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Taxi regulation and the environment

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Peterborough City Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy sets out the regulatory framework and general approach taken by the authority regarding private hire and hackney carriage licensing.

Conditions

Our taxi regulatory officers carry out various vehicle stop and checks per week. They also perform late night inspections to ensure compliance with licence conditions. Any conditions found not to be complied with, will be reported.

General driver conditions

  • obstruct authorised officers or police officers
  • fail to comply with a request from such an officer
  • use false addresses
  • fail to report accidents to the licensing section
  • fail to report their change of address, or the transfer of their plates.

Private hire conditions

  • illegally ply for hire, this will also invalidate the insurance
  • stand, wait or pull onto hackney carriage ranks
  • fail to wear their badge
  • have their two-way radio loose in the foot-well of their vehicle
  • drive without insurance.

Hackney carriage conditions

  • drive their cabs with their meters unsealed
  • drive uninsured
  • allow their vehicles to be driven by unlicensed drivers.

These offences carry maximum fines of between £400 and £5,000 and in some instances will also include a minimum of 6 to 8 points on your licence.

Those drivers continually caught breaking the law or behaving in an unacceptable way will be reported to the Licensing Sub Committee who may suspend or revoke the drivers licence.

Rules of evidence

Our licensing enforcement team are like any other authorised enforcement agency and must comply with all rules of evidence and home office guidelines to ensure consistency and fairness.

In any case presented before a magistrate or crown court, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the offence charged was committed by the defendant. This means that in all cases our officers must ensure that they have followed up all reasonable lines of enquiry and that the matter has been processed efficiently and within strict guidelines and time limits.

Legislation

In order to ensure a reasonable chance of success, the legislation must be used and adhered to.

Advice on taxi idling and the environment

Running your engine unnecessarily while your vehicle is stationary pollutes the environment and it's against the law on a public highway.

An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. These can effect the air quality of the surrounding environment and the air we breathe.

Vehicle idling is an offence against the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. The law states that it is an offence to idle your engine unnecessarily when stationary. If you fail to turn your engine off after being spoken to you, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20.

What you can do

  • You can do your bit by switching off the engine if it looks like you could be waiting for more than a minute or two. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they're restarted without pressing the accelerator so you won't waste lots of fuel switching the engine back on.
  • Turn off your engine when stationary, for example - on a road at a shop, school, taxi rank and stands, whilst unloading/loading or when parked outside your house.
  • Avoid idling whilst waiting in car parks, petrol stations, lay-bys, "set down" and "pickup points". 

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

Taxis

A taxi, also called a hackney carriage, black cab or London cab, is a vehicle that is able to be hailed in the street and is allowed to wait on designated ranks. A taxi does not have to be pre-booked. Taxis can usually be spotted by the illuminated signs on top of the vehicle or by the famous design of the London Cab, although vehicles such as the taxi-modified Mercedes Vito and Peugeot E7 can also been seen on our streets. All licensed taxis are required to display a white plate at the rear of the vehicle which contains the registration number, the licence number, the licence expiry and the number of passengers the vehicle can legally transport.

Many modern taxis, such as the brand new electric LEVC TX have a variety of distinct features such as a purpose built protection screen, contactless payment, independent passenger climate control and a two-way intercom for communicating with the driver.

All licensed taxis in Peterborough are also designated, by design, as Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, allowing disabled passengers the ability to move around the city with greater ease.

Taxis can be found on ranks in the city centre on Broadway, Northminster, Park Road and Westgate. A rank is also available outside the Peterborough Train Station. Fares are usually charged by the meter, but a pre-negotiated fare can be agreed with the driver for longer trips.

Private Hire Vehicles

A private hire vehicle is a vehicle that must be pre-booked through a licensed private hire operator. Private hire vehicles cannot be flagged down in the street and are not allowed to wait on a rank. A private hire vehicle can be identified by a yellow licence plate, as opposed to a white plate displayed by taxis, and by white door stickers which inform passengers that the vehicle is not insured unless it has been pre-booked. Whilst fares may be charged by the meter, it is more common for a fixed fare to be charged.

A private hire vehicle can only carry a maximum of 8 passengers and includes various types of saloon, estate or people carrier vehicles. Larger private hire vehicles may also include a tail lift to assist with disabled passengers that require the use of larger, power assisted wheelchairs that may be too heavy to safely travel up a fold out ramp found in taxis.

Shared features between taxis and private hire vehicles

Both taxis and private hire vehicles are required to pass a vehicle inspection at the Council’s designated garage. This inspection goes above and beyond a standard MOT inspection to ensure the vehicle is safe to carry passengers. Older vehicles are required to pass this inspection on a 6 monthly basis. Drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are required to pass relevant driver training and undergo regular background checks to ensure members of the public are safe when travelling in the vehicle. The Council conduct regular compliance checks, alongside partner agencies such as Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the DVSA, and have a range of enforcement powers to deal with issues should they arise.

Report an accident

If you are a taxi driver and need to report an accident then please click on the button below.