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07 July 2015

Information and Application Forms to License a Hackney Carriage Vehicle

Hackney Carriage Vehicles can only be driven by persons in possession of a current Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence.

To license a vehicle as a Hackney Carriage

  • The engine capacity of the vehicle must be 1600 cc or above.
  • The width at the front edge of the rear seat must not be less than 48 inches.
  • The vehicle must be insured to undertake public hire and private hire.
  • The vehicle must be fitted with a taximeter that before the licence can be issued must be capable of complying with licence condition and registering a fare scale approved by the Council.
  • Vehicles submitted for first time licensing must not be over three years old (licences will normally only be renewed in respect of vehicles that are five years old or less).
  • The vehicle has to undergo a mechanical examination at a Council approved garage and must be provided with a certificate indicating that it is suitable for use as a hackney carriage.
  • Vehicles licensed as hackney carriages must have an MOT certificate once the age of the vehicle is over one year.

In order to obtain a licence an application must be submitted to the Council. Provided all the documentation is in order, the licence will be issued after the meter fitted to the vehicle has been tested and sealed.
When the vehicle has been licensed a taxi sign has to be displayed on the vehicle at all times and in addition to displaying the licence plate must have the licence number displayed inside the vehicle. A fare chart also has to be exhibited inside the vehicle.

Once it is licensed as a hackney carriage the vehicle can only be driven at any time by a person who holds a hackney carriage driver licence issued by the Council or he is driving the vehicle for officially recognised test purposes.

Proprietors must ensure that applications to renew licences are submitted at least one month before the current expiry date.

Parking Behind or in the vicinity of Taxi Ranks

A driver of a taxi may only ply for hire when their vehicle is standing on a rank or moving along a highway with the "For Hire" sign illuminated. Taxis not being used to ply for hire must not be parked anywhere in the vicinity of a rank or a public place where it could be construed that the driver was plying for hire. Parking behind a rank, particularly in the High Street where it involves mounting the pavement or in Pembroke Broadway on the zigzag lines is also a road traffic offence. Parking on the road opposite the rank in the High Street and then backing up a one way street to park on the rank when a space becomes available is not only unlawful but also very dangerous.

Rank Etiquette

Passengers should be directed to the first taxi in the rank and this is not only a matter of courtesy to other drivers, but is also a legal requirement. It is open to hirers to select a taxi other than the taxi at the head of the rank but this must be a conscious decision on the part of the hirer without any influence being exerted on them by the driver of the selected taxi. Touting for work from passing members of the public whether on the rank or elsewhere is an offence.

Drivers must not leave their vehicles unattended in any public place and this particularly applies to taxis left on a taxi rank. Taxis on the rank must be moved forward immediately when the space in front becomes vacant. When spaces on the rank are left vacant due to drivers not complying with this requirement, it is not only extremely frustrating for other drivers wishing to join the end of the rank, the driver failing to move his vehicle forward is committing an offence.

Refusing Hirings

There is no easy answer which depicts under what circumstances a hiring can be refused. The law requires that;

"A driver of a hackney carriage standing at any of the stands for hackney carriages appointed by the commissioners, or in any street, who refuses or neglects, without reasonable excuse, to drive such carriage to any place within the prescribed distance, to which he is directed to drive by the person hiring or wishing to hire such carriage, shall for every offence be liable to a penalty not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale."
(S53 Town Police Clauses Act 1847)

"The driver of a hackney carriage when hired to drive to any particular destination shall, subject to any direction given by the hirer proceed to that destination by the shortest available route."
(Paragraph 12 of the Bye Laws)

A driver can not refuse a hiring without reasonable excuse although the interpretation of reasonable is very subjective and consequentially it is not possible to give guidance to what is reasonable and what is not. Each case is determined on its own merits although refusing on borderline cases is not advisable, there must be very good substantive reasons for doing so.

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