Hackney Carriage Licence

What is a Hackney Carriage?

Hackney carriages are more commonly known as ‘taxis’.  They can be hailed in the street or can work from any of the four taxi ranks in the borough.  They can be identified by a roof light on the top of the vehicle which is linked to a meter inside the vehicle.  The light will be lit when the taxi is available for hire and the light should be extinguished when the meter is brought into operation when the driver is carrying a fare.  They can also be recognised by their yellow licence plate displayed on the rear of the vehicle.  Licences are normally issued for a maximum period of one year.

Are there any restrictions on the type of car I can use as a taxi?

The vehicle must be less than 4-5 years old at first licensing and can be licensed until it is deemed unroadworthy to continue to be licensed as a hackney carriage by the Council's approved vehicle examiner.  The vehicle must have at least 4 doors and be right hand drive.  It must be able to carry at least 4 passengers and not more than 8, in addition to the driver.  It must be of adequate size and design, i.e. a normal family saloon type car.

Will the vehicle be tested or will my normal MOT be sufficient?

The vehicle will need to be tested to at least MOT standards by the Council's approved vehicle examiner before a licence is issued.

Do I need to get special insurance cover?

The vehicle must be insured for hire and reward purposes for hackney carriage use.  You must also ensure that cover is available for any other licensed taxi drivers to allow you to employ them, if applicable.

What legislation controls Hackney Carriage Licences?

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

Who can apply?

Anyone with a legal interest in a vehicle can apply for a hackney carriage licence.

What is the application process?

Applicants must submit the following documents as part of the application process:-

  • Application form completed by all parties
  • A Basic DBS
  • Licence fee
  • Registration document (‘log book’)
  • Motor insurance certificate/cover note for hackney carriage purposes
  • Proof of ownership
  • MOT certificate if vehicle is over 3 years old
  • Proof of meter ownership and calibration

Applicants are advised to contact the Licensing Team and make arrangements to submit the above documents.  Licensing officers will then make the necessary appointment with the Council’s Approved Vehicle Examiner for the vehicle to be examined to ensure it is roadworthy to be licensed as a hackney carriage.

If the vehicle passes the test, the examiner will affix the rear licence plates and issue a certificate of compliance.  The paper licence and internal licence plates will be issued by the Licensing officer.

Can I apply online?

Yes, please make an application via our online New/Renewal Hackney Carriage Licence form.

How much does it cost?

On initial application, the licence fee is £310 and the renewal application fee is £243

How long will it take to process my application and will tacit consent apply?

The application process time is normally between one and two weeks however this depends on the availability of an appointment for the vehicle to be inspected.

Tacit consent will not apply to these licences, i.e. if you do not hear anything within the specified time; you cannot automatically assume that the application has been granted. 

Consumer complaints

If you have a complaint regarding any issue relating to licensed or unlicensed taxi activities, please contact the Licensing Team on 01495 355485.

Contact Information