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Taxi Customer Information

This information is provided to assist customers in accessing taxis and private hire vehicles, and how to remain safe when utilising such services.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Please see our Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles page for a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles licensed within the borough.

Travelling Safely

All passengers – and particularly those that are drinking alcohol – are encouraged to take care to ensure they have a safe journey when travelling by taxi. We advise everyone to remember the following simple safety tips: 

  • Pre-booked your journey and return journey in advance - do not rely on being able to get a taxi at the last minute.
  • Always be alert at all times and stay in well-lit areas; 
  • Don't become separated from your friends; 
  • Never accept a drink from someone you don't know; 
  • Always have enough money to get yourself home; 
  • Plan your journey home well in advance; 
  • If possible, go to a designated taxi rank or hail a licensed hackney carriage (with illuminated 'taxi' sign on it) from the street; 
  • If there is no nearby rank and no available taxis on the street, pre-book your journey with a licensed taxi company (preferably one you have used before and trust). You'll need to give your name, pick-up point and destination, and ask for a booking reference; 
  • Do not get into an unmarked car that has pulled up at the kerb and asked if you require transport; 
  • Do not attempt to flag down a licensed private hire car on the street. The driver is not legally allowed to transport you and you will not be insured; 
  • If you're booking a vehicle to collect you from a public venue, wait for the driver to come and find you; 
  • Check the driver has your name and/or booking reference and destination when they arrive. Verify that the phone number on their vehicle matches the one you dialled and that the driver has official identification with their photograph on it; 
  • Before you get in, check the vehicle has a council licence plate, usually fixed to the rear of the car. This permits the vehicle to be used for that purpose. Some executive hire and speciality vehicles will have a small internal plate fixed to the windscreen instead of an external plate; 
  • Do not sit in the front with the driver – sit directly behind him and have your mobile phone with you. If you have a problem with the driver of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, make a note of the registration number and report it to the police; 
  • Do not get into the vehicle if, for any reason, you feel unsure. 


Hackney Carriages

Hackney carriage fares are regulated by the council to protect the public from excess fares, and can be hailed, pick up passengers without pre-booking, and conduct pre-booked journeys. 

Hackney carriage vehicles will have a roof top 'taxi' box' and have a green/white hackney carriage plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Any journey conducted within the borough, or outside the borough under a metered rate, should not exceed the authorised fares for hackney carriages (which must be displayed within each vehicle). The fare is based upon time and distance travelled, and additional extras. 

Fares between 00:00 and 07:00 and Bank Holidays are charged at 1.5x the standard rate, whilst fares on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day are charged at 2x the standard rate.

Additional extras that may be charged at the discretion of the driver include

  • £0.20 - for each person (excluding a babe in arms) carried in excess of two persons.
  • £0.05 - for each item of luggage conveyed outside the passenger compartment
  • £0.05 - for pushchairs/prams
  • £0.10 - for dogs  (excluding recognised assistance and guide dogs which must be carried free of charge)

As a guide to average expected fares for standard rate fares;

  • 2 miles - £7.30
  • 5 miles - £14.70
  • 10 miles - £27.10

Private Hire Vehicles

Private hire vehicle fares are not regulated by the council, and are a contractual issue between the customer and business when you pre-book the journey. 

Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed on the street, or pick up fares that have not been pre-booked via a licensed operator. They can be identified as not having a roof top box, and will have a red/white plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Fares should be agreed in advance of the journey, or charged at a metered rate (published or available from the operator). You should ensure that you are familiar with any fare or charge prior to commencing the journey.

In order to obtain good value, you may wish to obtain a price from two or more licensed private hire operators.


Licensing can investigate complaints such as:

  • Overcharging (Hackney Carriage only);
  • Refusal to hire (including passengers with assistance dogs);
  • Rudeness/verbal abuse;
  • Journey routes.

Depending on the complaint, it is possible we will require a formal statement from you and any witnesses. This could mean you may need to attend a court or a council committee hearing. If, due to the nature of the complaint, it becomes a criminal case, we will need to speak to the police or advise you to report the incident to police.

Email licensing@ashford.gov.uk giving as much detail as possible, including your contact details.

Officers will be in contact with you to discuss the matter further. Please be advised it is not always possible to advise you of the outcome of any complaint or investigation.

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