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.