Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Last updated: 27 July 2021

2. About this policy

The council has responsibility for regulating the hackney carriage and private hire trades under the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 and Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

This policy sets out our approach to hackney carriage and private hire licensing to provide transparency and consistency for both those working in the industry, passengers, other road users and members of the public.

The primary and overriding consideration in relation to the licensing of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles is public safety. Public safety includes the safety of drivers, operators, vehicle proprietors and their staff as well as the users of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and the wider public. The public must have confidence in the safety of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles as a form of transport and as a consequence the highest standards will be expected from all applicants and licence holders.

Hackney carriages are commonly called ‘taxis’, ‘black cabs’ and ‘cabs’. They may be hired immediately in the street or from a taxi rank. In this policy they are generally referred to as ‘taxis’. Private hire vehicles are commonly called ‘minicabs’. They must always be booked in advance of the journey through a licensed private hire operator. In this policy they are referred to as ‘private hire vehicles’.

Taxi and private hire services are an important part of the transport network in Buckinghamshire. They are essential for passengers with disabilities and residents of rural communities. They also play an important social role in enhancing the public transport system and facilitating social inclusion.

Evidence supports the view that taxi and private hire services can be a high-risk environment for drivers, passengers, and the public. Drivers may be at risk of abuse or assault from customers. Private hire operators and their call handlers may have contact with children or vulnerable people. They may receive information that could be exploited for criminal purposes. In some circumstances, taxis and private hire vehicles may present a danger to other road users.

Policy objectives and aims

This policy is intended to enable the council to provide a robust licensing regime which enables the hackney carriage and private hire trades to provide the best possible service to the public with the overriding aim of maintaining and improving public safety.

The objectives of this policy are:

  • the protection of the public
  • the maintenance and development of professional and respected hackney carriage and private hire trades
  • enabling access to an efficient and effective local transport service
  • the protection of our local environment.

The council aims to improve our environment and air quality by encouraging the use of low and ultra-low emission (such as electric, hybrid or liquefied petroleum gas [LPG]) taxi and private hire vehicles. From the date of the implementation of this policy we will not issue new vehicle licences to vehicles unless they comply with Euro 5 or 6 emissions standards. We also aim to only issue licences to ultra-low or zero emission vehicles by 2030.

We aim to improve access to wheelchair-accessible transport by maintaining a list of taxis and private hire vehicles with these facilities available on the council’s website in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. All new additional hackney carriage vehicles will also be required to be wheelchair accessible from the date of the implementation of this policy.

The council adopted this policy on 24 February 2021 and it came into force on 6 September 2021. It replaces earlier Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policies that were in force within the former Bucks District Council areas.

We will keep this policy under review at least every five years in line with the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards to ensure that it remains up-to-date. We may make minor amendments to this policy, with the agreement of the Chairman of the Licensing Committee, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Head of Service, as set out in the council’s constitution.

This policy cannot predict every scenario or set of circumstances that may arise and sometimes it may be appropriate and necessary for us to depart from the policy. If we do make an exception, we will give full reasons for doing so.

This policy contains “bright lines”. These are firm statements of intent which may appear to be absolute. Such statements are lawful and allow the council to provide robust guidance to itself, applicants, licence holders and citizens on the approach that will be taken. They do not fetter the discretion of the council because each case will be considered on its merits but in the light of this policy.

Where this policy differs from the previous policies used by the former district councils, consideration will be given by the council to licences that were granted or renewed before this policy was adopted. There is no guarantee that any licence will be renewed and the council will consider all new and renewal applications in the light of this policy. The fact that a licence has been granted in the past will be taken into account and will be a relevant consideration, but there is no legitimate expectation that any hackney carriage or private hire licence will be renewed. This policy will also be used to inform action that may be taken against any existing licence.

This policy does not seek to undermine the right of any individual to make an application and to have that application considered fairly and on its individual merits.

Consultation

The council is keen to hear the views of persons who may be affected by this policy and full consultation will take place before any significant changes are made. The policy and associated documentation are available for inspection on this webpage and hard copies are available at the council offices or by contacting us.

Information and Data Sharing

In the interests of protecting public funds, the council reserve the right to use any information or data submitted as part of an application, renewal, administration or compliance and enforcement process for the prevention and detection of fraud and crime.

Data held will include name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address(es), date of birth, national insurance number along with information about medical status, criminal history, driving record and right to work in the UK. This information will have been provided as part of the application process.

