Taxis, hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, along with their drivers and private hire operators, are licensed by local authorities.
Licensing provides a visible assurance to the public that checks have been carried out. These measures ensure that vehicles have been checked at least every six months for safety. They also make sure that the driver has had a medical, criminal history checks, and is fit to hold a licence.
Types of taxi
There are two types of taxi:
- Hackney Carriage – the vehicle and driver are immediately available for hire and can be hailed on the street.
- Private Hire Vehicle – these must be booked in advance, through a licensed operator.
All hackney carriages must display a taxi roof sign to make it easier for members of the public to identify them. These signs are not allowed on private hire vehicles.
Each licensed vehicle is issued with a licence plate. These are updated annually and must be fixed to the rear of the vehicle. Some executive hire and speciality vehicles will have a small internal plate fixed to the windscreen instead of an external plate.
Licensed drivers are issued with a photographic I.D. badge. This must be worn at all times whilst acting as the driver of a licensed vehicle.