Hackney carriage conditions
Our hackney carriage conditions form part of our Hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy and handbook.
We have split out the information from our policy into the below relevant sections however you can view the full PDF version [pdf] 1MB should you require more details.
You must tell us within 72 hours about any accident which:
- causes damage affecting the safety, performance or appearance of the vehicle
- affects the comfort or convenience of customers using the vehicle
We must approve all adverts, sign or notices before you can put them in or on the vehicle.
We will check the:
- quality of artwork and design
- standard of content
- position for display on or in the vehicle
- promote legitimate businesses, products or services
- not detract from the easy recognition of vehicles as private hire vehicles
- not cause widespread public offence
- not breach legislation such as anti-discrimination or human rights
- follow the Advertising Standards Agency rules or requirements
- not interfere with driver or passenger visibility
- not obscure or detract from the prominence of the driver’s badge, complaint card meter or table of fares
You can only place adverts on:
- the lower door panels (below window level)
- rear view window (not side windows) but this advert must not obscure the driver’s view.
Adverts, signs or notices must be suitable or appropriate for children to view.
We will not allow adverts showing:
- tobacco or e-cigarettes
- nude or semi-nude characters
- sex related acts or anything considered of a sexual nature
All adverts must be durable and of a high standard of design and artwork.
Signs which show membership of a motoring organisation such as the AA or RAC are acceptable.
Signs requesting passengers not to smoke do not require our approval.
You’ll need to complete the application form on our online portal and send us a copy of the design.
Age of standard vehicles
We do not have any restrictions relating to the age of a vehicle. We ensure that the vehicles are safe through frequent vehicle fitness tests and the MOT.
We require that all vehicles have both a MOT and a garage test annually with 6 months between each test. We can also ask for an inspection at any time.
CCTV in vehicles
CCTV is not compulsory inside vehicles in our district. If you install CCTV then licence conditions will apply.
The taxi owner must tell us before installing the CCTV.
You’ll need to tell us:
- what equipment you will use
- how long you will store data for
- how you will store the data
It is the taxi owner’s responsibility to ensure that the storage and use of the data follows legislation.
Change of name/address
You should tell us within 7 days of any change of name or address.
There is no requirement to fit a taxi radio but if one is fitted it must;
- be securely mounted to the structure of the vehicle
- be placed so not to cause an obstruction to the driver or passengers view
- be placed so not to interfere with the drivers’ controls
- have all wires and cables secured so not to cause interference to passengers. Driver or vehicle controls
- always keep a copy of our complaint card in your vehicle
- ensure the card is visible to call passengers
The vehicle licence number on the complaint card number must match that of the vehicle.
Contracted garages for garage tests
Each of the below garages can conduct the vehicle compliance test (garage test) for both hackney carriages and private hire vehicles which we have licensed.
You can take vehicles which require a MOT to any Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency registered MOT test station.
M J Vehicle Services Ltd
Unit 13, Brookside Business Park
Bognor Motor Vehicle Solutions
3 Christie Place
PO22 9RT 01243 865515
Discount Motor Services (DMS)
Unit 2 Brittens Lane
You should tell us within 7 days of any conviction or caution given to the vehicle owner or any business directors or partners if the vehicle is owned by a company or partnership.
Driver safety shields
If you wish to fit a safety screen to your vehicle, you’ll need to tell us.
You need to complete the form on our online portal.
Before you apply, you’ll need the following information:
- photos of the safety screen
- proof that your insurance company has agreed to the installation of safety screen
Any safety screen installed is strictly at the users ow risk.
- clearly display a copy of our current fare card in the vehicle for passengers to see
- ensure the fare card displayed is valid for the current year from 1st April to 31st March
Every vehicle must carry a suitable and efficient 1KG fire extinguisher.
- be properly secured so not to cause damage or injury
- have a way of identifying whether it is properly charged for use
The first aid kit must comply with the First Aid at Work Regulations for travelling first aid kits. The contents of the first aid kit must be in date, sealed and clean.
Hackney carriage vehicles must undertake a vehicle inspection which is equivalent to the MOT but has extra requirements.
If a tester feels a vehicle is unsafe to carry members of the public, they must inform our licensing team on 01903 737755.
