Private hire vehicle (minicab)

There are two types of Hire Vehicles, Hackney Carriages (Taxis) and Private Hire Vehicles. There are important differences between the two types:

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 sit 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 also have to be licensed. The licenses must be issued by the same Council that licenses 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.

Private Hire Vehicle Licence

To operate a private hire vehicle, three licenses are required. Each vehicle must have a private hire vehicle licence and every driver of those licensed vehicles must have a hire driver licence.  In addition, all persons running a private hire business, including self-employed drivers, must hold a Private Hire Operator licence.

Fares for Private Hire Vehicles are not regulated by the Council - the cost of a journey will normally be based on a rate per mile or should be agreed with the company before the journey.

Private Hire Vehicles licensed by the Council must display the Private Hire licence plate provided on the rear and a smaller internal plate. Roof signs are not permitted. Hire drivers must also wear an ID badge issued by the Council, which includes his/her photograph.

We do not limit the number of private hire vehicle licences but before considering an application we must be satisfied that:

  • Your car is suitable in type, size and design for use as a Private Hire Vehicle.
  • Your car does not look like a taxi.
  • 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 vehicle 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.

Complaints

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