The Council is responsible for licensing all hire vehicles and drivers operating with 8 or less passenger seats within West Somerset.
There are two types of Taxi licences:
Hackney Carriage can be hired from taxi ranks (only in Minehead), or hailed in the street or pre-booked
Private Hire cars can only be hired by pre-booking
To drive a Hackney Carriage or a Private Hire Vehicle you need to be a holder of a Driver Licence issued by this authority.
All licensed vehicles in West Somerset must display two ‘plates’. One outside on the rear of the vehicle and one smaller plate on the inside windscreen. The plates detail the licence number, the maximum passenger number, type, colour and registration mark of the vehicle.
Licensed drivers are required to wear their Driver badges which detail their driver number and photograph, they must wear this at all times whilst they are working.
Policies and Procedures
To view the policy with regards to Private Hire and Hackney Carriage licensing, please view the document under related documents on this page.
The Council licenses Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles. All vehicles have undergone stringent checks for road worthiness, comfort, appearance and the reliability of the meter by the Council’s nominated garage. Drivers are subject to background checks before their licence is granted to ensure that they are a ‘fit and proper person’.
The Council also has a responsibility as the 'enforcing agency' of the drivers and vehicles licensed. Enforcement covers criminal offences related to ‘taxi’ legislation, driver behaviour, condition of the vehicles and the investigation of complaints made by the public against a licence holder. As well as granting and issuing licences, the Council can also suspend or revoke licences if any action is necessary against an offending licence holder.
Hiring a Taxi
The person hiring a taxi is entering into a contract with the driver of the vehicle or with a firm for them to provide a service. It is up to the individual to ensure clear instructions are given regarding their requirements at the time of hiring the vehicle. If it is a pre-booked call, specify when the vehicle is needed and find out whether a meter is being used or get a quote for the cost of the journey. If a meter is being used in the vehicle the meter cannot be started until the journey begins.
Hackney Carriage drivers must not charge more than the maximum fare laid down by the Council, however they can charge less and many do. A person hiring a Hackney Carriage should insist on the meter being switched on at the outset of the journey, even if an alternative fare has been negotiated, to ensure the passenger is not being overcharged. Anyone in doubt should look at the meter and compare it against the fare sheet showing the maximum permitted fares, which each Hackney Carriage has to display.
When you hire a Taxi you have certain rights:
The driver must comply with your instructions as to route
The driver must take you to your destination by the shortest possible route
The driver must not allow other passengers to share the vehicle without your agreement
When requested, the driver should assist in loading and unloading luggage
Be Safe - What to do:
Always use a reputable company – carry the number with you
When booking by phone ask for car and driver details
Before you get in the vehicle, ask to see the drivers badge - if s/he cannot produce it they may not be licensed - do not get in the vehicle
Arrange a sensible, well-lit meeting place
Always sit in the back and don’t give personal details
Have your fare and house keys ready before you get to your destination
Unless hailing in the street do not get into a vehicle you have not asked for
A number of licensed vehicles are able to carry wheelchairs, however, some of the new larger electric wheelchairs are unable to be carried as they are too large to be placed in the vehicle safely. It is advisable to check with the driver that their vehicle will meet your requirements.
All licensed vehicles must carry assistance dogs at no additional charge and allow the dog to remain with the passenger during the journey. Assistance dogs are not just for people with sight problems, they are also for people who are hard of hearing or may have other special needs, which may not be immediately obvious to the driver.
You should note that where a driver has a certified medical condition, they may apply to be exempt from this condition. If you have an assistance dog please mention this when booking your vehicle.
If there is a Problem
If you have a complaint regarding a licensed driver or vehicle you may notify the Council. Please see the 'complaints / compliments' page. get as many details as possible including the plate and/or badge number. If the complaint is about a fare, get a written receipt. Make a note of the time, date and details of the journey and any other relevant factors, ie description of driver. If you cannot resolve your complaint direct, let us know by telephone 01643 703704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.