What are the similarities and differences between hackney carriages and private hire vehicles?
One of the main similarities between the two types of vehicle is that both transport members of the public to a specific destination upon request in exchange for payment of a fare.
The basic difference between the two types of vehicle is that hackney carriages can be 'flagged down' off the street or picked up from a rank whereas private hire vehicles (PHVs) must be pre-booked through an operator (who is licensed as a private hire operator), and records kept of bookings.
If a private hire driver accepts a fare off the street without it being pre-booked, he is liable for prosecution. It is also important to note that anyone taking a journey in a PHV which has been 'flagged down' is not insured for the journey.
Hackney carriage vehicles will all be fitted with a meter and are required to display fare cards. These show the maximum fares that the council has set per mile.
When pre-booking a PHV a negotiated price is agreed with the operator before the start of the journey.
For the purpose of recognition and distinction, hackney carriages in Shropshire can be either ‘black cab’ or any type of saloon or multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). They:
- can be hailed from the street
- can operate from taxi ranks in the zone they are licensed for and are restricted to working in that zone
There are five zones in the Shropshire Council area:
- Zone 1 - Bridgnorth
- Zone 2 - North Shropshire
- Zone 3 - Oswestry
- Zone 4 - Shrewsbury and Atcham area
- Zone 5 - Ludlow
- do not need to be pre-booked
- must have a meter and a fare card displayed
- have a white plate attached to the rear of the vehicle which states the vehicle licence number
- can be instantly recognised by a taxi sign on the roof
- must have hackney carriage insurance
- Must be wheelchair accessible in Zone 4
Private hire vehicles
Private hire vehicles can also be any type of saloon car or MPV. They:
- cannot be hailed in the street
- cannot use taxi ranks
- must be pre-booked through a licensed operator and records kept of bookings for six months
- must have private hire insurance
- have a yellow plate attached to the rear of the vehicle
- from Oct 2012 all PHVs display a sign on the side of the vehicle with Shropshire Council’s logo and the licence number of the vehicle and the maximum number of passengers
- From Oct 2012 no PHVs have a roof sign