COVID-19 Vaccine: Why Should Taxi and Private Hire Drivers Be Prioritised?

January 19, 2021
Matt Payne

Taxi and private hire drivers have been essential in maintaining the UK’s transport sector throughout the pandemic. The flexibility of their service means they are often used by NHS and other frontline staff, but have struggled to get recognition as key workers themselves.

High-risk Demographic  

It has been widely covered in the media that taxi and private hire drivers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that road transport drivers have one of the highest death rates of any sector.  

As you can see from the table, out of all the types of driver, it is taxi drivers and chauffeurs that are most at risk. Accounting for 69% of the total deaths for this group.  But it’s not just drivers that are at risk if they aren’t prioritised for the vaccine.  

Vulnerable Passengers  

While 60% of the UK population don’t regularly use taxis, the remaining 40% more than makes up for this. These journeys average out across the entire population at approximately 62 miles per person per year, in taxi journeys.  

The elderly and disabled are common taxi users, along with young and unaccompanied children on school runs. Due to their flexibility, taxi and private hire services are disproportionately used by these demographics.  

If taxi drivers aren’t considered a priority for the vaccine it could be a fatal oversight. If they are regularly dealing with the most vulnerable members of our society, they should be able to have everything they need to help protect them. In this case, having the vaccine.  


Trade Campaign  

The Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) have been leading the charge. They have been lobbying the government to recognise the unique situation of drivers in the industry and the risk posed to them as the economy reopens.  

Steve Wright MBE, Chairman of the LPHCA has sent the following letter to MP’s:

“Dear Ministers,
I write to government on behalf of all the Trade Bodies set out below to strongly advocate that taxi & Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) drivers are given a high-priority vaccination status.
You will be aware that Taxi & PHV drivers are in the very high-risk category group and that sadly the associated mortality rate as borne out by Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures is extremely high.
Not only is there an extreme risk for drivers but, of course, the same applies to passengers due to close proximity, which in turn, adds to the risk of onward transmission/super spreading.
Our industry has been asked to support the NHS, nursing establishments, other modes of transport, the elderly, the vulnerable, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), key worker and educational support transportation.
We do, of course, respect the absolute priority set out in the Independent report by the Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which identifies the priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination (updated 6 January 2021) but wish to add that Taxi and PHV drivers need to be included/added.
Yours sincerely,
Steve Wright MBE”


The LPHCA has sent this letter on behalf of the following trade organisations:  

  • Chauffeur & Executive Committee  
  • City of Salford Private Hire Association  
  • Driver Guides Association  
  • Durham Licensed Taxi Association  
  • GMB Professional Drivers Branch  
  • Greater Manchester Drivers Federation  
  • London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC)  
  • Private Hire Board
  • Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA)  
  • National Private Hire & Taxi Association (NPHTA)  
  • Scottish Licensed Private Hire Car Association  
  • Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association (SHPHA)  
  • South Cambridge Executive Operators  
  • Unite the Union (Cab Section)  
  • United Cabbies Group  
  • Welsh Licensed Private Hire Car Association  
  • York Private Hire Association  

If you belong to an organisation listed here, we would encourage you to contact the LPHCA to see what you can do to help in their campaign. It’s only by working together that the trade can bring attention to the urgent need for drivers to be vaccinated.

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