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Taxi policy - Introduction

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Powers and duties

The licensing of hackney carriages dates from 1847 and for private hire vehicles (outside London) from 1976.

The - Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, as amended, ("the 1976 Act") places on Preston City Council as the Licensing Authority (the "Authority") the duty to carry out its licensing functions in respect of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

This Policy details the procedures and standards applied by the Authority in carrying out its hackney carriage and private hire licensing functions. It provides the Authority's interpretation of the legal standards facilitated by legislation, statutory standards, good practice, and the practical procedures that are in place to implement the licensing requirements. It will be published by the Authority and all applicants and licence holders will be made aware of it when making an application. It will be issued to licence holders and is available in the taxi policy section.

Licence holders are expected to be familiar with the Policy, the standards expected of them as a licence holder and the potential consequences of failure to comply with it and/or relevant legislation.

This Policy also provides detailed guidance to licence applicants as to the standards expected by the Authority. It also provides the public with an overview of the standards they should expect from the hackney carriage and private hire trades and provides information and guidance on how complaints should be dealt with by the Authority.

This policy will be used by officers of the Authority and Councillors to provide a framework against which decisions are made in respect of Licencing matters. It will be used to determine whether applications are valid, and if so, assist in determining whether those applications should be granted or refused and whether existing licences should be reviewed. It will also be used to determine whether any and, if so, what form of enforcement action should be taken against licence holders, and none licence holders.


Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles play a vital role within an integrated transport system. They provide services in situations where other forms of transport are either not available (rural areas and the late-night economy) or for persons with mobility difficulties. The Authority shall seek to promote the following objectives:

  • To prevent crime and disorder and to protect the public.
  • The safety and health of the public and drivers.
  • Vehicle safety, comfort, and access.
  • To ensure professional and respected hackney carriage and private hire trades
  • To encourage environmental sustainability

The Authority aims to regulate the trades to promote the above objectives. It is the Authority's wish to facilitate well-run and responsible businesses, which display sensitivity to the expectations and needs of the public.

When considering each of the policies detailed in this document regard has been given to the Regulators Code published by the Better Regulation Delivery Office within the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in April 2014.

Best practice guidance

In formulating this policy, advice contained in the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance issued by the Department for Transport in February 2010 has assisted the Authority. It also includes the recommendations made by the Secretary of State for Transport in the statutory guidance document "Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards" published in July 2020.


In carrying out its licensing functions, the Authority shall have regard to this Policy, the legislation and relevant guidance.

Each licence application or enforcement measure will be considered on its own merit, and whilst regard will be had to the Policy, the Authority's discretion will not be fettered and where appropriate it may depart from the Policy providing clear and compelling reasons for doing so.


This policy shall take effect from December 2021 for a period of approximately five years and the Authority expects licence-holders to comply with its terms immediately.

The Authority will keep this policy under review and will consult where appropriate on proposed revisions.

From the effective date this policy will override and supersede all existing policies in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing in Preston.

Licensing profile

A hackney carriage is a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, which is licensed to ply for hire. This means that it may stand at ranks or be hailed in the street by members of the public. Private hire vehicles too must have no more than 8 passenger seats, but they must be booked in advance by customers through an operator and may not ply for hire in the street.

The Authority currently licences 187 hackney carriages and approximately 650 private hire vehicles as well as 39 private hire operators.

It has approximately 300 persons licensed to drive hackney carriages and 660 persons licensed to drive private hire vehicles.


In preparing this Policy the Authority has consulted with the following:

  • Licence holders
  • Local trade organisations
  • Local transport providers
  • Agencies responsible for the railway station
  • Inclusion Reference Group
  • Lancashire Constabulary
  • Lancashire County Council School Transport Providers
  • Pub Watch/BID
  • Other Local Authorities
  • Parish Councils
  • Hospitals
  • University and Colleges
  • Public via website
  • Taxi and Miscellaneous Committee
  • Relevant internal services

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