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Taxi and private hire

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils have a statutory responsibility to licence the hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire trade operating within its area.

Vehicles used as hackney carriages and for private hire must be licensed. This also applies to drivers and, in the case of a private hire business, the operator.

The Council can only licence vehicles with up to 8 passenger seats. Anything above this is dealt with by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

Hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire vehicles

The main difference between a hackney carriage (taxi) vehicle and a private hire vehicle is that hackney carriages are permitted to use designated ranks and can also be hailed down in the street. They are usually identified with a TAXI sign on the roof and the Council approves the maximum tariff for fares and other charges.

Suffolk Coastal hackney carriage (taxi) fare tariff Waveney hackney carriage (taxi) fare tariff

Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed down in the street and must be pre-booked via the office or base of a licensed ‘private hire operator'. Private hire vehicles must not have roof signs but are permitted to have stickers and signs. There is no set fare for a private hire vehicle journey, so the fare price should be confirmed at the time of booking.

Hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire vehicles in the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney districts are required to have large licence plates fixed to the rear of the vehicle showing the Council’s logo, the licence number, vehicle type and registration, and the licence expiry date. A smaller version of this licence plate must also be displayed on the inside of the front screen of the vehicle.

In addition to this the licensed driver is required to wear an identity badge showing the driver’s licence number, an ID photo, and licence expiry date.

Public registers of hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire licences

Suffolk Coastal hackney carriage(taxi) and private hire licence register Waveney hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire licence register

Wheelchair accessible licensed vehicles

Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 requires the drivers of those vehicles contained in a list published by local authorities under section 167, to carry passengers in wheelchairs, provide assistance to those passengers, and prohibits them from charging extra. 

Suffolk Coastal wheelchair accessible licensed vehicles Waveney wheelchair accessible licensed vehicles

Applying for a hackney carriage (taxi) or private hire driver's licence

If you would like to become a licensed driver there are several checks which you will have to pass, with separate fees payable for each of the checks. All new applicants must consent to and satisfy:

  • Prior to making an application prospective drivers must undergo a basic reading, writing and arithmetic test
  • An enhanced level Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check
  • A DVLA check
  • A medical check by your own GP (unless you hold a PCV or HGV licence)
  • A driving skills test and theory test
  • For hackney carriage drivers only, a local geographical knowledge test

There are a number of conditions attached to driver's licences and they can be found in the guidance notes for new applicants which you can download or print off below along with the application form and information about the Council's policy on relevant convictions:

The medical form must be sent or collected directly from the Council offices. You can contact us to request the form. We will help applicants/existing drivers with filling in the DBS form when they come to our offices for their appointment.

Applying for a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licence

If you would like to licence a vehicle as either a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, the vehicle must meet the requirements of the standard MOT test as well as additional measures laid down by the Council and set out in our Manual of Inspection Standards (copies are available from us on request). There are a number of conditions attached to vehicle licences and these can be found in the guidance notes for new applicants:

Applying for a private hire operator's licence

A private hire vehicle can only be dispatched to a customer by a private hire operator. This is a person who holds an operator’s licence under Section 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Part II.

There are a number of conditions to which an operator must adhere in order to retain his/her licence and these can be found in the guidance notes for new applicants:

Licence fees