Taxi and minicab licence

also known as: Minicab licence.

Licence - hackney carriage - taxi Licence - private hire vehicle - minicab Licence - private hire drivers' Licence - hackney carriage drivers' Licence - private hire operators'

This webpage is currently being updated. 

A hackney carriage is a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, which is licensed to 'ply for hire'. This means that it may stand at ranks or be hailed in the street by members of the public.

As a result of local government reorganisation in Northumberland, there are currently six hackney carriage zones that replace the areas of the six former district councils (Alnwick, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blyth Valley, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale and Wansbeck).  A hackney carriage licensed to ply for hire in one zone may not ply for hire in another zone in Northumberland or elsewhere in the country.

Private hire vehilces must have no more than 8 passenger seats and they must be booked in advance through a private hire operator and may not ply for hire in the street.

Loal authorities are responsible for the licensing of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, drivers and private hire operators.

Drivers

As of 1 October 2010, the new Northumberland County Council hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy came into effect, to view  the Policy, please click on the following link: Taxi Licensing Policy.

Licences are issued subject to the Council being satisfied the applicant is a "fit and proper" person to hold a driver's licence and that an applicant has been entitled to dirve a motor car for at least 12 months.  It is for the applicant to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Council as the Council is under a duty to establish that each applicant is "fit and proper".  The Council, in addition to the statutory requirements has exercised its discretion and all applicants are subject to additional requirements.

All new applicants for drivers licences will be required to pass a test, submit a medical certificate, provide access to their driving entitlement/endorsements and apply for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (DBS).  Applicants will also be required to provide proof of their identity and entitlement to work in the UK.

For full application requirements and guidance notes please click here and here.

For a sample list of locality questions please click here Alnwick, Berwick , Blyth, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale, Wansbeck.

Where applicants have specific queries regarding medical issues or criminal convictions and wish to discuss these matters prior to application they may contact the Licensing Section for informal advice.

Will tacit consent apply?

No it is in the public interest for the authority to process your application before it can be granted.

Consumer Complaint

In the event of a complaint please first contact the trader, preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery.  if this doesn't work please contact the Licensing Section alternatively you may contact Citizens Advice for advice.  If you are outside the UK, please contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Hackney Carriages

A hackney carriage is a wheeled vehicle which may stand or ply for hire within the specific hackney carriage licensing zone for which it has been licensed to operate.  In addition a hackney carriage may also undertake work on a pre-booked basis.

There are currently six hackney carriage licensing zones in Northumberland and relevant bylaws apply to each one to control the condut of both proprietors and drivers.

Whilst the law makes specific provision to allow a council to require that a hackney carriage be of such design or appearance or bear such distinguishing marks as shall clealy identify it as a hackney carriage, no other requirements as specified.

The Council believes it is desirable to apply similar standards to those that are expected before granting a private hire vehicle licence and, to that end, all hackney carriages shall be:

  • suitable in type, size and design for use as a hackney carriage
  • in a suitable mechanical condition
  • safe; and
  • comfortable

In addition to the general rquirements set out above, the Council had exercised its discretion and all hackney carriages must:

  • clearly display a licence plate provided by the Council on the exterior of the vehicle, which must be securely attached to the rear of the vehicle by rivets, bolts or screws.  External licence plates will not be allowed to be fixed in any alternative location unless specific provision is made as part of the vehicle design.
  • Fitted with a taxi meter of an approved type sealed to the satisfaction of the Council
  • Display a door decal supplied by the Council centrally on each of the front doors of the vehicle.  The decals are to be securely fixed to the vehicle doors at all times.
  • Display the vehicle licensing details internally within the vehicle in a form provided by the Council.
  • Permit any passenger to communicate with the driver either directly or by means of an approved communication system.
  • Have adequate space for luggage, folded wheelchair.
  • The seating capacity of the vehicle will be determined by the Licensing Officer.  Each individual seat must be a minimum of 400mm (16") in width.  Where the seating in the vehicle does not conform or for other reasons associated with comfort and safety of passengers the Council may reduce the permitted number of passengers which may be carried in the vehicle form that specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

Where an application is made for a new hackney carriage vehicle licence, the vehicle shall be suitable in type, size and construction to carry persons in wheelchairs.

The proprietor shall only be permitted to carry persons in wheelchairs.

The proprietor shall only be permitted to replace wheelchair accessible vehicles with a vehicle which is suitablbe in types size and construction to carry persons in wheelchairs.

