Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle licence conditions

These licence conditions are made under Section 47 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 by Horsham District Council.

Wherever there appears in the Licence Conditions a summary of any statutory provisions you are advised that such summary is not exhaustive. Any requirements of legislation or additional conditions or changes to which affects the operations being carried out under the conditions of this licence shall be regarded as if they are conditions of this licence. The Council has power to revoke or suspend a licence after conviction for various offences, or for failure to comply with the relevant provisions, or for any other reasonable cause.

Please Check the Government website for the latest Coronavirus guidance.

1. Type of Vehicle

A hackney carriage/private hire vehicle must be suitable in type, size and design and meet the following requirements:-

(a) be a car not more than five years old from date of registration on day of licensing fitted with four road wheels and at least four doors

(b) it must have a separate compartment for luggage, that is clean, dry and free from odour and personal items of equipment,

(c) the back seat of the vehicle shall measure at least 1220mm.

(d) the headroom from the centre back seat to the roof shall measure at least 870mm.

(e) the leading edge of the back seat to the rear of the front seat shall measure a minimum of 180mm when the front seat is in its rearmost position, or the vehicle is a purpose built hackney carriage.

(f) hackney carriage or private hire vehicles must not be left hand drive.

Or where licensed to carry 5,6,7 or 8 persons:-

(g) have a separate compartment for luggage or in the case of an estate vehicle or minibus a suitable means of restraining luggage to prevent it from coming into contact with any passenger in the event of an accident,

(h) the rear edge of the back seat of the vehicle shall measure at least 1220mm,

(i) where separate seats for each person are provided the rear edge of the back of that seat shall measure at least 410mm,

(j) where the vehicle is fitted with continuous seats one person shall be counted for each complete length of 410mm of the rear edge of the back of the seat and where such seat is fitted with arms for the purpose of separating the seating spaces and such arms are so constructed that they can be folded back or otherwise put out of use they shall not be taken into account for measuring,

(k) headroom from any part of the floor at the rear of the driver’s seat to the headlining must be at least 1190mm,

(l) headroom from the centre back of any seat to the roof shall be at least 950mm, front of any seat at the rear of the driver to the rear of the seat in front shall measure a minimum of 180mm when the seat is in its rearmost position or the vehicle is a purpose built hackney carriage,

(m) Where the exit of a vehicle can be restricted, the vehicle must have a glass (life) hammer, (which has been previously approved by the Council) mounted in the rear of the vehicle. It must be on view and readily available for use in an emergency.  All emergency exits from the vehicle must be clearly identified as such within the vehicle.

In the case of hackney carriages the additional conditions will apply

(n) a hackney carriage will be white in colour

(o) a hackney carriage shall at all times be fitted with an approved roof sign on the roof of the vehicle which shall be illuminated and bear the word “Taxi” on both sides of that sign and which is displayed in such a position that it does not contravene the Road Traffic Acts or regulations thereunder, or any other relevant statutory provision.

In the case of private hire the additional conditions will apply

(p) a private hire vehicle will not be white in colour.

(q) a private hire vehicle will not display a roof sign

(r) The driver of a private hire vehicle when awaiting a passenger through a pre-arranged appointment shall display in the windscreen of the vehicle a board containing the name of the passenger and the appointed time of the meeting.

2. Maintenance of Vehicle and Safety Equipment

The proprietor of the vehicle shall:

(a) provide sufficient means by which any person in the vehicle may communicate with the driver,

(b) cause the roof or covering to be kept watertight,

(c) provide adequate windows and means of opening and closing them,

(d) cause the seats to be properly cushioned and covered and free from damage and where seat covers are provided they shall be of a type and style suitable for the vehicle and correctly fitted,

(e) cause the floor to be provided with a proper carpet, mat, or suitable covering and be free from damage

(f) ensure that the vehicle and all its fittings and equipment are at all times when the vehicle is used or available for hire kept in a working efficient, safe, tidy and clean condition and all relevant statutory requirements.

(g) provide an efficient and fully serviced fire extinguisher suitable for use on vehicle fires is carried in the vehicle at all times. The proprietor must ensure that the contents of the extinguisher remain in date at all times. Where there is an expiry date on the extinguisher (instead of a colour gauge), the date is clearly visible and not tampered with.

