Brentwood Borough Council Licensing - Taxis and Minicabs - Frequently Asked Questions

Brentwood Borough Council Licensing - Taxis and Minicabs - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle?

Taxis, more properly called 'hackney carriages', can be hailed in the street or from a taxi rank. They have a 'taxi' roof sign, door signs and a black and white licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Private hire vehicles, sometimes known as minicabs, must be pre-booked - either by phone, post or in person at the operator's office. They have a circular licence plate (sky blue with white lettering) on the rear of the vehicle. These vehicles do not have a roof sign but they sometimes have door signs showing the company's phone number.

Where can I find a taxi?

You can find details of the taxi ranks provided by the Council by following this link:

I need a wheelchair accessible taxi - who can I contact?

Use this link to find out more:

How are taxi and private hire fares calculated?

All hackney carriages (taxis) are fitted with taxi meters. These calculate the fare based on the distance travelled and any 'waiting time' which includes time when the taxi is stopped in traffic. Different fare tariffs apply at different times of the day and Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The Council sets a maximum tariff but taxi drivers can charge less and may offer special promotional discounts. They also offer fixed fares for journeys to airports.

Private hire fares are not subject to Council regulation and you should agree a fare (or rate per mile) with the operator when booking the journey.

How is the taxi fare tariff set?

When a proposal for a change in the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares is received from the taxi trade, a consultation is carried out to assess the level of support for the proposal. The matter is normally discussed at the Taxi Trade Consultative Group prior to consideration by the Licensing/Appeals Committee.

If the Committee agrees to proceed with the proposal, it is advertised in a local newspaper. Any one who objects to the change can make written representation to the Council. These comments will then be considered by the Committee before a final decision is reached.

If no objections to the proposal are received, the new Table of Fares automatically comes into force on the date stated.

What do taxis charge?

View Hackney Carriage Table of Fares

What should I do if I think I've been overcharged?

Remember that the fare charged will vary depending on the time of day and the day of the week. The same journey will cost more in the evening or on a Sunday than during a weekday. The fare will also be higher if you are held up in a traffic jam or stop at traffic lights.

If the taxi takes a different route to avoid a known hold-up this can make the journey longer but it may still work out cheaper than if you had sat in traffic, clocking up 'waiting time'.

Having taken these things into consideration, if you think that you have been overcharged and are unable to resolve the issue with the driver/company, please call 01277 312500. You will need to provide the following details:

  • Date and time of the journey
  • Pick up point and drop off point
  • Route taken
  • Fare charged
  • Number of passengers
  • Details of the vehicle, including Hackney Carriage Licence Number
  • Driver's Licence Number or name (if known)
  • Your name, address and contact phone number

How does the Council make sure that taxi meters are accurate?

All taxi meters are tested by the Council's Licensing Team on a special measured route to check that they are calibrated correctly and have the right fare tariff programmed. The meters are sealed by the Council to show that they have been tested and to prevent tampering.

What does the Council do to ensure that taxi and private hire drivers are suitable?

All drivers must make an application, undergo an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, provide a satisfactory medical report and pass the Council's knowledge test. The Council has also set Pre-Licensing Conditions and any application which does not meet these standards is referred to the Licensing/Appeals Committee for consideration.

The Council also sets standards of behaviour through the Hackney Carriage Byelaws and the Driver Licence Conditions.

How do I make a complaint about the behaviour of my driver?

If you were the hirer or passenger in a taxi or private hire vehicle and have a complaint about the conduct of the driver and are unable to resolve the issue with the driver/company, please call 01277 312500. You will need to provide the following details:

  • Date and time of the journey
  • Pick up point and drop off point
  • Details of the vehicle, including Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licence Number
  • Driver's Licence Number or name (if known)
  • Nature of the complaint
  • Details of any witnesses
  • Your name, address and contact phone number

Breadcrumb, my location

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle?

Taxis, more properly called 'hackney carriages', can be hailed in the street or from a taxi rank. They have a 'taxi' roof sign, door signs and a black and white licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Private hire vehicles, sometimes known as minicabs, must be pre-booked - either by phone, post or in person at the operator's office. They have a circular licence plate (sky blue with white lettering) on the rear of the vehicle. These vehicles do not have a roof sign but they sometimes have door signs showing the company's phone number.

Where can I find a taxi?

You can find details of the taxi ranks provided by the Council by following this link:

I need a wheelchair accessible taxi - who can I contact?

Use this link to find out more:

How are taxi and private hire fares calculated?

All hackney carriages (taxis) are fitted with taxi meters. These calculate the fare based on the distance travelled and any 'waiting time' which includes time when the taxi is stopped in traffic. Different fare tariffs apply at different times of the day and Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The Council sets a maximum tariff but taxi drivers can charge less and may offer special promotional discounts. They also offer fixed fares for journeys to airports.

Private hire fares are not subject to Council regulation and you should agree a fare (or rate per mile) with the operator when booking the journey.

How is the taxi fare tariff set?

When a proposal for a change in the Hackney Carriage Table of Fares is received from the taxi trade, a consultation is carried out to assess the level of support for the proposal. The matter is normally discussed at the Taxi Trade Consultative Group prior to consideration by the Licensing/Appeals Committee.

If the Committee agrees to proceed with the proposal, it is advertised in a local newspaper. Any one who objects to the change can make written representation to the Council. These comments will then be considered by the Committee before a final decision is reached.

If no objections to the proposal are received, the new Table of Fares automatically comes into force on the date stated.

What do taxis charge?

View Hackney Carriage Table of Fares

What should I do if I think I've been overcharged?

Remember that the fare charged will vary depending on the time of day and the day of the week. The same journey will cost more in the evening or on a Sunday than during a weekday. The fare will also be higher if you are held up in a traffic jam or stop at traffic lights.

If the taxi takes a different route to avoid a known hold-up this can make the journey longer but it may still work out cheaper than if you had sat in traffic, clocking up 'waiting time'.

Having taken these things into consideration, if you think that you have been overcharged and are unable to resolve the issue with the driver/company, please call 01277 312500. You will need to provide the following details:

  • Date and time of the journey
  • Pick up point and drop off point
  • Route taken
  • Fare charged
  • Number of passengers
  • Details of the vehicle, including Hackney Carriage Licence Number
  • Driver's Licence Number or name (if known)
  • Your name, address and contact phone number

How does the Council make sure that taxi meters are accurate?

All taxi meters are tested by the Council's Licensing Team on a special measured route to check that they are calibrated correctly and have the right fare tariff programmed. The meters are sealed by the Council to show that they have been tested and to prevent tampering.

What does the Council do to ensure that taxi and private hire drivers are suitable?

All drivers must make an application, undergo an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, provide a satisfactory medical report and pass the Council's knowledge test. The Council has also set Pre-Licensing Conditions and any application which does not meet these standards is referred to the Licensing/Appeals Committee for consideration.

The Council also sets standards of behaviour through the Hackney Carriage Byelaws and the Driver Licence Conditions.

How do I make a complaint about the behaviour of my driver?

If you were the hirer or passenger in a taxi or private hire vehicle and have a complaint about the conduct of the driver and are unable to resolve the issue with the driver/company, please call 01277 312500. You will need to provide the following details:

  • Date and time of the journey
  • Pick up point and drop off point
  • Details of the vehicle, including Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licence Number
  • Driver's Licence Number or name (if known)
  • Nature of the complaint
  • Details of any witnesses
  • Your name, address and contact phone number