Council staff are now hybrid working – working between home and the office. Licensing staff will be available for appointments on restricted days only.
If you wish to make an appointment at either Riverside, Lowestoft, or East Suffolk House, Melton, for a new application, a renewal or to collect vehicle plates then please contact our Licensing Team.
We have a statutory responsibility to licence the hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire trade operating within our 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.
On 28 June 2022, the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 (“The 2022 Act”) will take effect in England, Scotland, and Wales . It will amend the Equality Act 2010 to introduce new, and amend existing, duties for local authorities and taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers and operators alike. The 2022 Act aims to ensure that disabled people can use taxi and PHV services with confidence that they will not be discriminated against, and local authorities have an important role to play in ensuring the requirements are implemented effectively.
Lists of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) - From 28 June 2022, all licensing authorities must maintain and publish a list of licenced taxis and PHVs they designate as being wheelchair accessible (this is something East Suffolk Council already does). This will identify the vehicles whose drivers are subject to the duties at section 165 on providing assistance to wheelchair users and refraining from charging extra for this.
The existing legislation requires drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles to accept the carriage of wheelchair users, provide them with reasonable mobility assistance, and refrain from charging them more than other passengers. From 28 June 2022, all taxi and PHV drivers and operators – regardless of whether the vehicle is wheelchair accessible – will be subject to duties under the Equality Act. The main changes are set out below.
Taxi and PHV drivers will be required to:
PHV operators will be required to:
Disabled people should be able to travel by taxis and PHVs free from any fear of discriminatory treatment. The changes introduced through the 2022 Act will provide disabled passengers with the reassurance that they will receive appropriate assistance, wherever they travel and without being charged extra.
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.
There are two different tariffs for hackney carriages within East Suffolk; one in the north of the district and one in the south (the former Waveney and Suffolk Coastal geographical areas). East Suffolk Hackney Carriage licence holders must choose one of these areas. The vehicle plate will identify the chosen area.
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 our district 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.
If you would like to become a licensed driver there are several checks and a college course which you will have to pass, with separate fees payable for each of the checks:
There are a number of conditions attached to driver's licences and they can be found in the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy below which you can download or print off.
We will help applicants/existing drivers with filling in the DBS form when they come to our offices for their appointment.
Important: We are under a duty to protect the public funds we administer, and to this end may use the information you have provided on your application form for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. Find out more about how we share information as part of the National Fraud Initiative.
New tax requirement for applications to certain licences are being put in place by the Government. The tax check should only take a few minutes every few years and it is simple to confirm that someone is appropriately registered for tax.
Existing licence holders will be required to complete a tax check from 4 April 2022 for renewal of the following licences:
The tax check can completed on GOV.UK, through a Government Gateway account GOV.UK - Complete a tax check for a taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence
When the tax check is complete, a code will be issued. This code must be given to the council. The licence application or renewal will not be processed until the tax check is completed and the code provided.
The council will not have access to any information about tax details, they will only receive confirmation from HMRC that the tax check is completed.
More information about the tax check can be found at:
All new applicants for the licences mentioned above will be required to confirm they are aware of the content of HMRC guidance relating to tax registration obligations:
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. There are a number of conditions attached to vehicle licences and these can be found in the guidance notes for new applicants:
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:
|Hackney carriage (taxi) fare tariffs in the East Suffolk area|
|Hackney carriage (taxi) fare tariff - South||Hackney carriage (taxi) fare tariff - North|
The public register of licences has been divided into North and South areas. These areas reflect the former licensing authority districts.
|Public registers of hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire licences in the East Suffolk area|
|East Suffolk South hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire licence register||East Suffolk North hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire licence register|
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.
|Listing of Wheelchair accessible licensed vehicles and drivers|
|Wheelchair accessible licensed vehicles and drivers|
Auto-Rickshaws or Tuk-Tuks are motorised (electric motor or traditional internal combustion) typically with three wheels, designed for various uses one of which being for the purpose of carrying fare paying passengers - normally two or three although larger vehicles can carry up to six passengers.
Cycle-Rickshaws or Pedicabs, are pedal powered cycles (sometimes electrically assisted) with typically three or four wheels, used for the purpose of carrying fare paying passengers - normally two.
Both categories of vehicle, motorised or un-motorised, used to transport passengers on a ‘hire and reward’ basis require regulation.