(h) provide a sterile and in date first aid kit to be approved by the Council, such equipment to be carried in such a position in the vehicle as to be readily available for use at all times,

(i) provide means of securing luggage to ensure that any luggage carried is prevented from coming into contact with the passengers,

(j) shall ensure that all passengers are properly restrained by an approved seat belt and that a child seat or booster seat be available if required and shall ensure that no child under the age of 10 years travels in the front seat of the vehicle

(k) ensure that no material alteration or change in the specification, design, condition or appearance of the vehicle is made without the written approval of the Council at any time whilst the licence is in force,

(l)  ensure the vehicle is serviced in line with Manufacturers recommended intervals and that evidence of servicing is produced to the Council as required in a form acceptable to the Council.

3. Tyres

All wheels should be free of material damage, matching in size and style and be within the manufacturer guidelines for the vehicle.

A minimum of 2mm of tread is required across the whole width and around the entire circumference of each tyre

Re-moulded or re-cut tyre must not be fitted to the vehicle and all tyres must be kept at the correct pressure.

Space saver tyres are acceptable on vehicles if they are used and conform to manufacturers specifications.

If a space saver tyre or a repair kit is used, then it must only be used for the duration of the current fare and for returning the vehicle to the garage for repair.  No further fares may be taken whilst the space saver tyre or repair kit is in use on the vehicle.

4. Identification Plate

The identification plate issued by the Council bearing the number of the licence granted in respect of the vehicle shall at all times be securely fixed, to the satisfaction of the Council, to the outside centre rear of the vehicle and shall be clearly visible from the rear of the vehicle and shall at no time be wilfully or negligently concealed from public view. The vehicle shall not carry more passengers than the number for which it is licensed.

The Council must be informed immediately should the licence plate be lost, broken or defaced and the vehicle should not be used for taxi/private hire use. Proprietors will be liable for a fee for any replacement.

All badges and plates shall remain the property of the Council and must be returned within 7 days when:

(a) The vehicle ceases to be licensed as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle;

(b) When requested to do so by an Authorised Officer of the Council in writing when the (plate) is suspended or revoked.

(c) The plate has expired

5. Interior Markings

The proprietor shall cause to be clearly marked and maintained inside the vehicle in such a position as to be visible at all times to persons conveyed therein the number of the vehicle’s licence and the number of passengers prescribed in the licence.

All vehicles will be required to display information on how to make a complaint to the licensing authority.

6. Signs, Notices, etc.

(a) No signs, notices, plates, marks, numbers, letters, figures, symbols, emblems or devices whatsoever shall be displayed on, in or from the vehicle except as may be required by any statutory provision or these conditions.

(b) Every hackney carriage shall at all times be fitted with an approved roof sign on the roof of the vehicle which shall be illuminated and bear the word 'Taxi' on both sides of that sign and which is displayed in such a position that it does not contravene the Road Traffic Acts or regulations thereunder, or any other relevant statutory provision.

(c) Limited advertising on the inside and outside of the vehicle will be permitted provided it has first been approved by the Council. No advertising to be religious or political in nature or anything likely to cause offence.

(d) Private hire vehicles must have the wording PRE BOOKINGS ONLY or ADVANCED BOOKINGS ONLY with any approved advertising on the vehicle.

(e) There shall be displayed within the vehicle in a position so as to be clearly visible to any passenger the current table of fares in a form and printing approved by the Council.

7. Taximeters

(a) If the taximeter fitted to the vehicle, is repaired, adjusted or for any reason the seals are broken, or alterations made to the vehicle transmission gearing ratio the proprietor shall not permit or suffer the vehicle to be used for hire until the taximeter has been satisfactorily tested and sealed by the Council.

(b) The proprietor shall notify the Council immediately if, for any reason, the seal on the taximeter is broken.

(c) The taximeter shall be positioned so that the display on the face of the meter may be clearly visible to any person being conveyed in the vehicle at all times.

(d) When the meter is brought into operation there shall be recorded on the face of the meter in clearly legible figures a fare not exceeding the maximum fare fixed by the Council.

(e) An official copy of the Council’s tariff shall be clearly displayed and legible in the vehicle so as to be plainly visible to passengers carried therein.

8. Arrest, Convictions or Cautions

The licence holder shall give full details in writing to the Licensing Department within 48 hours of any arrest and release or of being charged for any offence.

The licence holder shall give full details in writing to the Licensing Department within 48 hours of any conviction, cautioned or any motoring offence.

9. Accident and Vehicle Damage

The driver shall immediately inform the Council of any damage occasioned to a licensed vehicle however caused and complete and return an accident report form obtainable from the Council to the Council’s Licensing Department within 72 hours from the time of the accident or damage.

