“WHBC, along with East Herts, HCC, St Albans and Stevenage, are members of the Community Reassurance Cell. Taxi drivers have been encouraged to attend online ‘Travel With Confidence’ training earning them accreditation that they can advertise plus they can claim £100 towards the cost of fitting the Perspex screen between passengers and the driver.
Can you please confirm how many drivers licensed with this Council have completed this training and further, how this opportunity was advertised to our drivers?”
The Leader asked Councillor Thomson (Executive Member, Governance, Public Health and Climate Change), to answer:-
Welwyn Hatfield Council, along with all other councils, the emergency services, health and other agencies is a member of the statutory Local Resilience Forum partnership. As part of the response to the covid19 pandemic, a formal response structure has been implemented to coordinate the response to and recovery from the covid19 pandemic. This includes a community reassurance cell, of which this council’s leader is a member and as well as a countywide multi-agency communications cell. This ensures consistent messages are sent throughout the county including the message outlined in this question about the “travel with confidence scheme”.
As a Council we are keen to support this initiative, the safety of both drivers and the travelling public are of the upmost importance to us and we are working hard to ensure all the necessary processes are in place to enable us to deliver this scheme to our licensed drivers and the travelling public.
Once these are in place, we will be advertising the scheme using the County wide communications toolkit that has been developed.
In the meantime, the team will continue to provide support and advice to drivers during the pandemic.
Councillor Birleson in a supplementary question asked that as this was important safety of drivers and public with the current pandemic, I would like Members to have a further report to Council to see how many drivers have taken the initiative up. Has this been advertised yet? I want to know when this will happen.
Councillor Thomson informed Members that this is a County wide initiative. Watford and East Herts are the two main Councils leading on this and to date they are the only two who have actually undertaken the scheme. It is important that we get the processes right and that is what the team will be doing. They will be contacting all the taxi drivers asking if they would like to join the scheme and explaining what would be involved including the benefits. Just for Members information, it is a two hour online scheme whereby the drivers will work through a series of questions and then there is an accreditation process following some questions to answer. We will absolutely be getting drivers on to the scheme and encourage them to. For Members awareness you will recall that the Hackney Carriage fares are due to increase on the 1 December 2020 so the team had been busy ensuring that all the taxi meters in the cars had been changed to ensure that this can go about on the date.