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Taxi Policy - Private Hire Operators

Business person

The "Fit and Proper" Test

Legislation requires that private hire operators are "fit and proper" but does not provide a definition as to what constitutes fit and proper. This Authority will use the following test in considering the fitness and proprietary of an applicant for a vehicle licence:

"Would I be comfortable providing sensitive information such as holiday plans, movements of my family or other information to this person and feel safe in the knowledge that such information will not be used or passed on for criminal or unacceptable purposes".

The Authority's guidelines on the relevance of convictions and other conduct in Appendix A (PDF) [165KB] outlines the matters that will be considered together with relevant conduct issues that will be considered when determining whether a person is "fit and proper". There is no medical assessment required as part of private hire operator fit and proper considerations. Relevant financial conduct and previous business status may be a relevant consideration.

Application for a New Private Hire Operator Licence

An applicant for a new private hire operator licence is required to provide:

  • A fully completed application form
  • Relevant licence fee
  • Copy of the proposed private hire fare card
  • Copy of proposed company door signage
  • A copy of Public & Employers Liability insurance
  • Basic DBS Certificate for each person named on the application (if a partnership or company it is for each partner/director) (existing licensed Preston drivers exempt) and statutory declaration
  • Right to work documents for each applicant

Application to renew a Private Hire Operator Licence

A completed renewal application must be received prior to the expiry of the operator's licence, and failure to do so will mean that the private hire operator must cease trading upon expiry of the previous licence. A completed renewal application will require the following:

  • Relevant licence fee
  • Completed application form
  • Copy of the current private hire fare card
  • A copy of current Public & Employers Liability insurance certificate
  • Basic DBS Certificate for each person named on the application (if a
    partnership or company it is for each partner/director) (existing licensed
    Preston drivers exempt) and statutory declaration
  • If any of the applicants have limited leave to remain in the UK or have
    the right to remain via a spousal visa, then a copy of the current right to
    work document must be provided
  • Copy of written policies as required by conditions attached to the grant
    of a private hire operator licence

Criminality Checks for Private Hire Operators and Staff

Where a private hire operator applicant is not the holder of a Preston City Council hackney carriage or private hire driver's licence, they will be subject to a Basic DBS and required to make a statutory declaration.

Once a private hire operator licence has been issued then a licensed operator will be required to provide the Authority with an annual Basic DBS disclosure.

Staff Training

Staff employed by an Operator (this may be paid or unpaid) in the operation of the business, such as persons taking bookings, and dispatching vehicles should understand the legal and practical requirements of the work they are undertaking. The Operator is expected to provide training which should be effective, and it is important that the training is undertaken within a short time of a person commencing the work or task.

Record Keeping and Documentation

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 section 56 requires private hire operators to keep details of private hire bookings. Licence conditions attached to private hire operator licence provides details of what should be recorded and how long these should be kept.

Private Hire Operator Licence Conditions

Legislation allows the Authority to attach "reasonably necessary" conditions to the grant of a private hire operator's licence. It has a set of standard licence conditions which are included in Appendix N (PDF) [89KB]. The Authority will include additional specific licence conditions on the grant of a licence where it considers it reasonably necessary to do so.

The Authority recognises that in most cases private hire operator licences have been granted for periods of 5 years and so on implementation of this policy the Authority will write to all relevant private hire operators to make them aware of the new private hire operator licence conditions that will be attached to the grant of future licences. In the interests of promoting passenger and driver safety the Authority encourages responsible private hire operators in Preston to implement the requirements of the revised standard set of conditions without delay.

Approval of Private Hire Vehicle Door Signage

As part of the initial application private hire operators are required to provide a copy of proposed door signage to be used on their private hire vehicles to be dispatched by that operator. They are to be affixed on the two front doors (upper half panel in line with the Authority signs affixed to the rear doors). The maximum size permitted is 770mm x 260mm. A company sign may be affixed to the rear of the vehicle but should not exceed 100mm in height.

The company sign is not permitted to include the words or a word that consists of "taxi" or "cab" whether in the singular or plural or any other word or words of similar meaning or appearances to any one of those words, whether alone or part of another word.

Any hackney carriage (taxi) dispatched by a private hire operator has the option to display private hire operator signage on the rear passenger doors and the rear of the vehicle with the same format of the signage used on private hire vehicles with the exception that the vehicle can also display a taxi sign. It shall not display the sign provided by the Authority relating to pre-booking of a private hire vehicle.

Location of Private Hire Operator

Preston City Council will only grant a private hire operator's licence to an applicant that has an office within Preston's local authority boundary.

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