Private hire and hackney carriage vehicle information

Only vehicles capable of carrying eight or fewer passengers are licensed by the local authority. Vehicles capable of carrying nine or more passengers are classed as Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and are licensed by the Traffic Commissioners.

Vehicles are licensed for a year and must pass an MOT and compliance test every six months. The plates are issued to the vehicle and should be displayed on the outside of the vehicle to the rear.  One should be displayed internally and clearly visible.

When a vehicle is licensed as either a private hire vehicle or a hackney carriage it can only be driven by a person who is licensed to drive that type of vehicle.

Private hire

These are vehicles that have to be pre-booked with the vehicle operator. There are no set fares as with hackney carriages. Fares must be agreed with the operator or driver before the journey. These vehicles must not stand for hire or be hailed in the street.

Hackney carriage

These vehicles can stand or ply for hire or be hailed in the street.

Vehicle criteria:

  • must be suitable in type, size and design (normally capable of carrying at least four passengers)
  • the vehicle must not have tinted windows
  • must not be of such a design or appearance to lead people into thinking it is a hackney carriage
  • must not have any third party advertising on the vehicle
  • must carry complaint forms/cards
  • must display no smoking signs and have a copy of a valid insurance certificate in the vehicle

See our consultation on proposals to reduce emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles in line with our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

Application procedure

  • application form (print and complete parts 1, 2 and 5)
  • the applicant has to produce a valid insurance certificate to cover the vehicle for carrying passengers for hire and reward as either a private hire or hackney carriage (whichever is applicable)
  • the applicant has to produce the registration document for the vehicle (If this is a new vehicle or just purchased this may be at DVLA, therefore an order form/receipt is acceptable and the registration document must be produced when received from DVLA)
  • the applicant will then be issued with a voucher to produce at one of the council approved testing stations
  • the applicant is responsible for submitting the vehicle for the test at the approved testing station (fee payable to the garage)
  • on successfully passing the test, the applicant will be issued with a pink slip by the garage. The applicant then produces this slip at the council offices where it will be exchanged for the plates


  • a new one year hackney carriage licence costs £250.00* and a renewal costs £230**
  • a new one year private hire vehicle licence costs £240.00* and a renewal costs £230**

* Includes costs of plates (and door insignia in case of Hackney Carriage, does not include plate holders)
** Includes cost of replacement external and internal plates (does not include plate holders)

Hackney carriage authorised maximum fares

The fare chart displayed in a taxi is a combination of time and distance. 

Privacy policy and register

Accessible vehicles

  • designated vehicles list where a person can use a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle without getting out of a wheelchair (ramp etc.) 
  • voluntary list where a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs, who are able to transfer from their wheelchair into a seat within the vehicle and the wheelchair can be folded down and placed in the vehicle

Contact the licensing team

Telephone: 01732 844522