Taxi (hackney carriage) and private hire
A hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are forms of public transport with a maximum of eight passenger seats. They are licensed to either ply for hire (taxi) or must be pre-booked (private hire vehicle). Taxis can stand at ranks, private hire vehicles cannot.
Fares for taxis are set by the council and this is called a 'tariff'. A meter is installed within the vehicle and this must be on at the start of the hiring. The fare for a private hire can be on a meter, but this is set by the operator. A fee should always be agreed before the hiring.
Type of licences
Anyone who wants to operate private hire vehicles must have an operator's licence.
Anyone who uses a vehicle for carrying passengers, upto 8, must either be licensed as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle. Only a licensed driver can drive, at any time, a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle.
Please note that the council will not issue any new hackney carriage licences unless the vehicle is wheelchair accessible.
Vehicles used mainly for weddings and funerals are exempt. Please check with the council.
It's illegal for a private hire vehicle to 'tout' or 'ply for hire' on the street and passengers may not be insured be insured for their journey. Private hire vehicles can't have any wording inside or on the vehicle, which includes the word taxi, cab or the like, to give the impression that they are a taxi. They can have the name and phone number of the firm printed on the vehicle. They must carry signs on the front doors of the vehicle signs saying Private Hire, Advanced Bookings Only.
Renewal of licences
Once a renewal application is received, with the required documents and all the checks are complete, it will be deemed to be issued unless the current licence has been revoked or suspended. However, it is up to the applicant to ensure that they have had the licence renewed.
Recent changes to the law
There have been a number of recent changes to the law affecting hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers and private hire vehicle operators.
We now can't grant a licence to anyone unless a check has been made to verify that the person isn't disqualified from driving a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle because of his or her immigration status.
This means that all applicants, including UK passport holders, have to attend their nearest licensing office in person with original documents (passport or other acceptable documents) demonstrating that they have the right to work in the UK.
As well as checks to establish whether a person is “fit and proper,” we won't be able to grant a driver or operator’s licence unless we're satisfied an applicant has the right to remain and work in the UK.
While we're able to grant such licences to people who are subject to immigration control and only have a limited time to remain in the UK, they can only be granted for a specified period and that period must end at or before the period of permission to remain.
For more information, see the Home Office factsheet on illegal working.
Please ensure you read the council's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.