Addison Lee, London’s largest fully licensed Private Hire Operator, has announced that it will become the first private hire operator to install partition screens between drivers and passengers across its fleet of 4000 vehicles, starting next week.
The move comes as findings from a survey of Addison Lee’s largest customers reveals that 80% of them will review policies around how employees get to and from work, with 90% citing safety as their priority when it comes to using minicabs or taxis.
The installation of screens builds on Addison Lee’s suite of existing safety measures, introduced ahead of Government and Transport for London guidance, which already sees drivers provided with protective equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and disinfectant. The company also employs an electrostatic antimicrobial cleanse of vehicles and facilitates social distancing using the rear seats of its seven-seater vehicles.
Addison Lee CEO Liam Griffin said, “If London is to gradually get moving again as the government adjusts its advice, it is vital to ensure that the public transport network is not overwhelmed, and that people have a clean and safe way to travel as they go back to work. This represents an enormous challenge for policy makers, businesses and commuters in the capital. Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) passenger services with strong safety and environmental standards are vital to ensuring individual car users do not swamp London’s roads, as has been seen in other countries where lockdowns have lifted.
“The safety of our drivers and our passengers is our biggest priority. We know there is significant demand from drivers, passengers, businesses and the general public for more to be done to make transport cleaner and safer as we go back to work – including calls for the introduction of partition screens into private hire vehicles. That’s why we have taken the decision to begin rolling out the installation of safety screens between drivers and passenger seats.”
Addison Lee has worked closely with a designer and manufacturer of the screens to ensure that they provide enhanced safety to drivers and passengers. The safety screens are flame retardant, securely fitted, shatterproof and clear so as not to impede the driver’s visibility and enable clear communication between the passenger and driver. Details of the product, along with its adherence to International Safety Standards, and images of how it is fitted have already been shared with TfL.
Griffin added, “We have a duty of care to our drivers, and we know that across the industry drivers have started to install a variety of home-made partitions. By implementing a single, tested model in each of our vehicles, we can ensure that the solution we are providing is safe and effective for both passengers and drivers.
“Our dedicated fleet management and driver liaison teams are unique for such a large operator as ourselves. We know who is driving for us and we have regular communication with them so we can work with drivers to support them with the safe and speedy installation of these screens.”