10. Transfers

If a proprietor transfers his interest in a vehicle to someone else he must immediately give notice of the transfer to the Council in writing and complete and return a transfer form obtainable from the Council informing the Council of the name and address of the transferee with the fee.

11. Change of Address

The proprietor shall notify the Council in writing within 48 hours of any change of his address during the period of the licence at least seven days before such change takes place.

12. Certificate of Insurance

The proprietor shall have available in the vehicle a copy of the vehicle’s current certificate of insurance.  The certificate must clearly show that the vehicle is insured for public or private hire and clearly shows the vehicle registration number and the names of all persons entitled to drive the vehicle.  Should the policy refer to named drivers a list of persons covered must be lodged with the Council by the insurance company providing cover. In addition a current certificate of insurance must be lodged with the Council within 48 hrs of the expiry date of the previous certificate of insurance. Failure to comply with this condition will lead to the immediate suspension of the vehicle’s licence until the Council is satisfied that the vehicle and driver(s) have the correct insurance cover.

13. Mechanical Inspections

All licensed vehicles are required to be mechanically inspected every six months at a garage or garages nominated from time to time by the Council.  The mechanical inspection form provided by the Council must be signed and stamped by the authorised garage and the form returned to the Council. Vehicle inspection forms will only be accepted for vehicles that have been mechanically inspectedwithin 30 days of the vehicle’s inspection by the Council’s Licensing Officer.

Vehicles that are less than 12 months old with less than 10,000 miles recorded will not be required to be mechanically tested until they are over 12 months old or have more than 10,000 miles recorded.

14. Employed Drivers

If the proprietor of this vehicle permits or employs any other person to drive the vehicle as a hackney carriage vehicle, he shall before the person commences to drive the vehicle, cause the driver to deliver to him his hackney carriage/private hire driver's licence for retention until such time as the driver ceases to be employed to drive the vehicle or any other vehicle of his.

15. LPG Fuel (Liquid propane fuel)

(a) Before a vehicle is fitted with an LPG fuel tank, the vehicle must be inspected by the Council’s Licensing Inspector, to establish that the tank will not reduce the luggage capacity of the vehicle.

(b) All work to a licensed vehicle must be carried out by a qualified LPG Association approved installer only.  The installer must hold a valid certificate as an LPGA Approved Installer and a copy of that certificate must be produced by the owner of the vehicle to the Council.  The LPG Conversion Certificate will also need to be produced to the Council.

(c) If work is carried out contrary to these requirements the vehicles licence will be suspended until such time that the Council has been satisfied that its requirements have been met.

(d) Additionally the LPG tank shall be tested and certified every six months by an LPGA Approved Installer, and Certificate of Compliance shall be produced to the Council of the inspection referred to every six months.

(e) It should be noted that if a ring shaped LPG tank is fitted in the spare tyre’s usual storage area the vehicle must carry a working type inflation kit at all times.

(f) The Council will supply a sticker, which shall be installed at the rear of the vehicle and be maintained there. The sticker will show that the vehicle is carrying LPG fuel.

16. CCTV Camera in Vehicle

The installation and operation of the CCTV system shall comply with the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s CCTV Code of Practice.

Following the installation of any CCTV installed into the vehicle it is incumbent upon the licence holder (as the data controller) to handle relevant data in an appropriate and secure manner.

The CCTV system shall comply with any legislative requirement as regards safety, technical acceptability and operational/data integrity.

The CCTV system must be capable of date, time and vehicle identification. It must be capable of capturing images during daytime and darkness of sufficient quality to enable the identification of any person travelling in the vehicle and be of such quality that it can be used for prosecution purposes, where necessary.

The positioning of the CCTV should be such that the hard disc or data card is not accessible to any passenger travelling in the vehicle. The equipment must be securely fixed such that it cannot be tampered with or damaged by any person travelling in the vehicle.

The CCTV system shall not be used to record conversations between members of the public, since that is highly intrusive, and if any system is equipped with a sound recording facility then that functionality shall be disabled.

All vehicles with a CCTV system shall display prominent notices, visible both outside and inside the vehicle, to inform passengers that a CCTV system is in operation.

The CCTV system must ensure that any recorded data is encrypted and access to the data is password protected or locked and only authorised persons can view any recordings. The CCTV equipment will remain at all times the property of the proprietor of the vehicle who will be responsible for the maintenance of the system and will ensure that it is checked regularly and maintained in working order at all times. If at any time the CCTV system is not working it must be reported to an Authorised Officer within 72 hours.