Owners should arrange for their vehicle inspection as soon as possible before the expiry of their current certificate. However, an inspection cannot be conducted more than one month before the old certificate expires.
During a garage test no repair work is done.
Reversing lamps, fog lamps
1. Reversing lamps must be in working condition and only light up when the vehicle is in reverse gear. The lamps should be off when the vehicle is in neutral or a forward gear.
2. Lenses of reversing and fog lamps should be in good condition and fitted securely to the lap housing.
3. Front fog lamps should be in working condition and work on both dipped and full beam.
4. The lamps should emit white or yellow light
5. The fog lamp shall be properly fitted and work correctly.
6. The battery should be in good condition and fixed securely.
7. The battery carrier should be in good condition and can securely hold the battery in place.
8. Cables must be the correct ones, in good condition and fixed securely to the battery. You must not fix the cable to the fuel line or in a position that stops the insulation working.
9. The steering wheel and its components must be in good condition and correctly fixed to the steering column.
10. Any modifications to the steering wheel shall be to the manufacturers’ specification.
11. The depth of tread on each tyre must not be less than 2mm throughout a continuous band forming:
- the central three quarter of the breadth of tread
- around the entire circumference of the tyre
Vehicle structure, body and general items
12. The bumper bars and mountings should be in good condition and fixed securely to the vehicle. You should only use the correct fixings.
13. Bumpers should not contain tape or any other material which is not part of the manufacturers’ original specification.
14. Bodywork should be in good conditions with panels being properly secure and the paintwork should not detract from the appearance.
15. You must repair missing or insecure trim within 14 days.
16. You must repair any of the below within 14 days:
- excessive damage which causes sharp edges or projections,
- stone chips
Tape or other material is not acceptable to cover damaged areas.
17. The vehicle interior including the boot/luggage area must be clean and tidy.
18. All interior trim must be in good condition and replaced if damaged, missing or insecure.
19. All fitted switches, lights and controls must work properly.
20. There must be a minimum of 4 side-opening doors (unless we have agreed otherwise). All doors including the tailgate/doors on MPV type vehicles must open from inside and outside the vehicle.
21. MPVs with tailgate/doors must have an Emergency Exit sign.
22. Doors on wheelchair accessible vehicles must open wide enough for the wheelchair to pass through. The doors must be capable of being held open with a suitable mechanism while the wheelchair is being loaded.
23. All doors must close and secure correctly.
24. All vehicles must have a minimum luggage space of 14 cubic feet (unless we have agreed otherwise).
25. Luggage should be safely secured without causing injury to passengers or driver/ Any luggage must not obstruct or restrict the drivers view or operation of the vehicle.
Spare wheel and carrier
26. The spare wheel and tyre should follow the conditions on this page.
27. The spare wheel carrier should be capable of being secured properly and of correct design to house the spare wheel.
28. If the vehicle is not designed to have a spare wheel then you must keep a suitable means for inflating types in the vehicle.
Gauges and other controls
29. Any switch, gauge or other unit fitted in the vehicle must function to manufacturers specifications.
30. Air conditioning or climate control must work properly if the switch is fitted in the vehicle. If the air conditioning or climate control does not work you must remove the switch and a blanking plate placed in the gap to make it safe
31. Only those lights that are permitted to show on the dashboard should be illuminated. Any light which controls or regulates any part of the engine management system and illuminates when there is a fault must be investigated and rectified before you can use the vehicle.
Gears and transmission
32. The gears and transmission must work correctly and without undue noise.
33. There should not be excessive oil leaks from the unit.
34. All mounting brackets and bolts must be fitted correctly and the unit should be secure.
Additional items checked
35. Wheelchair accessible vehicles should have enough inside the vehicle for the wheelchair to manoeuvre.
36. Wheelchair accessible vehicles should have the correct number of restraint points
37. Wheelchair accessible vehicles must have a ramp available which is appropriate for its’ use.
38. The front and rear number plates must be bright and in good condition.
39. The wheel trims or allows must match and be in good condition.
Appeal procedure for vehicles failing our fitness test
40. You have the right of appeal if your vehicle fails the fitness test. You must write to us within 7 days of the original test that an appeal test is needed.
