The City of Wolverhampton Licensing Authority have not banned partitions.
Condition 2.1 of the licence for private hire vehicles states “No material alteration or change in the specification, design, condition or appearance of the vehicle shall be made without the prior approval of Licensing Services.”
Furthermore, in the cases where the company advertises itself on the partitions – Condition 5. SIGNS, NOTICES, ADVERTISEMENTS states “No signs, notices, advertisements, plates, marks, numbers, letters, figures, symbols, emblems or devices whatsoever shall be displayed on, in or from the vehicle without the express written permission of Licensing Services.”
Therefore, no partitions, screens, safety guards should have been fitted to any licensed vehicle without the prior approval of Licensing Services. No approval has been given to any vehicle proprietor and as such any screens fitted are in breach of their licence condition.
The safety of the public is of paramount importance to the Licensing Authority and as such, much like the Government, we follow the science. There is no evidence available that demonstrates that partitions reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 infection. Partitions do not provide a fully sealed compartment which completely separates the driver from the passenger. Therefore, whilst it is possible that partitions might reduce the risk of transmission of infection, the risk would not be eliminated entirely.
The current position of the Licensing Authority is that prior approval for partitions are not being authorised.
Following specialist opinion from Public Health, drivers who are licensed with City of Wolverhampton Council are advised that they should wear a face-covering at all times when passengers are inside their vehicle. Passengers travelling within the vehicle must use a face-covering unless they have a medical condition preventing the use of face coverings.
City of Wolverhampton drivers are hereby authorised to refuse carriage to people who do not have a medical exemption and who refuse to wear a face covering.
Where a face covering cannot be worn for medical reasons, the passenger is expected to sit in the rear of the vehicle and as far away from the driver as possible. The windows should, where practicable, be open for the entire journey to provide adequate ventilation.
On those occasions when a driver is asked to prove his identity, the face-covering may be temporarily removed.