Hackney Carriage Licence

Hackney carriages or taxis, as they are better known, undertake the same type of work as private hire vehicles, there are however fundamental differences in the way they are able to work.

Hackney carriages are permitted to stand on taxi ranks waiting for customers, they can also pick up in the street after being waved down. Neither of these two activities can be undertaken by private hire vehicles.

All hackney carriages are fitted with a meter which will, upon arriving at the destination, give the cost of the journey. The table of fares (Tariff) is set by the council following public consultation.  The table of fares detail the MAXIMUM amount the driver may charge for a journey and must be displayed in the vehicle. The driver may not charge more than the amount shown on the meter. The current table of fares can be found under related documents on this page. 

Passengers should ensure the meter is switched on before the start of a journey (even if they have pre-booked) and check the final fare requested against the meter reading,  to ensure they are not overcharged. 

Journeys may also be pre-booked and at that time a quote may be given for the cost of the journey which if accepted must be honoured by the driver, however, that quote must not be for more than the meter price.

Vehicles are tested annually or biannually and on passing the test they will be licensed to carry a maximum number of passengers, the number permitted to be carried will be shown on the plate attached to the rear of the vehicle.

The drivers must be licensed by the council.  Please see the Taxi Drivers Licence page of this website.


The Councils Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Policy (386 kb pdf) details the requirements for vehicles.  Applicants should first read the Policy to ensure the vehicle they wish to licence is suitable.  The policy can be found under related documents on this page.

To apply for a vehicle licence, you will need the following:

  • The insurance details of the vehicle you are planning to use. This insurance policy must state that it covers the use of a ‘Taxi’ business
  • A valid M.O.T certificate
  • The vehicle must pass the ‘plating test’ (inspection) by a council nominated testing centre
  • A completed application form
  • Registration Document for the vehicle

Changes to existing licences

If you have a licensed vehicle and you wish to transfer the vehicle and plate  to another person, please use the form below.  There is a fee for this, please see schedule of fees page for current information.

If you have moved house or changed your name, please use the form below to notify the licensing team of the changes

Temporary Plate

If you have an accident or your licensed taxi is off the road for any reason, you can apply for a temporary plate which enables you to use another vehicle for a short period of time (maximum of 14 days).

You will need to produce a valid MOT certificate and insurance policy for the vehicle before you are issued with a temporary plate.  A deposit is also required which is refunded once the plate is returned.  You will also need to bring in your existing vehicle plate, which will be kept at the council offices until the temporary plate is returned.

For further information or guidance please fill in the general enquiry form on the right hand side of this page or contact customer services on 01643 703704.