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Tuesday , April , 24 2018

Taxi and Private Hire

Taxis (Hackney Carriages) and Private Hire Vehicles are licensed to ensure that they are suitable and safe for you to travel in.

The plate on the rear of the vehicle identifies the type of licence it holds. The plates clearly state the licence type, licence number (beginning with H or P) along with the registration, description and maximum number of passengers.

The laws covering Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles are quite different. In brief, a Hackney can:

  • stand on a rank
  • be flagged down in the street
  • be booked through a licensed operator.

A Private Hire vehicle can only accept pre-booked calls.

If a Private Hire driver picks up from a rank or from being flagged down, not only are they committing an offence, but their insurance may be also be invalid.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

We maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles that we licence (see Downloadable Documents). The list contains details of the vehicle and contact numbers, where available, and is provided for the purposes of Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010. 

Whilst we cannot guarantee the availability of the listed vehicles at any given time, we hope that providing this list will help those in need of such a vehicle to book one more easily.

Taxi Rank provision

Taxi ranks are provided on-street for use by hackney carriages and not by private hire vehicles. They are provided where a demand has been identified, such as near railway and bus stations or in areas with numerous entertainment or leisure venues.

Ranks can operate full time or during restricted hours at times of heightened demand. They are normally located so that passengers can board or alight from the taxi onto a footway on the nearside of the vehicle.

Private hire vehicles may not pick up passengers from Taxi Ranks. Not only is this an offence, but they may not be insured either.

  Licensing - Taxis and Private Hire - FAQ

Hackney Carriage Specification

The vehicle must be one of the following:

  • A "London Cab" style (FX4 or later design)
  • A wheelchair accessible vehicle, approved by the council
  • A white saloon, hatchback, estate or people carrier (but not a mini-bus).

We will only license a saloon, hatchback, estate or people carrier that have:

  • A width of not less than 1.701m (5ft 7ins) excluding door mirrors
  • A length of not less than 4.266m (14ft)
  • An engine with a minimum power output of 90bhp or 66KW
  • At least 3 passenger doors
  • Seat belts fitted to all forward facing seats
  • Window glass tinted no darker than 32% +/- 2%

Note: lengths, widths and engine sizes are "as described by the manufacturer". Ensure you discuss any window tint with the Licensing Office prior to purchase.

We will only license vehicles which are under 3 years old upon first licensing with this authority. We will not normally renew licences once the vehicle reaches the age of 10 years.

All Hackney Carriages must be equipped with an illuminated roof sign and “For Hire” light of a type specified by the council. We regulate advertising on Hackney Carriage vehicles and application must be made through the Licensing Office at the Civic Centre before any advertising is carried out.

There are penalties for knowingly giving false information in respect of this application. 

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