The appeal test will be conditional that the vehicle shall not have covered no more than 250 miles and that no repairs or adjustments are made to items or systems that are the subject of the appeal.
We will appoint an inspector independent from the testing garage to do the appeal test at a vehicle testing station.
You, your engineer, the original tester and the owner or representative of the testing garage are able to attend the appeal test.
41. There will be a fee if your appointment is broken or cancelled with less than 48-hours’ notice.
The adjudication of the appeal inspector will be final.
Liquefied petroleum gas
If you convert your vehicle to run on LPG or any other non-standard fuel during the licence period, you must give us a certificate confirming satisfactory installation by a competent body. You cannot use the vehicle until you have given us the certificate.
We will set the maximum fare for hackney carriage. A customer can negotiate a lower fare but the meter must be turned on at the start of the journey.
Our table of fares must be:
- displayed in every hackney carriage
- clearly visible to passengers
If a journey ends outside our district and:
- no fare was agreed before the start of the journey
- a taximeter is installed
then the fare cannot be more than the fare shown on the taximeter.
If a journey ends outside our district and:
- no fare was agreed before the start of the journey
- no taximeter is installed
then the fare cannot be more than the maximum fare we set.
General condition, cleanliness and appearance of vehicle
- keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition and follow licence conditions
- keep your vehicle free from dents and rust, paintwork must match the original manufacturers paint
- repair any accident damage as soon as possible
- keep the inside of the vehicle free of stains, splits or tears to the upholstery, trim panels, carpets and head-linings
- keep your plate clean and legible
- clearly display any internal signs we have supplied so passengers can see them
- not carry more passengers than you have a licence for
- not tout or ask for business on a road or public place
- park your vehicle on the road with other licensed private hire vehicles unless you are collecting or delivering pre-booked passengers
- fit a roof sign
- always carry your current insurance certificate or cover note in the vehicle
- not attach signs or advertising to your vehicle unless we have approved them
- not change the specification, design, condition or appearance of your vehicle unless if meets the licence conditions and you must tell us of any changes
- make sure your vehicle meets all the requirements of the licence and do not commit any offences under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, Town Police Clauses Act 1847, Equality Act 2010, Construction and Use Regulations and general road traffic laws.
- have valid insurance which covers the period of the licence and allows the use of the vehicle as a private hire vehicle
- display your identity card in the vehicle so the card is always visible and you must keep the card holder in good condition
- inspect your vehicle at any reasonable time
- suspend your licence if your vehicle fails an inspection at a testing station
- revoke your licence if you do not resolve and defects within a 2-month timeframe
You must always carry a copy of the current insurance certificate or cover note in the vehicle. The certificate or cover note must list the names of all drivers that can drive the vehicle. Should proof of insurance cover not be available or the driver is not shown on the insurance document then we will immediately suspend the vehicle licence.
You should tell us of any changes to the insurance of a vehicle within 7 days.
A limousine is a luxury vehicle generally driven by a chauffeur with a partition between the driver and passenger compartment.
A stretched limousine cannot be used as a hackney carriage vehicle.
- should have a suitable courtesy panel between the driver and passenger
- should have enough capacity to carry a maximum of 8 passengers
- should not allow any passenger to sit in the front seat
- should not serve alcohol unless the premises where the booking was taken holds a licence permitting the sale of alcohol
- should make sure that any video, DVD or other recorded image is appropriate to the age of the passengers
We do not allow any of the following activities within the vehicle:
- pole dancing
- showing of R rated films or films of a sexual nature
- any activity or performance of a sexual nature
The person selling the alcohol must be authorised by a person who holds a personal licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
The vehicle owner should hold a Performing Rights Society licence where applicable.
Lost or stolen plates
You must report lost or stolen plates to us within 72 hours and give us any crime number associated with their theft.
Return of licence plates after expiry of licence
Plates must be returned to us within 72 hours after expiry, suspension, revocation or surrender.
Hackney carriage vehicles in our district must fit a white licence plate. They must also fit an illuminated roof sign in a style and pattern that we specify.
