Hackney carriage (taxi)

Licensing differences

There are two kinds of Hire Vehicles, Hackney Carriages (Taxis) and Private Hire Vehicles. There are important differences between taxis and private hire vehicles:

Taxis (Hackney Carriages) can carry passengers who have hailed them in the street or from an authorised rank. Taxis can also be pre-booked. All taxis must be licensed by the Council. 

Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed in the street or wait on taxi ranks and must be pre-booked. These vehicles also have to be licensed by the Council. 

The drivers of both types of hire vehicle must also be licensed. The licenses must be issued by the same Council that licence the vehicle. Once a vehicle is licensed then EVERY driver of that vehicle, whether it is used for business or pleasure, must possess a current hire driver’s licence issued by this Council.

Taxi and Private Hire vehicles are legally restricted to no more than 8 passengers.

Hackney carriage proprietor licence

To operate a Hackney Carriage, two licenses are required.  The applicant must have a Hackney Carriage Proprietor Licence for each vehicle he/she operates.  Every driver of those licensed vehicles must have a hire driver licence. 

NKDC will not normally grant a Hackney Carriage Licence unless it has received information regarding the vehicle which the applicant intends to use.  The Council may also require additional information regarding the intended use, including the geographical area of operation, of any licensed hackney carriage.

A Hackney Carriage (taxi) is usually a traditional ‘black cab’, but in North Kesteven most taxi vehicles are conventional saloons, estates, people carriers or mini-buses with up to 8 seats. 

A taxi must carry a roof sign; display a licence plate on the back of the vehicle and a small licence plate inside the vehicle. The licence plate shows how many passengers the vehicle is able to legally carry. A taxi must be fitted with a meter which records details of the fares per mile travelled. Fare rates are set by the Council.  Taxis carry a fare chart and must comply with a set of bye-laws issued by the Council. Hire drivers must wear an ID badge issued by the Council, which includes his/her photograph

Before considering an application we must be satisfied that:

  • Your car is suitable in type, size and design for use as a Hackney Carriage.
  • Your car is mechanically sound. This will be confirmed by a detailed compliance test to current MOT standards at one of our approved MOT garages. Licensed taxis have a compliance test twice a year including checks on the overall condition of the vehicle inside and out.
  • Your car is insured for hire and reward.
  • Your car is constructed or adapted to seat no more than 8 passengers.

The Council has adopted a policy for taxi licensing; applicants should be familiar with that policy before making an application. The policy gives details about the licensing process and the types of vehicles we will accept.

Each application for a licence is considered by an authorised officer under powers delegated by the Council. Officers are authorised to grant licences where the vehicle fulfils the basic qualifications. If the officer has any concerns about the application it will be decided at a meeting of the General Licensing Sub Committee, made up of three elected Councillors.


Make a Hackney carriage/ private hire vehicles complaint

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles play a vital part in an integrated transport system, within our District. They provide services in situations where other forms of transport are not available and are a vital means of transport for people who may not be able to easily access other forms of public transport.

All hire vehicles, drivers and Operators undergo a series of checks relating to safety, fitness and propriety, with the overriding primary concern being the safety of the public.

The Department of Transport requires Licensing Authorities to publish details of how members of the public can notify any complaints about the service they receive.

In the first instance, and where it is appropriate, complaints should be directed to the driver/owner or vehicle operator. Where this is not possible, or appropriate, the following procedure can be followed.

  • Any allegation of criminality should be reported to the Police, as they have primacy in all matters relating to such allegations
  • Any general complaints and allegations should be directed to the Licensing Team at NKDC

Full detail of the complaints process can be located at Appendix O of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing policy.

Reports can be made using the online form or by email to licensing@n-kesteven.gov.uk.

All reports are required to include the name and contact details of the person(s) making the report and as much information relating to the complaint as possible. This should include, but is not limited to:

  • Time, date and place of the incident
  • Vehicle and or driver details, including licence details if known
  • Details of the booking or journey arrangements and any contact numbers