Guidance for taxi and private hire car licence holders - Coronavirus

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance which has been issued by both the UK and Scottish Governments including through agencies such as DVSA, we have had to assess several operational matters including the testing of vehicles.

If you are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can have this information translated via contactSCOTLAND-BSL, the online British Sign Language interpreting service.

The garages ran by Fleet Services re-opened from Monday, 3rd August 2020. View guidance for Fleet repair depot site rules during COVID-19 (pdf 266KB). This guidance must be adhered to for all those presenting vehicles for testing and we reserve the right to refuse to test and charge for the appointment if this has not been followed.

Applications for new grants and renewals of both taxi and private hire vehicle licences can be accepted. Substitutions of vehicles will also now be permitted. All testing will continue through the January 2021 lockdown in terms of current restrictions. Should this change, operators will be contacted directly.

The situation with Coronavirus has been unprecedented. There were no tests of vehicles between the 30th March 2020 and the 3rd August 2020. This was an action that we did not take lightly. In order to deal with the lack of testing, the licensing authority: 

  • Published a notice and varied all vehicle licences granted within the 12 month period prior to the 30th of March 2020 to the effect that they are extended for a further 6 months. This will mean that all licences granted in the last year will automatically become 18 month licences from the date of grant. For the avoidance of doubt, this is subject to the condition that the licence holder must ensure that their vehicle remains safe, roadworthy and in such a condition that it would pass a vehicle inspection if presented to the Council. These vehicles started to renew in October and the garages were open for testing
  • Determined to temporarily suspend the requirement of vehicle licence holders to present their vehicles for testing every six months with effect from the 30th March 2020

View guidance for holders of Taxi and Private Hire Licences (pdf 137KB) ,which has been approved by Transport Scotland, endorsed by the Scottish Government and circulated to Licensing Authorities for publication on 13th August 2020. Operators should familiarise themselves with the terms of the guidance and ensure that they take appropriates steps to comply in operating their businesses going forward. 

Licensing authority notice for taxis and private hire vehicles 

This notice is given by Aberdeenshire Council as licensing authority for taxis and private hire vehicles under the Civic Government (Scotland ) Act 1982 ( hereinafter referred to as the licensing authority). This notice is given to the holders of all taxi and private hire vehicle licences issued by the licensing authority and is given in accordance with paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 to the Act which deals with variation of licences under the Act.

The licensing authority will vary all taxi licences and private hire vehicle licences granted in the twelve months prior to 30th March 2020. The duration of the licence is extended for a period of 6 months from the date of expiry of the licence whatever that may be. This will be subject to the condition that all licence holders must ensure that their cars are safe and roadworthy and would pass a vehicle inspection if presented to the licensing authority.

Any taxi licence holder whose licence is going to be subject to this variation and who wishes to object to the variation may do so by emailing licapps@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or by telephoning Peter Robertson, Senior Solicitor, Legal and Governance, 01467 530729 stating reasons why they object.

Protective screens in vehicles

In order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus in taxis and private hire vehicles the licensing authority will allow protective screens to be put in place between the front and passenger seats so long as the operator can confirm to the licensing authority in writing that the screens conform to the rules and that they have notified their insurers:

  • screens do not present a danger to the vehicle occupants or reduce or interfere with any vision either of mirrors or the view of the road ahead or to the side, either by obstruction or distortion
  • they must not be made out of material likely to shatter into sharp fragments or have sharp edges and so likely to cause injury
  • they should also be able to be rapidly removed to allow cross-cab access in the event of an accident blocking a cab door
  • they should not be in the vicinity of any driving controls or air bags preventing the proper operation of them, or be likely to be thrown by air bag actuation in such a way that injury could be caused by that

As and when Scottish Government guidance becomes available we will update our website.