Can I get a new licence for a hackney carriage?

There is no limit on the number of hackney carriage licences issued by the council. There are 45 (plates 1 to 45) that have grandfather rights and are not required to be wheelchair accessible.

If you want to obtain one of these hackney carriage licences the only way to do this is to buy a vehicle that is already licensed. All new applications must be for wheelchair accessible vehicles.

How long is a hackney carriage licence issued for?

Licences are normally issued for one year.

How much does a hackney carriage licence cost?

Details of the costs of a new licence can be found on the Fees page.

How old can a car be when it is licensed?

From 1 January 2019 cars being licensed for the first time must be less than five years old. There is no age limit for removing the vehicle providing it:

  • remains in good condition
  • continues to pass the required Certificate of Compliance test vehicle inspection and
  • meets the current licensing conditions.

What sort of vehicle can be licensed as a hackney carriage?

All new applications must be for a wheelchair accessible vehicle or a purpose-built London-style hackney carriage. Vehicles converted so they can carry a passenger sitting in a wheelchair (with appropriate approval certificate) can also be licensed. Stretched limousines are not permitted to be licensed as hackney carriages.

How many passengers can a hackney carriage be licensed to carry?

The maximum number of passengers that a hackney carriage can be licensed to carry is 8. The vehicle log book will specify the total number of persons that the vehicle can carry. The licence will be issued for this number minus the driver, to a maximum of 8.

Can I licence a left hand drive vehicle?

No, left hand drive vehicles are not permitted to be licensed on safety grounds.

How do I make an appointment to test my new vehicle or renew an existing vehicle?

You will need to book a test directly with our approved garage (Adams Autos). Tests must be booked and paid for on line. Garage test fees can be viewed on the Fees page.

How long will a vehicle test take?

Appointments take around an hour. It’s important that you arrive promptly for your appointment - if you are late we may not be able to see you. If you are 10  or more minutes late your appointment will be automatically cancelled and you will need to rebook online.

What documents/notices/equipment do I need to bring to my appointment to licence my hackney carriage hire vehicle?

  • You must bring your:

    • completed vehicle application form

    • current vehicle insurance policy that names the licensed driver(s) who is insured to drive the vehicle, or is a fleet insurance. The insurance certificate must detail that the vehicle is insured for correct usage as per the licence applied for.

    •  Previous Certificate of Compliance (if applicable)

    • DVLA vehicle registration document. If you've recently bought the vehicle and don't have the registration document, you should bring the new keepers supplement and provide the registration document to the Licensing Team when you receive it from the DVLA.

  • Your vehicle must be taxed. 

  • A taxi meter must be fitted to the vehicle and be visible to customers. A meter calibration certificate must be provided (when the vehicle is first presented for licensing).

  • No Smoking and/or disability signs must be displayed on at least one near-side (passenger-side) and one off-side (driver-side) window to be clearly visible to passengers before entering your vehicle.

  • A first aid kit suitable for use in vehicles, with the registration number of the vehicle permanently marked on it.

  • A 1kg (2.2lb) dry powder fire extinguisher must be provided, with the registration number of the vehicle permanently marked on it. The extinguisher should be secured within the vehicle within reach of the driver.

  • Ramps for disabled access (wheelchair accessible vehicles only).

  • Roof sign, either integral or, if not integral, with the word TAXI in black writing on a white background on the front and FOR HIRE in black writing on a red background on the reverse. The roof signs must be capable of being lit and must cease to be lit when the taximeter is in operation. The roof sign must be in good working order. Vehicles capable of carrying passengers in a wheelchair must incorporate a sign into the roof sign indicating their purpose.

Once the vehicle has passed the test the garage will send the application and supporting documents direct to the Licensing Team and your application will then be checked. Once approved, the plate and licence will be ready for collection and payment of the licence fee from our reception at Pathfinder House in 3 working days.

What condition must my car be in for a licence to be issued?

  • Your car must be clean and in generally good condition.

  • Paintwork should be bright and well matched, vehicles with dull or mismatched paintwork won’t be licensed.

  • Vehicles should be generally free from rust.  Areas of rust or blemishes larger than 10mm x 10mm will result in the vehicle not being able to be licensed.

  • Dents over 40mm in diameter and over 2mm deep or scratches over 300mm long may not be accepted.

  • Poor or unsatisfactory repairs or modifications aren’t acceptable.

  • The vehicle interior, including the boot, should be clean, not excessively worn and odour free.

  • Only equipment or tools that relate to the maintenance of the vehicle should be stored in the boot and should be securely stowed. Oil or petrol cans shall not be carried in any part of the vehicle. You must ensure you have appropriate equipment and/or tools to change or repair a punctured tyre.

Do I need to be able to provide receipts to customers?

Yes. You must offer and be able to provide for each journey undertaken pre-printed or digital receipts to customers where you can add the date, the fare and the driver's badge number.

Does my hackney carriage need to be fitted with a meter to calculate the fare for each journey?

Yes, a meter must be fitted in your vehicle and sealed. The (maximum) fares you charge are set by the council and your meter must be pre-programmed with these fares and a meter calibration certificate provided when your vehicle is first licensed. The meter must be visible to the passenger so that they can see the fare displayed.

Does my hackney carriage need to have a roof sign?

Yes, hackney carriages must be fitted with a roof sign. This sign must either be an integral sign on a purpose built hackney carriage or a white sign, with the words ‘Taxi’ in black writing on the front and ‘For Hire’ in black writing on a red background on the reverse. The roof sign must be able to be illuminated when the vehicle is for hire and must case to be illuminated when the taximeter is in use. Vehicles capable of carrying passengers in a wheelchair must incorporate a sign into the roof sign indicating their purpose.

Can I display advertising on my hackney carriage?

Advertising can only be displayed on a hackney carriage with the written permission of the council. If you wish to seek permission for advertising you should email details of your proposals to the Licensing Team at licensing@huntingdonshire.gov.uk.

Do I need a spare wheel?

You must ensure you have appropriate equipment and/or tools to change or repair a punctured tyre. These tools/equipment must be in good condition and must be securely stowed in the vehicle. Equipment or tools will be a spare wheel, a space saver wheel or a canister which fills the damaged type in order to affect a temporary repair to allow it to be driven to a garage for repair.

Is smoking allowed in a hackney carriage?

Smoking is never permitted in a licensed vehicle. Even when the vehicle is not being used as a hackney carriage and no passengers are present, smoking is not permitted. No smoking signs must be displayed on at least one near-side (passenger-side) and one off-side (driver-side) window to be clearly visible to passengers before entering your vehicle.

Are PDAs and sat navs allowed in hackney carriages?

Yes, but the position of them must be approved by the council and should not obstruct driver or passenger movement, comfort or vision in accordance with road traffic regulations.

I have lost/had stolen my vehicle licence plate -  what do I need to do?

If a licence plate and/or mounting bracket is lost, stolen or damaged you should advise the Licensing Team as soon as is reasonably practicable by email (licensing@huntingdonshire.gov.uk). You should report stolen plates to the police on their 101 telephone number and obtain a crime reference number. Once the Licensing Team has received your email they will contact you to arrange to provide you with a replacement. There is a charge for replacement mounting brackets and plates, details of which can be found on our Fees page.

I have been involved in an accident in my vehicle - what do I need to do?

You must report any accident to the Licensing Team within 72 hours.

Download the accident report form.

I have moved house/changed address, what do I need to do?

You should tell us about your change of address as soon as is reasonably practicable. Failure to do so may result in renewal letters going to the wrong address. You should complete the Change of Address form (ADD LINK) - there is a fee of £10 to update our records.