These are the rules on wearing face masks in taxis and Ubers as public transport advice changes

By Alex Nelson
Monday, 15th June 2020, 1:14 pm
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 1:57 pm
(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

From 15 June, it is mandatory for people to wear face coverings on public transport in England.

It is the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a:

  • bus or coach
  • train or tram
  • ferry or hovercraft or other vessel
  • aircraft
  • cable car

But what about when riding in a taxi?

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    Here's everything you need to know:

    Do I have to wear a mask in a taxi?

    While you must wear a face covering by law when travelling on a bus or coach, train or tram, ferry or hovercraft or other vessel, aircraft, or cable car, the new rules do not apply to taxis or private hire vehicles.

    The Department for Transport advises that passengers “should” wear a face covering when making a journey, but you cannot be punished under the law for not doing so.

    However, they note that taxi drivers may be entitled to refuse to accept you if you are not wearing a face covering, and some high-profile taxi service companies have implemented new rules for customers.

    The best advice is to check the policies of the taxi or ride-sharing company before you travel.

    For instance, Uber recently announced drivers and passengers must wear face coverings across the UK.

    From 15 June, passengers and drivers will be allowed to cancel a trip without financial penalty if the other party is not wearing a face covering.

    Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said: “For months we’ve been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who make essential trips.

    “Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we’re taking measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy every time they use Uber.”

    In London, Uber drivers will be required to submit a photograph of themselves to verify they are following the new rules (Photo: Shutterstock)

    In London, drivers will be required to submit a photograph of themselves to verify they are following the new rule before they can begin working, and will also be asked to confirm they have taken additional safety measures such as regularly sanitising their car and washing their hands.

    The requirement for drivers to provide proof they are wearing a face covering could be extended from London to include the whole of the UK, Uber said.

    Other safety and hygiene measures introduced by the firm include trialling in-car partition screens in Newcastle, distributing more than two million masks to drivers and couriers, and sending 54,000 units of cleaning spray and hand sanitiser to drivers.

    What other precautions should I take?

    The Department for Transport advise that you follow the advice of your driver throughout the journey.

    “For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

    “You should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.

    “Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

    “When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

    “Keep a 2 metre distance from others during your journey, for example at taxi ranks.”

    For more information on the new public transport measures, head to the Department of Transport’s website