During the current coronavirus outbreak, licensing requirements have changed for hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.
Hackney carriage and private hire
You need a licence to drive a taxi (sometimes called a hackney carriage) or a private hire vehicle.
- Hackney carriage and private hire licensing guidance (pdf 114 kb)
You need an operator’s licence to run a taxi or private hire vehicle company.
Taxis can be flagged down in the street or they can pick up from taxi ranks. They must have an illuminated roof sign and a yellow identification plate on the rear of the vehicle. Fares are metered.
Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through a private hire operator. They must have a green identification on the rear of the vehicle. They can set their own fares.
All licensed drivers and vehicles must undergo stringent checks to ensure that the travelling public are provided with a safe, comfortable and reliable service.
Licensing a vehicle
Before a vehicle can be licensed it has to be of a model and age acceptable to the council and have passed a mechanical inspection at the council depot.
- Vehicle specifications (pdf 152 kb)
The vehicle must be no more than 5 years old, taken from the date on the registration document.
The licensing department provides a list of models of vehicles it has accepted for licensing and is willing to examine any vehicle that may be appropriate.
The license will last for a year from the date of issue.
The issuing of vehicle licences and plates
Vehicle renewal letters and application forms are sent out two months before the existing licence expires. Please do not delay arranging the mechanical test for the vehicle once you have received the renewal reminder.
After the vehicle has past the mechanical test, please email the completed application form with all the supporting documentation requested to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your application is incorrect or incomplete, it will be rejected and returned to you.
You currently need to allow at least 7 working days from emailing the correctly completed paperwork for the team to process your application and put the licence and plate in the post. Licences/Plates are posted via first class mail.
If the vehicle licence has not be successfully renewed and you have not received the new licence/plate before the old licence expires, the vehicle will not be licenced, and therefore will not be able to be used for hackney carriage/private hire work.
Changing your licensed vehicle
If you change the vehicle on your licence for another vehicle during the year, a new licence for the vehicle would be issued with a new expiry date, generally a year from the date of issue. The full fee would be charged.
Selling your licensed vehicle
If you sell your licensing vehicle, you are required to notify the Licensing Department in writing of the name and address of the person to whom the vehicle has been transferred to. This must be done within 14 days of the transfer.
If you surrender your licence, there is currently no provision for refunds on the unused portion.
Having an accident in your licensed vehicle
If the accident affects the appearance, performance or safety of the use of which it is licensed, you must report the accident to the council as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within 72 hours of the accident.
Failure to do so may jeopardise any insurance claim.