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Taxi and private hire licensing

Leeds City Council is responsible for licensing Hackney carriage (taxis) and private hire vehicles and their drivers in Leeds. We licence vehicles, drivers and operators and work to ensure that they meet the specific conditions that are placed upon their licence.
 
It is our job to make sure the taxi and private hire trade in Leeds is operated in a professional manner and that the correct standards of safety and comfort are satisfied by all vehicles, drivers and operators. We are committed to providing a quality transport service within the taxi and private hire trade. All licensed taxi and private hire drivers are subject to an enhanced criminal records disclosure.
 
Our overriding principle is the safety of the travelling public.


Are you taxi aware? 

Are you aware that not all taxis are the same?  Although Hackney carriages (taxis), can be hailed in the street, private hire vehicles cruising the streets looking for customers are illegal, uninsured and potentially very dangerous. Never use any vehicle which is not licensed; if you do this you are getting into a vehicle with a stranger.  Many people who have done this have been the victims of crimes such as rape, assault and theft.  

Be ‘aware’ and follow these 5 simple rules:

Always pre-book
Only use a licensed taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle

Wait for it to arrive
Never get into a vehicle other than the one you have booked or a Hackney carriage you have hailed in the street or at a taxi rank

Always check their badge
Confirm the driver is licensed and that they have a badge

Ride with friends
Sharing a vehicle is a great idea and always sit in the back seats

Enter only when sure
If you have any doubts, don’t get in and order another vehicle
 

What is the difference between a Hackney carriage (taxi) and a private hire vehicle?
 
You can tell the difference between a Hackney carriage (taxi) and a private hire vehicle quite easily. Hackney carriages have an illuminated sign on their roof. They also have a predominantly white body and black boot and bonnet or advertising, known as a full corporate body wrap. 
 
Can I hail/ flag down a Hackney carriage in the street?
 
Yes, unlike private hire vehicles which are required to be booked in advance with a private hire operator, you can hail or flag Hackney carriages down in the street. They can also be found at Taxi ranks.
 
Can I hail/ flag down a private hire vehicle in the street?
 
No, private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through a private hire operator. Failure to book in advance would invalidate any insurance in place therefore private hire vehicles cannot be hailed or flagged down under any circumstances.
 
It can be dangerous to use an un-booked private hire vehicle; the driver is not acting under the control of their operator and may be bogus. If you were to be the victim of a crime it would be very hard to trace the driver. 
 
Are there any safeguards when using a Hackney carriage (taxi) and/ or a private hire vehicle?
 
All drivers licensed by Leeds City Council have been fully vetted, including the completion of an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, before a licence is granted.
 
All vehicles have undergone and passed stringent tests for roadworthiness to comply with the current licensing conditions before a licence is issued.
 
If you have any concerns, do not get into the vehicle. If you feel threatened remember to trust your instincts. If you are at all worried ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car.

Licensed drivers will not be offended if you ring home to say you are on your way and give the number of the vehicle you are in.  
 
What do I do if I have a complaint?
 
If you are unfortunate enough to have cause for complaint you may choose to take up your complaint with the driver directly. 
 
Alternatively, you can take note of the drivers name and badge number, vehicle plate number and/ or vehicle registration number, and contact us with details of your complaint.
 
General complaints against a licensed driver, operator and/ or vehicle

Some complaints are about poor customer service and we encourage taxi associations and private hire operators to investigate and resolve the problem, which they do on a large number of occasions.
 
If you wish to make a complaint regarding lost property, rudeness, lateness, overcharging, refusal to carry, parking nuisance, noise nuisance, behaviour, service, fares or cleanliness, please contact the private hire operator or taxi association in the first instance.
 
If you have already attempted to resolve the issue with them with no success, please contact us and we will carry out further investigations and refer the matter to the police, or other appropriate body, as applicable.
 
Complaints regarding race, disability, sexual discrimination and/or inappropriate behaviour

Please contact us and we will carry out further investigations and refer the matter to the police, or other appropriate body, as applicable.

What do we mean by inappropriate behaviour? 
  • Did the driver’s behaviour make you feel unsafe? Was the driver suggestive or over familiar? 
  • Although you may have coped with the driver’s behaviour, did it cause you concern for the safety of someone else who may travel with them? 
 
We are committed to providing a quality transport service within the taxi and private hire trade and we want the travelling public to be confident and feel safe when using the taxi and private hire trade. We welcome feedback in any form be it compliment, complaint or comment and we offer someone to talk to in confidence and links to other sources of help.
 
Please see our Related Pages section for further information on;
  • Applying for a Hackney carriage or private hire licence 
  • Taxi and private hire vehicles
  • Taxi and private hire consultation
  • Taxi and private hire trade information
Check the Documents section for copies of guides, conditions, application forms and much more!
 
Our contact details                                                 Our opening hours
Taxi and Private Hire Licensing                                  Mon to Thurs: 8am to 3:30pm
225 York Road                                                         Friday: 8am to 3pm
Leeds, LS9 7RY                                                       Staff training every 2nd Tuesday 8am to 10am
0113 3781570
taxiprivatehire.licensing@leeds.gov.uk
 
Useful telephone numbers
West Yorkshire Police: 101
Crimestoppers UK: 0800 555 111

Where can I find a Taxi rank?

Taxi ranks are provided where a demand has been identified, such as outside large establishments like hospitals, bus and rail stations, or at locations where the public or taxi associations have suggested they would be useful.

The main consideration in the location of taxi ranks is to make sure they can be safely accommodated without conflicting with other kerbside demands.

Ranks can be operational for 24 hours or part time, such as evening only.

How many passengers will a Hackney carriage (taxi) and/or private hire vehicle carry?

Saloon vehicles can carry a maximum of four passengers, although wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) and ‘people carriers’ can take more. The rear licence plate will state how many passengers that particular vehicle can carry.or private hire vehicle carry?

Will a Hackney carriage (taxi) and/ or private hire vehicle carry passengers who use wheelchairs?

The majority of Hackney carriages are able to transport wheelchair users.  Saloon vehicles do not have this capability but are still able to carry passengers with a range of disabilities and wheelchair users who can transfer. 
Unless the driver of the vehicle has a medical exemption certificate, they must not refuse to carry wheelchair users or assistance dogs.
More and more private hire operators have wheelchair accessible vehicles within their fleet but do ask at the time of booking.

How will the fare be calculated and how do I know how much to pay?

Each Hackney carriage is fitted with a calibrated meter which can be seen in the cab of the vehicle.  A table of fares is displayed inside each vehicle. The meters are automatically set to change to the appropriate set of charges i.e. bank holidays, night time.

Leeds City Council does not control private hire charges. The fares are based on mileage and are calculated by the operator. You should always agree your fare with the operator/driver before getting in the vehicle.

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