Standard vehicle specification
All vehicles must:
- follow the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
- follow our licence and vehicle conditions which are in addition to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
- have seats in accordance with the Road Vehicle (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002
- have seats fitted with suitable and appropriate seat belts
- have 4 road wheels unless we agree otherwise
- have a minimum of 4 passenger doors unless we agree otherwise
- be right hand drive only unless we agree otherwise
- have a minimum of 14 cubic feet for luggage
- carry signage on the side of the vehicle to a design agreed with us to show they must be pre-booked
- remove any seating above or over the number of passengers they hold a licence for
- allow passengers to speak directly and easily with the driver
- have an approved taximeter
- have an approved roof sign
- not display advertisements unless we have approved them
- must be kept in a safe, tidy and clean condition
- follow our testing and MOT schedule
- be of any make, model or colour but must follow our vehicle licence conditions
- display the company or trading name and telephone number on the external surface of the 2 front doors. They must also add the words advance booking only in lettering no less than 5cms and a maximum of 16cm near the other wording
- display other advertising but only after we have approved the content and design, advertisements must be of a permanent nature and you must display the words private hire vehicle on the surface of the vehicle in lettering no less than 5cms and a maximum of 16cm in height
We will not
- licence London style cabs or similar purpose-built vehicles as a private hire vehicle
- licence vehicles converted from vans
- licence novelty vehicles
- licence vintage vehicles
Wheelchair accessible vehicles:
- can have side loading access only
- must have enough space inside to accommodate safely and securely the number of wheelchairs they hold a licence for
- must have suitable and enough passenger harnesses for passengers who remain in the wheelchair during the journey
- have a full set of restraints for each wheelchair that they can carry
- should be able to attach ramps to the vehicle when in use
- should keep ramps in good condition and use ramps with anti-slip covering
- secure ramps when not in use securely and safely
- if they use a lift it should be appropriate for wheelchair users
- should have their lift (if applicable) inspected under the Lifting Operations and lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and it should be certified as safe to use
- should only face wheelchairs forward or backwards once the vehicle is moving
- may display a sign outside the vehicle to show the vehicle was manufactured or adapted for wheelchair use
Single seat vehicles
These should have:
- 4 road wheels (unless otherwise agreed)
- a minimum of 3 doors (offside, nearside and a boot door) unless otherwise agreed
- enough capacity to carry one passenger and a guide/assistance dog together. The dog must not be separated from its’ handler.
- front facing seats
- seats fitted with an appropriate and approved working seat belt
- seats whose size is as per The Road Vehicle (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 (as amended)
- a minimum secured luggage capacity of 12 cubic feet and luggage must be secured safely so not to obstruct, restrict or cause injury to occupants of the vehicle.
- a luggage compartment large enough to carry a wheelchair when the boot lid/tailgate is closed and secured
- right hand drive only or a central driver position if it is a 3 wheeled vehicle
We will not allow commercially styled vehicles such as vans to be licensed.
The taximeter must be:
- calibrated so that it does not display a fare greater than our maximum fare
- located where all passenger can see it clearly
- sealed so that it is not possible to tamper with the meter or its fittings except by breaking, damaging or permanently displacing the seals
- lit up when the meter is in operation
If your taximeter has a flag or other device fitted, bearing the words ‘FOR HIRE’ then the flag or other device must:
- plainly and clearly display the words ‘FOR HIRE’ on each side in plain letters at least one and a half inches in height only when the meter is not in use
- be capable of being locked in a position so no fare displays on the meter
If your taximeter does not have a flag or other device bearing the words ‘FOR HIRE’:
- it must be fitted with a key or other device which, can lock into position, start the meter and cause the word ‘HIRED’ to appear on the face of the taximeter
- you must provide a sign bearing the words ‘FOR HIRE’ in plain letters at least one and a half inches in height which can be safely operated by the driver to indicate clearly and conveniently to persons outside the vehicle whether or not the vehicle is for hire
You must ensure that when your taximeter is in action that the chargeable fare is plainly and distinctly legible and that the word ‘FARE’ is printed on the face of the taximeter in plain letters and cannot easily be confused with any other figures or letters displayed on the meter.
Anyone driving the vehicle for hire purposes must know how to use the meter.
You’ll repair any damage to the meter or seal as soon as possible after any damage has been caused.
