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There are two types of licensed taxi, Hackney Carriage and Private hire and there are many similarities between the two.

Licensing conditions

We must carry out our licensing function whilst ensuring that a safe and quality service is provided to all. To aid with this function, the Licensing Department undertook a review of its policies and conditions. Following its consultation in 2008, this document was formally adopted by the General Purposes Committee on 11 March 2009.

If a vehicle is operating outside its licence conditions and relevant legislation, this can invalidate the insurance and put the customer at serious risk.

Our licensing of vehicles, drivers and Private hire operators is carried out in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Hackney carriage vehicles

A Hackney carriage is more commonly called a ‘taxi’. Hackney carriages are licensed to stand for hire at a taxi rank or can be hailed in the street within the area in which they're licensed.

A licensed Hackney carriage may also undertake pre-booked journeys without having to work through a licensed Private hire operator. Hackney carriages must be insured for public hire (Hackney carriage use), which permits them to ply for hire by standing at a taxi rank or be hailed in the street, as well as being pre-booked. A Hackney carriage can be licensed for up to eight passenger seats.

In addition to the above, council-licensed Hackney carriage vehicles will have the following:

  • Stevenage Borough Council licence plates, which have a yellow background on the exterior and interior of the vehicle.
  • A roof sign bearing the word 'TAXI'.
  • A meter which must have been calibrated to our table of fares.
  • A ‘No Smoking’ sign on display.

Hackney Carriage vehicle numbers 71 to 100 are wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Private hire Vehicles

A Private hire vehicle can only be used to complete jobs where the booking has been received by a licensed Private hire operator. Records of the bookings undertaken by Private hire vehicles must be kept by the licensed Private hire operator. The operator receiving the booking must be licensed by the same authority which licenses the driver and vehicle that is being dispatched to fulfil the job. However, operators can sub-contract to another operator outside the local authority area.

A Private hire vehicle cannot be used to ply for hire, stand on any taxi rank, or be hailed in the street.

A Private hire vehicle will be insured for Private hire. If a Private hire driver accepts a fare off the street without it being pre-booked through the licensed Private hire operator, they are liable for prosecution. It's also important to note that anyone who takes a journey in a Private hire vehicle which has been 'flagged down' is not insured for the journey.

In addition to the above, council-licensed Private hire vehicles will have the following:

  • Stevenage Borough Council licence plates, which have a green background, on the inside and outside of the vehicle.
  • Door signs on the front driver and passenger doors showing the council logo and Private hire licence number.
  • A ‘No Smoking’ sign on display.

Private hire vehicles must not have a roof sign and do not require a meter. However, most of our licensed Private hire vehicles are fitted with a meter which must have been calibrated to our table of fares.

Further information is also available in the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers - Policy and Conditions of Licensing.

Applying for a licence

We are responsible for the licensing of vehicles, drivers and Private hire operators. 

Before a dual licence is granted you must:

  • attend an initial interview with a Licensing Officer;
  • provide proof of right to work in the UK;
  • show that you are fit and proper to hold a licence;
  • pass a spoken English test;
  • pass a knowledge test;
  • show that you are medically fit group 2 medical with own G.P.;
  • have held a full driving licence (not a provisional) for one year;
  • have submitted and passed a D.B.S (Enhanced) check; and
  • pass a driving assessment.

You must also provide:

  • a completed application form;
  • an original DVLA driving licence showing your current address;
  • a passport or birth certificate; and
  • the correct fee.

A full list of fees relating to taxis is available on the Environmental Health Fees and Charges page.

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Compliance test

The following booking and cancellation process will apply to compliance tests.

Appointment and Notice

Appointment DayMinimum Notice
MondayPreceding Thursday
TuesdayPreceding Friday
WednesdayPreceding Monday
ThursdayPreceding Tuesday
FridayPreceding Wednesday

Equalities Act 2010

All drivers and operators are required to make provision for disabled passengers under the Equality Act 2010

The law says that all licensed drivers are required to carry assistance dogs (such as Guide dogs and Hearing dogs) free of charge. It is an offence to refuse to carry an assistance dog unless the driver has a medical exemption certificate from us displayed on the vehicle.

It is illegal to treat a person with disabilities differently from other people, for example by charging a person using a wheelchair more than an able-bodied person for the same trip.


Daneshill House




01438 242724