The Council has also agreed additional vehicle condtiions dealing with other matters which are included within the Taxi Licensing Policy.

Additional conditions may be attached to the grant of a licence as are considered reasonably necesary on an individual basis.

Application process

Testing Centres

All vehicles prior to being licensed must undergo and pass a mechanical inspection undertaken by a VOSA authorised MOT examiner at a VOSA authorised testing station authorised by the Council.  A number of vehicle testing stations have been authorised by the Council to carry out such inspections.

To ensure impartiality, the owner of a garage who is also and the proprietor of a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle may not conduct vehicle testing on their own vehicles, even if that garage is on the list of premises authorised by the Council, the vehicle test must be carried out by another authorised testing station.

The Council has recently amended the Licensing Policy in relation to the testing of new and replacement vehicles.  New and replacement vehicles will need to be tested by a Council garage.  This has been implemented in a phased approach and currently affects hackney carriage application for the Blyth, Wansbeck and Tynedale zones.

To view details of the authorised Taxi Testing stations for Northumberland County Council, please click on the following link:  Authorised Testing Stations.

Private Hire Vehicles

A private hire vehicle is a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to seat no more than 8 passengers which is provided for hire with the services of a driver for the purpose of carrying passengers.  All hirings for a private hire vehicle must be pre-booked through a licensed private hire operator.

Any vehicle used as a private hire vehicle must be licensed under section 48(1)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 which requires the Council to be satisfied that any vehicle is:

  • suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle;
  • not of such design and appearance as to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carriage;
  • in a suitable mechanical condition;
  • safe; and
  • comfortable.

In addition to the statutory requirements as set out above, the Council has exercised its discretion and private hire vehicles must:

  • Not be fitted with a roof sign of any description.  The Council wishes to provide a means by which in accordance with the law private hire vehicles are not of an appearance to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carraige, the Council has required all hackney carriages to have a roof sign of a particular size and design and prohibits private hire vehicles from having a roof sign of any description.
  • Clearly display a licence plate provided by the Council on the exterior of the rear of the vehicle, which must be securely attached to the vehicle by rivets, bolts or screws.
  • Display a door decal supplied by the Council centrally on each of the front doors of the vehicle.  The decals are to be securely fixed to vehicle doors at all times.
  • Display the vehicle licensing details internally within the vehicle in a form provided by the Council.
  • If the vehicle is fitted with a meter, it must be properly tested and sealed and be of a type approved by the Council.
  • Permit any passenger to communicate with the driver either directly or by means of an approved communication system.
  • Have a boot or load carrying area with adequate space for the safe and secure storage of luggage.  In the case of a saloon or estate vehicle this shall not be within the passenger compartment and in all other cases shall not interfere with the safe access and egress of passengers.  The minimum space required will be such as to allow a folded wheelchair to be carried.
  • The seating capacity of the vehicle will be determined by the Council.  Each individual seat must be a minimum pf 400mm (16") in width.  Where the seating in the vehicle does not conform or for other reasons associated with comfort and safety of the passengers, the Council may reduce the permitted number of passengers which may be carried in the vehicle from that specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

The Council has also agreed additional vehicle conditions dealing with other matters which are included within the Taxi Licensing Policy.

Additional condtions may be attached to the grant of a licence as are considered reasonably necessary.

Application Process

For full application requirements and guidance notes please click on the related documents below:

Related documents

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pdfPHO application.pdf 105 KB3/1/2012 12:24 PM
pdfNew PHD app.pdf 11,170 KB7/6/2015 1:03 PM
pdfNew HCD application.pdf 11,196 KB7/6/2015 1:03 PM
pdfWansbeck Pool of Knowledge Test Questions.pdf 8 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM
pdfTynedale Pool of Knowledge Test Questions.pdf 37 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM
pdfprivate hire vehicle application form.pdf 329 KB7/6/2015 1:04 PM
pdfMedical certificate.pdf 327 KB3/20/2012 8:57 AM
pdfBlyth Knowledge Test Pool of Locality Questions.pdf 71 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM
pdfBerwick Zone Knowledge Test full questions.pdf 8 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM
pdfalnwick knowledge questions.pdf 114 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM
pdfHackney Vehicle Form.pdf 371 KB7/6/2015 1:04 PM
pdfHackney Carrigae Driver Private Hire Driver renewal.pdf 12,234 KB7/28/2015 10:43 AM
pdfFull list of Morpeth questions.pdf 7 KB7/28/2015 2:02 PM