The letters and figures on the taximeter face must be suitably lit up whilst being hired.
When the meter is on it should show the fare in legible figures which does not exceed the maximum fare that may be charged for a journey.
Tuk Tuks and Quadcycles
Tuk Tuks can be licensed for use as a hackney carriage vehicle.
They must meet the following conditions:
- they can have 3 road wheels
- the style of the vehicle to be fixed and limited to 200cc LPG/petrol engines
- the number of passengers per trip to be restricted to one of the following:
- 2 adults
- 1 adult with 2 children under 12
- 2 adults with 1 child under 12
- There is no requirement for luggage space
- Doors must:
- be fitted to the sides of the passenger compartment
- be of solid construction
- close securely
- be capable of opening from both the inside and outside
The roof covering should be weather tight and be of suitable construction to hold a roof sign.
The passenger compartment should have suitable protection from the weather.
All seats should be:
- forward facing
- properly secured to the vehicle structure
- of suitable construction
- properly cushioned and covered
- fitted with an appropriate and approved working seat belt.
The driver will be subject to additional specialist testing for example for motorcycles.
The vehicle must be tested at a garage registered by VOSA for motorbike MOT’s.
Vehicles with third row seats (MPVs)
We will not license Multi person vehicles (MPVs) unless you meet the following specifications:
- there must be at least 5 doors on the vehicle which are openable from the inside
(offside front; nearside front; offside rear; nearside rear and a boot door), double boot doors are considered as a single door;
Rear boot doors must be signed as Emergency Exits;
- there must be unrestricted access to the doors of the vehicle, from or to any seat, without the need to remove any seat or use a lever to lower the back of the seat or tilt the seat forward
- no passenger must be required to climb over more than one other passenger, to leave the vehicle safely and comfortable
- the distance in the emergency aisle between the sides of seats or the side of a seat and the vehicle body, must be a minimum of 229mm (9 inches) in width at a measurement of 127mm (5 inches) in height from the floor
- the distance in the emergency aisle between sides of seats or the side of a seat and the vehicle body must be a minimum of 279mm (11inches) in width at a height of 1220mm (48 inches) from the floor
- all seats in the vehicle must be either forward or rear facing
- all seats must have a suitable and approved seat belt which is in working order
- you must keep a copy of the seating arrangements (where applicable) in the vehicle for inspection by the licensing officer
- there shall be 4 road wheels
- there shall be enough seating capacity to carry up to 8 passengers
- the size of the seats must follow The Road Vehicle (Registration and Licensing) Regulations
- a minimum secured luggage capacity of not less than 14 cubic feet
- luggage must be safely secured so as not to obstruct, restrict, or cause injury to the occupants of the vehicle
- the vehicle shall be right hand drive only
Below are images of the layout which show what is acceptable or not.
Wheelchair accessible hackney carriage vehicles
We do not currently have a policy relating to the number of disabled accessible vehicles in our district.
We recognise that owners of saloon type private hire vehicles may wish to replace their vehicle with a disabled accessible vehicle and there are conditions which ensure the safety and comfort of passengers in a WAV.
Doors on wheelchair accessible vehicles must:
- open wide enough for the wheelchair to pass through
- be capable of staying open with a suitable mechanism while the wheelchair is loaded
There should be:
- enough room inside the vehicle for a wheelchair to safely move
- an appropriate number of fixing points for each wheelchair. You must keep fixing points in good and safe condition.
- a full set of restraints for each wheelchair the vehicle can carry. You must keep restraints in good condition and they must be of sufficient strength to hold the wheelchair in place
- suitable and enough passenger harnesses for any passengers who stay in the wheelchair during the journey
- access ramps which are anti-slip and in good condition
- suitable means of attaching ramps to the vehicle when in use
- suitable means of securing ramps in the vehicle when not in use
If there is a passenger lift it must be:
- one specifically for wheelchair users
- inspected under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER)
- certified as safe to use
Wheelchairs must only face forward or rearward when the vehicle is moving
You may affix a sign to the outside of the vehicle showing it is able to convey passengers in wheelchair provided that the vehicle has been manufactured or adapted for that purpose
A hackney carriage vehicle can only be loaded from the side.