Taxi licenses are also known as Hackney carriages and private hire driver licence.
Hackney carriage licences
A Hackney carriage can ply for hire in the street. They must display Taxi and For Hire signs. They do not need to be pre-booked.
There are 2 types of Hackney carriage licence:
- Hackney carriage vehicle licence
This licence is valid for 12 months. The vehicles must be mechanically examined at our Oakwood Hill MOT test centre prior to the issue of the licence and at times specified in the licence conditions.
- Hackney carriage driver’s licence
Driver licences for Hackney carriage and private hire driver licences are issued for 3 years. Operator licenses are issued for 5 years. A search at the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is also made.
COVID-19 mask advice
Government advice is that passengers should wear a mask on public transport but it is currently not a legal requirement to wear one in Hackney Carriage and Private Hire taxis.
However the Government strongly encourage to wear a face covering in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, for example, in taxis and private hire vehicles.
In light of this, it is advisable for both driver and passenger to wear face coverings.
A taxi driver can refuse to take a fare for many reasons. It would be legitimate to refuse to take a fare if the passenger will not wear a mask, under the grounds of public safety for both the driver and the passenger. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering due to health, age or equality reasons.
For more information:
- GOV.UK – Exemptions – people who do not have to wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs
There are many measures you can take to protect yourself and your passengers:
- Ask passengers to sit in the back left hand seat if travelling alone
- Avoid having passengers sitting in the front seat of the vehicle
- Ask passengers to avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily
- Wipe all contact surfaces after the passenger has vacated the vehicle and before the next one enters
- Ask passengers to use a face covering and wear one yourself
- Have a supply of new face coverings to offer passengers that do not have one themselves. A supply of tissues, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers are also useful
- Have signage within the vehicle explaining the safety measures in place
- Avoid touching other people’s belongings, bags and luggage where you can
- Ask for contactless card payments rather then cash
- Open a window to help air ventilation
Guidance to new applicants and existing licence holders
- Public hire licence applications guidance (pdf 863KB)
- Private hire vehicles application guide (pdf 53KB)
- Hackney carriage driver’s licence guidance (pdf 139KB)
- Hackney carriage vehicle licence conditions (pdf 137KB)
- Private hire driver’s licence guidance (pdf 188KB)
- Private hire operator licence conditions (pdf 132KB)
- Private hire vehicle licence conditions (pdf 135KB)