Using a Taxi

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Vehicles and drivers 

North Hertfordshire District Council undertakes stringent checks to ensure that all licensed vehicles and licensed drivers are suitable for transporting members of the public. In setting these high standards to promote public safety, we are proud of the standards of service offered to the public.

Vehicles must:

  • be under five years of age when first licensed
  • pass a standard MOT and an additional Certificate of Compliance Test every year (every six months after reaching five years of age)
  • be replaced when they reach seven years of age (unless wheelchair-accessible or a purpose-built taxi)
  • conform to the requirements of Council Policy
  • be adequately insured

Drivers must:

  • prove their medical fitness by meeting a prescribed DVLA medical standard
  • prove their ability to drive to a higher standard by passing a specific Driving Standards Agency Taxi and Private Hire Driving Assessment
  • obtain a three-yearly Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure
  • provide full details of their driving history, including all endorsements, and
  • pass a local topographical knowledge test, including questions on the Highway Code, Council Policy and customer care

Additionally, Council Officers undertake regular enforcement operations ensuring that standards are maintained. These operations can also be undertaken in accordance with the Roads Policing Unit, Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Department of Works & Pensions (DWP).

Location of taxi ranks

There are seven taxi ranks currently operating in the North Hertfordshire area and they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Availability of hackney carriages can vary on the ranks so please ensure that you also have the telephone number for a taxi operator in case there are no vehicles available at that time.

Baldock

High Street (465 KB) 
Railway Station (424 KB) 

Hitchin

Bancroft (327 KB) 
Railway Station (375 KB) 

Letchworth

Eastcheap (457 KB) 
Railway Station (466 KB) 

Royston

Railway Station (639 KB)

Travelling safely by taxi

While incidents involving taxis are extremely rare, we have set out below a few tips to make you feel safer.

Always use a licensed vehicle and driver.

Record the plate number or registration number of the vehicle before you get in, or perhaps text the details to a friend or family member.

If you have a camera phone take a picture of the vehicle and forward to a friend or family member.

Check the driver's badge and make sure that the photograph is of the driver of the vehicle and the licence is current by looking at the expiry date.

Check that the vehicle plates are displayed and that they have not expired.

If you have pre-booked the vehicle from a private hire operator make sure that the correct operator is named on the rear identification plate of the vehicle as this ensures the vehicle has been booked correctly.

When booking a taxi with a private hire operator ask for details of the vehicle and driver, for example, the vehicle make, registration and the driver's name. When the vehicle arrives make sure these details are correct before entering the vehicle.

Make sure you have enough money to pay for the journey or agree arrangements to pay with the driver or operator before the journey commences.

If you do not feel safe ask to be let out in a well-lit area with people nearby.

Never flag down a vehicle which does not have an illuminated taxi sign or is a private hire vehicle as you will not be insured.

Sit in the back of the taxi.

If you have any doubts do not get into the vehicle.

Types of taxi vehicles

There are two types of licensed vehicles: taxis and private hire vehicles. There are a number of important differences between them:

Taxi vehicles

  • taxi vehicles can pick up from taxi ranks throughout the district and can be flagged down in the street
  • taxi vehicles can vary in design from the traditional London cab to people carrier type vehicles to ordinary saloon vehicles
  • some taxis licensed in North Hertfordshire are wheelchair accessible and are required to be able to carry a person seated in a wheelchair in comfort - see details of taxi vehicles with wheelchair access
  • taxis can be identified by an illuminated TAXI sign on the roof and council issued licence plates to the rear of the vehicle - these plates are yellow with black printing, and provide details of the vehicle and the licence expiry date
  • fares for taxi vehicles are set by the council and all vehicles have a meter fitted which registers the fare to pay for journeys within the district boundary - a copy of the taxi tariff must be displayed in the vehicle

Private Hire vehicles

  • private hire vehicles have to be pre-booked, usually by telephone call to a private hire operator, and they cannot be flagged down in the street
  • the fare to be paid should be agreed with the operator at the time of booking
  • private hire vehicles can be identified by council-issued licence plates to the rear of the vehicle - these plates are blue with black printing and provide details of the vehicle and the licence expiry date
  • some private hire vehicles that undertake executive contracts / airport trips are exempted from displaying a vehicle licence plate - all exempted vehicles will display a blue 'tax disc' style licence on the front windscreen

Enforcement

Council Enforcement Officers undertake periodic ‘spot checks’ on taxis in the district ensuring that only licensed vehicles and drivers are operating. Additionally, ‘mystery shopper’ journeys are undertaken by council officers to ensure that passengers are being correctly charged.

Joint working enforcement work is also undertaken in conjunction with Hertfordshire Constabulary, DVLA, Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) which also encompasses vehicle safety checks.