Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Davyfield Road depot has been a hive of activity as a fleet of ‘covid-safe’ cabs were prepped to roll out in Blackburn with Darwen.
Taxis and private hire vehicles in Blackburn with Darwen were booked in to be modified to provide extra protection for drivers and customers from coronavirus.
Blackburn with Darwen Council committed to fitting Perspex screens in all of the borough’s 1000 licensed cars and cabs to act as a barrier between the driver and their passengers.
Stickers have also been added to cars with important public health messaging as well as information on the covid-safe drive.
Along with the usage of face coverings, the move is designed to make vehicles ‘covid-safe’.
The Council has invested £64k in the project which has been backed by Pennine Lancashire licensing officers and Directors of Public Health from across Lancashire.
Taxi drivers from a BAME background have been identified as an ‘at-risk’ group, so this targeted intervention has been designed to reduce their likely rate of exposure to Covid-19 as well as the potential to transmit the virus to their customers.
The Council has funded the initial purchase and installation of screens with drivers responsible for replacements as and when necessary.
The Council has also been engaging with the trade, promoting Covid-safe practices. Taxi drivers are being encouraged to make use of the testing offer in the borough either via the Mobile Testing Units or the Regional Testing Unit at Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Mohmmed Amin Kapadia, driver and BwD Private Hire Driver Association rep, said:
This is a really good initiative and we are really thankful to the Council. We put forward the idea for a subsidy for the screens so we are really grateful that it has been fully paid for. Many drivers are not working at the moment because they don’t feel safe. These screens will make us feel more secure and hopefully the passengers will feel safer too. They will also encourage passengers to sit in the back seats of the car.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
I want to firstly thank taxi operators and drivers for the great work they do keeping our borough moving, especially during the pandemic.
This is a good move for the safety of both drivers and passengers and will help to reduce transmission of coronavirus. The screens are likely to provide added benefit, especially when coupled with the usage of face coverings.