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SAFETY screens aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus are being fitted between the front and rear seats of some of Liverpool’s taxis.

Liverpool City Council’s Licensing Team has joined forces with locally-based Car ‘N’ Cab Care to promote the safety screens to keep both drivers and passengers safe.

The screens take less than an hour to install and have been designed so passengers can still communicate with the driver. They  also include a special ‘letterbox’ through which passengers can safely pay the fare.

The screens cost just over £300 to make and install for a typical saloon car.

Many of the city’s drivers have been unable to work during the lockdown period due to social distancing rules.

Liverpool taxi driver Mike Pennington was one of the first to have the screen fitted. He said: “The lockdown period has been a terrible time for the trade. I haven’t worked for six weeks because there are so few passengers.

“I also wasn’t prepared to go back until there were some extra precautions in place. These screens couldn’t have come at a better time and the council has done a great job in inspecting them and passing them as safe to use so quickly.”

Cllr Christine Banks, chair of Liverpool City Council’s Licensing Committee, said: “The safety of both drivers and the travelling public is the number one priority for us but we also want to do our bit to get the city moving again, get our drivers back into work and support the local economy.

“Whilst it is not compulsory for drivers to have a screen and there is a cost to having them fitted, we feel many more of the city’s drivers will come forward to get them fitted.”

Shaun Marnell of Car ‘N’ Cab Care, who designed the screens, said: “When the coronavirus outbreak first began I realised it was going to mean big changes for the industry. As a father, I thought to myself that there is no way I would let my child travel in a cab or taxi unprotected, which is where the idea for the screen came from.

“We put together the prototype in just under two days.”