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Taxi Licensing

Welcome to the Taxi Licensing section of the Authority’s web site.  The Democratic & Registration Services manages the Authority’s role to ensure that drivers, proprietors and operators of hackney carriage vehicles are fit and proper persons to hold such licenses.  They also manage the Authority’s role to ensure that proprietors only use vehicles that are suitable in type, size and design for use as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle and that the vehicles are mechanically suitable and safe and that they are comfortable.

By 2012, all hackney carriage vehicles must be wheelchair friendly and the drivers have a legal obligation to facilitate the wheelchair user.  It is a statutory duty that all hackney carriage and private hire vehicles accommodate assistance dogs and their owners. 

 

The new Manual of Inspection for licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles became effective on 1 April 2012.

 

HACKNEY CARRIAGE VEHICLES

Hackney Carriage Vehicles – Quantity control

For Hackney Carriage Vehicles, the Authority can and does limit the number of vehicles that are licensed. Following an Unmet Demand Study that concluded January 2014, the Authority will continue to limit the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicles for at least a further 4 years.

Hackney Carriage Fares

The Authority does regulate Hackney Carriage Fares and details of these are available using the link below.

Bedford Taxi Fares

 

Hackney Carriage Fares 2013

Inspection Standards

All vehicles submitted for a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence will need to make their vehicle available for a mechanical inspection (for details of the inspection, see link below)

Manual Inspection of Vehicles

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Details of Wheelchair Accessible requirements are set out in the new Manual of Inspection at Section 6 (page 30) and Section 11 (pages 50-52).

PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES

Private Hire Vehicles – Quantity control

The Authority has no power to limit the number of private hire vehicles

Private Hire Fares

The Authority has no power to set the maximum fares for journeys in Private Hire Vehicles.  It is important that passengers in Private Hire Vehicles agree the fare to be charged before the journey starts.

Inspection Standards

All vehicles submitted for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence will need to make their vehicle available for a mechanical inspection (for details of the inspection, see link below)

Manual Inspection of Vehicles

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Details of Wheelchair Accessible requirements are set out in the new Manual of Inspection at Section 6 (page 30) and Section 11 (pages 50-52).

HACKNEY CARRIAGE / PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS

Knowledge Tests

In relation to Drivers of Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles, the Authority requires all applicants who have not already passed a Test (or have had a gap in the licence period of 6 months or more) to pass the Knowledge of the Bedford Area Test (for details of the Test, see link below).

Knowledge Test Syllabus

English Language Skills

An English Assessment is also required for those who have not already passed such an assessment (or have had a gap in the licence period of 6 months or more).  Details of the Assessment can be found at the link below

English Assessment

Driving Skills

Where applicants have not already passed the  a Driving Skills Assessment  (or have had a gap in the licence period of 6 months or more) they will be required to pass such an Assessment. 

Taxi Driver Assessments are undertaken by The Blue Lamp Trust. Taxi Driver Assessments can be booked through the Blue Lamp Trust Website at www.bluelamptrust.org.uk or by contacting The Blue Lamp Trust on 0333 7000157.

 

Criminal Records Check

All drivers will also be asked to submit an enhanced criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously the Criminal Records Bureau) (see link below)

Disclosure and Barring Service

The Authority also has the following relevant policies (further policies are explained in the guidance notes to these applications).

Convictions & Character Policy for Hackney Carriage, Private Hire Drivers & Operators, 2011

All references made in the attached to the Post of Head of Registration and Records in the document should now be read as referencing to the Post of Head of Democratic and Registration Services.

PRIVATE HIRE OPERATORS

Criminal Records Check

All private hire operators will also be asked to submit a basic criminal record check from the Disclosure Scotland (link below)

Disclosure Scotland

The Authority also has the following relevant policy:

Convictions & Character Policy for Hackney Carriage, Private Hire Drivers & Operators 2011.

 

HAVE YOU WITNESSED A LICENSED DRIVER DOING SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN'T?

 

Road traffic offences (speeding/jumping the lights/accidents etc) and complaints of violence or aggression should be reported to the POLICE in the first instance.

 

Parking offences are dealt with by Parking Enforcement (eg yellow line/red route issues).

 

Matters such as driver behaviour/vehicle parked on a hackney carriage rank/illegal plying for hire/touting should be reported to us.  In order for us to deal with the matter appropriately, please contact us as soon as possible at licensing@bedford.gov.uk

 

We WILL ask you for details such as time/date/location of what you have witnessed and we WILL ask you for a witness statement.  This is because we want to be in the best possible position to take the strongest possible action where an offence or infringement has occurred.  This does not mean we cannot act on anonymous information, but it is a huge help to us when we have complainants who are prepared to help in this way.

 

Please do not post your photographs/videos on social media and PLEASE PLEASE do not use a hand held device whilst driving to record alleged offences.  We have seen too many videos/photographs taken 'evidencing' minor breaches of conditions where the 'evidence gatherer' appears to have committed a serious road traffic offence in doing so.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Please use the links on the left hand side to access further information that may be relevant to you.