A guide to taxi licensing in the UK, by specialist taxi licensing barristers
Since 2001 the majority of taxis have been subject to regulation by local authorities across the UK. Taxis are subject to strict and stringent regulation. The licensing of taxis in London is perhaps one of the most rigid and rigorous anywhere in the world.
TYPES OF TAXIS
- Hackney carriages, commonly referred to as “Black cabs”.
- Private Hire Vehicle, referred to as “minicabs”
- Chauffeur driven luxury cars.
HACKNEY CARRIAGE TAXI LICENCE
Hackney carriages can pick up passengers anywhere either in the street or from a taxi rank, without the need for any pre-booking.
London’s famous black cabs have a special design and construction and have to comply with “Conditions of fitness”. However since 2008 Transport for London, which regulates taxi licensing in London has allowed people carriers which have been adapted to be used as Hackney carriages.
In order to become a London Hackney carriage license holder, drivers have to pass an Intensive training course called “the knowledge.”
PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES -PCO LICENCE
Widely referred to as “Mini cabs” these taxis are only available for higher on a pre-booking basis. The rules on booking minicabs are very strictly enforced. A minicab can only be booked in person at the cab office by telephone, Internet or fax, email or other form of telecommunication.
The minicab can only be booked when it is required at the office registered to take bookings, not with the driver directly.
LONDON TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE
Private hire taxis in London are licensed by the London Taxis And Private Hire (previously known as the public carriage office) and is a part of “ Transport for London”.
Private Hire taxi drivers are not required to undertake the knowledge.
They are required to undertake a topographical test, which they must pass in order to be a Private Hire Drivers License.
All vehicles being driven as Private Hire Vehicles Must have a licence issued by London taxi and Private hire to show that they are a purpose.
The vehicles are required to be inspected at a licensed garage twice a year.
TAXI LICENSING OUTSIDE OF LONDON
In most of the United Kingdom taxis are licensed by the local authorities. Practice can vary between individual licensing authorities four example some choose to have a single taxi higher license others may have separate licensing for private hire and for Hackney carriage higher with the rain licensing authority with another authority
Problems can arise where a Private Hier vehicle or driver who is licensed by a particular licensing authority is only licensed apply for trade, if I hackney carriage or picking up Fares which are been already booked in the licensing authority for which they have a license. Many licensing authorities will delegate licensing enforcement officers to take action against taxis from outside of the licensing authority area plying for trade.
However it is perfectly legal for a driver to apply for trade if they have multiple licenses for each licensing authority. In some circumstances where a driver has had disciplinary action taken against them which may result in their licence Being revoked, we have negotiated and mediated between the taxi driver and the licensing authority. Having an expert Barrister knowledgeable in taxi licensing law had significant weight when negotiating with a taxi licensing authority and can be a cost effective solution in terms of a r revocation hearing being avoided before the licensing committee for the magistrates court.
WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR APPLYING A LICENCE?
- Those who wish to apply for a taxi licence have to demonstrate that they are a ” fit and proper person” to hold a taxi license. As taxi drivers will have direct and regular contact with members of the public, including passengers who are vulnerable such as children, disabled and the elderly it means that that you are considered a taxi driver has to be to be suitable person to hold the licence.
WHAT IF I HAVE CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS, CAN I STILL APPLY?
- Having criminal convictions does not automatically mean that your licence application will be rejected.
- Firstly it is important that you never hide or fail to disclose the existence of a criminal conviction or caution on the application form or the any other form related to your application.
- Secondly, having previous convictions does not mean that you are necessarily a person who is not a “fit and proper person”. It depends on a variety of factors. There are policies which have been drawn up by each individual licensing authority dealing with previous convictions and cautions. Not every criminal conviction results in a taxi license being refused or revoked. Even in serious offences taxi licensing authorities are required to look at the period of time and other relevant factors surrounding the offence and the circumstances in which it was committed before deciding whether a person is a “fit and proper person”.
We have an excellent track record of assisting drivers with criminal convictions in successfully appealing a decision not to grant a licence or in overturning a revocation in the Magistrates Court, where there are important background factors and mitigating circumstances which justify a license being reinstated.
To speak to a specialist taxi licensing barrister telephone us on 0208 123 9999 or email info@criminal-Barrister.co.uk.