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Taxi licensing

The Democratic and Registration Service manages the Authority’s role to ensure that drivers, proprietors and operators of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are ‘fit and proper’ persons to hold such licences.

Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licences/Certificate of Compliance Tests  

The Department for Transport has stated that licensees of taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible.

Where licensees are continuing to work this should be in line with Central Government Guidance which may be subject to change - See GOV.UK for further information.

Please take note that with effect from 1 July 2020 the Authority will no longer be extending Private Hire & Hackney Carriage Vehicle licences for 3 months.

Licensees will be required to submit and pay for an application online at least 4 weeks prior to the expiry of the licence. The process will require you to upload a copy of the current V5 document or the V5C/2 (New Keepers Supplement for the vehicle).

Upon receipt of the application you will be contacted by the licensing team and advised of the first available testing slot for your vehicle. Please note that you will not be able to book this test via the Customer Service Centre on Horne Lane.

As previously advised all correspondence will be conducted via e-mail.

The application can be completed below:

Renew a private hire/hackney carriage licence 

If you wish to install a temporary protective screen in your private hire/hackney carriage vehicle, please read and complete the following declaration: Protective screens declaration

If you currently undertake a client transport service, please contact the team at client.transport@bedford.gov.uk for additional guidance.

Please also read the information regarding temporary exemption from MOT and advice on keeping a vehicle in good condition.

Applications for Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver Licences 

Due to the Covid19 outbreak the licensing team is prioritising renewal applications for existing Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Driver Licences as the following tests have been temporarily suspended:

  • English Assessment
  • Knowledge of Bedford Area Test

New applicants may still choose to submit an application or they can wait until these restrictions are lifted.

With effect from 16 July the Authority will no longer be extending Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Driver licences for 3 months.

Licence holders will be required to submit and pay for a renewal application online at least 4 weeks prior to expiry of the licence.  The standard licence period is now 3 years. The process will require you to upload a copy of your DVLA driving licence and, where applicable, a medical certificate if you have been able to obtain this from your GP.  Please read the guidance notes before you begin as they contain important information regarding the DBS application and the DVLA mandate.

The application can be completed below: 

Apply for a private hire/hackney driver licence

Please email any enquiries you may have about new applications and renewals to Licensing@bedford.gov.uk 

Taxi licensing information 

We 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 clean and comfortable.

Since 2012, all hackney carriage vehicles must be wheelchair accessible 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.

Within this section you can: 

Quality control 

For hackney carriage vehicles, the Authority can and does limit the number of vehicles that are licensed. Following an Unmet Demand Study in 2018, the Authority will continue to limit the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicles to 70 for at least a further 4 years.

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

Fares 

The Authority does regulate hackney carriage fares and details of these are available at the link below.

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.

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 action where an offence or infringement has occurred. This does not mean we cannot act on anonymous information, but it is a great 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 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.

Request a taxi rank

Taxi ranks are located adjacent to railway, bus and coach stations, and major attractions, including late-night venues, where a consistent demand for the service is apparent at specific times of the day or night.

Ranks should be sited so that passengers can board or alight from the taxi onto the footway on the nearside of the vehicle in safety. However, in exceptional circumstances, a Rank can be established so that passengers board and alight on the off-side of the vehicle. This possibility is likely to arise where there are two rows of a taxi rank each adjacent to a footway. For wheelchair access, passengers will need to utilise ranks where access to taxis is from the nearside.

Whilst the Council can establish a taxi rank we have no powers to insist that the licensed taxi trade provide a service at the rank as they may lawfully engage in other types of service provision eg telephone bookings and on-street hailing.

Map showing Taxi Ranks in Bedford Town Centre (PDF)

In addition, the Council operates a Taxi Marshal scheme in Bedford High Street at the High Street Taxi Ranks mentioned above and the lay-bys outside of ‘Debenhams’ and ‘Laura Ashley’ which are reserved for Private Hire Pick-ups.