An Authorised Officer or Police Officer may, on reasonable notice, examine any camera installation or any footage from the CCTV. The Council shall be permitted to access data where they have received a complaint involving the vehicle or its driver and the complaint cannot be fully investigated without access to the recording. The licence holder shall co-operate with any Police investigation where access to the CCTV footage may assist.

The CCTV system must be capable of recording and storing images for a minimum of 28 days.

17. Dark Tinted Windows

Vehicles to comply with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and have windscreens which allow at least 75% of light to pass through and all other windows must allow at least 70% of light to pass through.

Vehicles should not be fitted with non-manufacturers tint such as sticky plastic film or aerosol spray applied to the surfaces of the windscreen, driver’s or passenger front windows.

18. Card Payments

When a credit/debit card payment is made the proprietor/driver cannot set a minimum card payment amount.

19. Vehicles classified as Write Off/Total Loss

The Council will not licence any vehicle that has been classed a write off/ total loss in any category.

20. Carriage of Assistance Dogs

(a) The licence holder must carry guide or other assistance dogs accompanying passengers, free of charge, unless the driver has a medical condition and has obtained a medical exemption certificate from Licensing Department.

(b) The Council medical exemption certificate issued in accordance with Section 37A of Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 must be displayed at all times and face outwards from the front windscreen of the Private Hire Vehicle.

(c) Private Hire Vehicle Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that their operator is aware of any such medical condition.

(d) The licence holder shall allow the assistance dog to be accommodated within the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The dog shall be allowed to be positioned as per the passenger’s request.

21. Dual Plating

No vehicle will be granted a licence by Horsham District Council if it is Licensed by another authority. This is due to the fact that a vehicle may be subject to different requirements of the separate licensing authorities which may prevent effective enforcement. It will also cause confusion to members of the public.

22. Temporary Replacement Vehicles

Any licensed vehicle suffering major accident damage or requiring mechanical repair may be replaced by a temporary vehicle provided:

  • The accident damage has been reported by the licence holder in accordance with the requirements of these conditions, or the defect to the licensed vehicle has been similarly reported.
  • An application is made by the licence holder for a temporary plate transfer and the appropriate fee is paid.
  • The replacement vehicle is properly taxed, insured and tested to the requirements of the vehicle conditions.
  • The replacement vehicle meets specifications and conditions of new licensed vehicles as stated within the conditions.

23. Unauthorised Use

The proprietor of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle shall not allow the vehicle to be driven by any person who does not hold an appropriate hackney carriage/private hire driver’s licence issued by Horsham District Council.

If any applicant is aggrieved by any of the conditions attached to a licence an appeal may be made to a Magistrates Court within 21 days of the issue of a licence. (See section 47(3) and 77 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and section 300 of the Public Health Act 1936).

24. Additional conditions applying to stretch limousines

Unless specifically stated otherwise below, conditions applying to Private Hire vehicles also apply to Limousines. The conditions below are additional conditions specifically applying to stretch limousines licensed as private hire vehicles.

  • The vehicle may be left or right hand drive. Operators of all stretched limousines making applications for vehicle licences will be required to produce a valid Individual Vehicle Certificate (IVA) issued by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
  • Tyres must be fitted which are appropriate for the size and weight of the vehicle.
  • Vehicles with sideways facing seating may be considered for licensing.
  • The council shall approve the seating arrangement, within the vehicle, which may vary in accordance with the design of the vehicle.
  • All limousines shall have sufficient seat belts for the maximum licensed number of persons carried and comply with the current legislation in relation to seat belts.
  • The number of passengers any stretch limousine is licensed to carry will be a maximum of eight. All limousines licensed as private hire vehicles must reduce their seating capacity to a maximum of eight passengers.
  • Proprietors must not permit the number of passengers carried in the vehicle to exceed the number for which it is licensed. A child of any age will be counted as a passenger.
  • No passengers to be in the driver’s compartment.
  • In any advertisement publicising a limousine service, the advertisement must state that the vehicle is only licensed to carry eight passengers.
  • Vehicles licensed as private hire vehicles must have appropriate insurance to cover the provision of a service to the public for hire and reward, taking into account the specification of the vehicle.
  • Any sales of alcohol must be in accordance with Licensing Act 2003.
  • Any glassware used in the vehicles shall be made either of shatterproof glass or polycarbonate.
  • The vehicle will not be hired to persons under the age of 18 years unless an adult (other than the driver of the vehicle) supervises them.