating you should also advise us in advance and provide a copy of your insurance before the vehicle goes back on the road.

Licence Renewals – important update

Currently, on good cause being shown, a licensing authority may deem an application for renewal of a licence made up to 28 days after the expiry of the licence to be an application made before the expiry. This period is now extended to 3 months during the duration of the coronavirus emergency.  This will be reviewed by the Licensing authority as required.

In practice, if your licence expires on 1 April 2020 you will now have until 1 July 2020 to submit an application for renewal at the latest. Similarly if your licence expires on 15 June 2020 you will now have until 15 September 2020 to submit an application for renewal at the latest. Failure to apply before the last available date will result in the expiry of your licence following which you would be required to submit a fresh application for a grant if you wished to continue operating. This would result in you having to wait between the period of grant application and the time it will take to process and issue the licence before you could resume.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

We will populate this section with responses to FAQ’s as they arise.

We will update this page with relevant information on an ongoing basis.

Q1. Can I continue to drive a taxi or private hire car during the current Covid-19 situation?

Yes as taxis are part of the transport sector. Please refer to www.gov.uk/coronavirus. However it is important that any driver who develops a  new persistent cough or high temperature should stay at home and follow government guidelines. If potential passengers display symptoms, direct them to NHS 111 and advise them not to make the journey.

Q2. Can I still apply for the grant or renewal of a taxi/private hire car driver’s licence or taxi/private hire car licence?

Yes. Applications can still be made online or by emailing licensing@west-dunbarton.gov.uk for an application form which can then be returned by email with the appropriate documentation. We will contact you to arrange payment.

If you are applying for the grant of a taxi/private hire car drivers licence we will contact you with specific instructions on providing your right to work documentation.