Private hire vehicle owner conditions

The owner of a private hire vehicle licensed to operate in the borough is in breach of the licensing agreement if the vehicle is not as described below:

Furnishing and fitting

1. The owner of a private hire vehicle must:

a) make sure the passenger can communicate with the driver;

b) keep the roof or covering watertight;

c) provide a window which can be opened on each side of the vehicle;

d) make sure the seats are properly cushioned and covered;

e) make sure the floor has a proper carpet, mat or other suitable covering;

f) generally keep the fittings and furniture in a clean condition, well maintained and fit for service in every way;

g) provide means for securing luggage if the vehicle is built to carry luggage

h) make sure the taximeter (if fitted) has been tested and approved by or on behalf of the Council.

Maintenance of the vehicle

2. When in use or available for hire, the vehicle and all its fittings and equipment must be kept in an efficient, safe, tidy and clean condition and all relevant statutory requirements must be fully complied with.

Alterations to the vehicle

3. No material alteration or change in the specification, design, condition or appearance of the vehicle can be made without the approval of the Council throughout the time that the licence is in force.

Identification plate

4. The plate identifying the vehicle as a private hire vehicle - which must be displayed in accordance with Section 48(6) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 - must be securely fixed to the rear of the vehicle in a conspicuous position as specified by the Council and in such manner as to be easily removable by an authorised officer of the Council or a police officer.

Interior markings

5. The owner must keep on display inside the vehicle his licence number and the number of passengers he is allowed to carry.

Safety equipment

6. When operating the vehicle must carry a suitable and efficient fire extinguisher and first aid kit containing appropriate first aid dressings and appliances. 

This equipment must be carried in a place in the vehicle so it can be made available for immediate use in an emergency. 

The owner must provide a way of securing luggage if the vehicle is built to carry luggage.

Signs and notices

7. No signs, notices, advertisements, plates, marks, numbers, letters, figures, symbols, emblems or devices whatsoever should be displayed on or in the vehicle except as may be required by any statutory provision (including byelaws) or required to be permitted by these conditions, provided however that this condition shall not apply to any indication on a taximeter fitted to the vehicle or to a sign which:-

a) is displayed in on or from the vehicle while it is stationary; 

b) contains no words or numbers other than the name and address of an operator of the vehicle or the name under which he/she carries on his/her business and its address and, in either case, the name of a passenger or passengers to be carried in the vehicle; and

c) is displayed in pursuance of a prior arrangement made for the carriage of a passenger or passengers named in the sign.

d) The owner must fix to the vehicle and maintain any sign or notice relating to private hire vehicles which the Council asks.

e) There may be displayed inside the vehicle a table of fares previously submitted to and approved by the Council.

f) Means of identification may be displayed from vehicles to distinguish private hire cars from Hackney Carriages, and to enable the hirer to ascertain that it has been provided in response to a pre-booked call.

The owner of a private hire vehicle may display on the side doors of the vehicle, in letters not more than 50mm high, his/her name, or trading name and telephone number, provided that any such sign doesn't include the words "taxi" or "cab" and is not illuminated. 

In the case of vehicles licensed to carry more than six people, the letters or figures should not be more than 75mm high.

g) A sign may also be displayed which is required to be exhibited whilst carrying schoolchildren under a contract for the hire of the vehicle. Any such sign shall be removed at the termination of the journey.

Change of address

8. The owner must tell the Council in writing if he/she changes his/her address during the period of the licence. The Council should be informed within seven days.

Convictions

9. The owner must tell the Council in writing about any convictions imposed on him/her within seven days.

Deposit of driver' licences

10. If the owner employs another person to drive the private hire vehicle, the owner must retain that person's licence for the duration of their employment.

The same applies if the owner permits another driver to use the vehicle as a private hire vehicle.