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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.

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 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.