This information is required so that applications can be processed and licences granted. It is in the public interest to determine whether or not an applicant or driver is a fit and proper person to hold a licence as defined by this policy and conditions. It is not possible to make these decisions without this information.

Data relating to taxi and private hire licences will generally be held for a period of 15 years after the expiry of the last licence issued. Data provided as part of the NR3 Database will generally be held for a period of 25 years after the licence was revoked or the application was refused.

The council may share your information internally and we reserve the right to check the information you have provided for accuracy and to detect crime. We may share your information with other statutory/ regulated Authorities or if it is required by law. Other parties may include the Disclosure and Barring Service (in relation to Barring Lists), the Department for Work and Pensions, The Home Office, The Police, the DVLA, HM Revenues and Customs and other local authorities.

The council subscribes to the National Register of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3) to check all drivers applying for licences (new and renewal) against the register. Where an existing licence is revoked or an application refused, this will be recorded on the register. Further information explaining the council’s policy on using the NR3 register is shown in appendix 9.

Further information about how the Council processes data relating to taxi and private hire licences along with details of the council’s Data Protection Officer can be found on the Privacy Policy on the council's website.

Definitions

Applicant

Person or business who has submitted an application for either a grant or renewal of a licence.

Application

A completed application made by an individual (or individuals) for the grant or renewal of a licence

Assistance Dog

A dog which has been trained to guide a blind person; a dog which has been trained to assist a deaf person; a dog which has been trained by a prescribed charity to assist a disabled person who has a disability that consists of epilepsy or otherwise affects the person's mobility, manual dexterity, physical co-ordination or ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects; a dog of a prescribed category which has been trained to assist a disabled person who has a disability (other than one falling within paragraph (c)) of a prescribed kind;

Authorised Council Officer

A council officer who is authorised by the council to exercise powers and duties conferred by legislation.

Conditions

Conditions of licence applied by the council to a driver’s licence, an operator’s licence or a vehicle licence. Non-compliance will lead to penalty points being imposed or action against the licence

Council

Buckinghamshire Council

Date of First Registration

The date of first registration on the vehicles V5 log book issued by DVLA.

DBS

Disclosure & Barring Service.

Driving licence

Full UK driving licence issued by DVLA, Northern Ireland driving licence, EEA driving licence or exchangeable driving licence as defined in section 108 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 or as amended by any subsequent legislation.

DVLA Dri

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

DVSA

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (which replaced VOSA in 2014).

Fare Card

A card which must legally be displayed in hackney carriage vehicles that are fitted with a taximeter which indicates the maximum authorised fare to be charged for distance travelled, waiting time and additional 8 charges determined by the Council under section 65 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976nand the licence plate number. This is issued by the Council.

Hackney Carriage Vehicle

A vehicle licensed under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 often referred to as a taxi.

Hirer

Any person or persons who from time-to-time hires or books the vehicle

Legislation

Acts of Parliament, Secondary legislation and decisions of the senior courts, Supreme Court, European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights.

Licensing Authority

The licensing function within Buckinghamshire Council.

Licensing Committee

The committee which determine licensing matters as set out in the Council constitution.

Licensed Driver

A driver licensed under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 to drive a hackney carriage vehicle and under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to drive a Private Hire vehicle.

Licensed Operator

A person, persons or company holding a licence to operate private hire vehicles issued pursuant to Section 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. A private hire operator's licence is required to enable a person to accept or invite bookings for private hire vehicles.

Licensed Vehicle

A hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licensed by Buckinghamshire Council.

Licensee(s)

The person(s) or company/firm named in the licence

Licence Plate

The plate that licensed vehicles must display showing the licence number, maximum number of persons to be carried, expiry date, vehicle registration number, and make and colour of vehicle.

Licensed Vehicle

Vehicle licensed under Town Police Clauses Act 1847 as a hackney carriage or licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 as a private hire vehicle.

Operator

See licensed operator

Policy

This policy document and all associated documents

Private Hire Vehicle

A vehicle licensed by Buckinghamshire Council under the section 48 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Proprietor

Registered owner or part owner of a vehicle.

PSV

Public Service Vehicle.

Taximeter

Device used for calculating the fare to be charged for the journey by measuring distance travelled plus any time waiting. This must be fitted in all hackney carriage vehicles and may be fitted in private hire vehicles.

WAV

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. Certain hackney carriages and private hire vehicles suitable for carrying wheelchair-bound passengers.