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Operating private hire vehicles

Rules and procedures around conditions of hire, collecting fares and your responsibilities

When driving or operating private hire vehicles, there are certain rules that you must follow.


As a private hire driver you don't have to have a meter in your vehicle. If you choose to install a meter, you are allowed to charge less than the set fare but never more as this is an offence.

You may charge whatever is agreed between you and your passenger. There is no scale of charges fixed by law for private hire vehicles.

You can only pick up a fare if it has been pre-booked through your operator.

Conditions of hire

Responsibilities to other drivers

As a private hire driver you must not stand at the rank, tout for business, ply for hire or pick up people in the street. All your journeys must be pre-booked through your operator.

When you have no booking you must return with your vehicle to your base. You must avoid parking anywhere where you will create the impression that you are a hackney carriage available for hire.

You must not authorise another licensed driver to drive your vehicle without the consent of the proprietor of the vehicle.

Responsibilities to passengers

If two people who are unconnected wish to travel to the same destination in your vehicle that is acceptable. However, if you already have a customer in your vehicle and another approaches you, you must obtain the first hirer's consent to accept the second hiring. You must not impose a fellow passenger on him or her.

You should never prolong a journey unnecessarily either by time or distance. To do so is an offence.

You must remember that the comfort and safety of passengers is the council's foremost concern and drivers are expected to assist with luggage etc. when required.

Displaying licence plates

You must make sure that your green licence plates are attached to the front and rear of the vehicle. They should be fully visible at all times when you are working. 

These plates are the property of the council and can be removed under certain circumstances; for example, if the vehicle is unsafe).

Code of conduct

As you are in contact with members of the public, you are expected to keep yourself and the vehicle smart, clean and presentable. The conditions attached to the licence go into these requirements in more detail.

Drivers must not attempt to persuade a member of the public to travel in their vehicle when they have obviously decided to approach another driver. Disorderly and discourteous conduct on the rank will not be tolerated.

Breaking the rules

The issue of a private hire licence is a serious business carrying with it certain duties and responsibilities. If you break the rules this could have consequences, which may affect your livelihood and reputation.

The above summary is not comprehensive. Copies of the Act or Parliament, the bye-laws and the conditions the council has attached to drivers' licences, are available on request from the licensing office.

Failure to observe these rules can result in penalty points being added to your licence, suspension or revocation of your licence, and in severe cases, prosecution.