Taxi / Private Hire Driver and Vehicle Information

 

Boston Borough Council grants licences for individuals to drive and operate taxis and private hire vehicles.

To ensure the safety and comfort of the public, we must ensure that licence holders meet and maintain the required standards and comply with legislation, local byelaws and licence conditions.

There are five types of licence that either a hackney carriage (taxi) or private hire driver/proprietor may need to be able to work within the borough of Boston.

For drivers:

  • Private hire drivers badge; or
  • Dual hackney carriage/private hire drivers badge

For vehicles:

  • Hackney carriage vehicle licence
  • Private hire vehicle licence
  • Private hire operators licence

Any potential applicants must first read the Driver Enquiry Pack.  Copies can be requested via email: licensing@boston.gov.uk or by telephoning 01205 314580.

The New Driver Enquiry leaflet can also be found in Related Documents below.

All applicants must attend, by appointment only at the Municipal Buildings to discuss the application process. At this appointment the driving licence will be checked and a comprehensive test will be taken. If successful an application pack will be given to the applicant. However, the following information gives a brief overview of what to expect when applying for the different types of licence.

The maximum number of passenger seats that we can license is 8. Anything over that number is classed as a Public Service Vehicle and licensed by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

DRIVER LICENCES (taxi and private hire)

Any person who drives a licensed vehicle must hold a licence to do so. Both licences (driver and vehicle) must be issued by the same authority.

We will not grant a driver licence unless we are satisfied that the applicant:-

  • is a “fit and proper person”
  • is medically fit to drive a vehicle.

The law requires any applicant for a driver licence to have held a full UK driving licence (or legal equivalent) for at least 12 months. Boston Borough Council will not normally regard the applicant to be sufficiently mature or experienced unless he/she has held a full licence for at least TWO years.

DBS check – the legislation provides that local authorities with responsibilities under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, may require applicants to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The DBS Disclosure is made against government records and the Police National Computer (PNC).  This also includes a check of the Child and Adult Barred Lists.

If an applicant has spent six continuous months or more overseas the licensing authority will require to see evidence of a criminal record check, certificate of good conduct or equivalent, obtained for the purpose of applying for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Driver or Operator Licence with this Council, from the Country/Countries covering the relevant period.

Medical examination – all applicants making their first application must submit a certified medical certificate. A certificate will then be required every six years thereafter unless an applicant’s medical condition warrants examination on a more regular basis. An applicant aged 65 years or over must undergo the medical examination every year. The examination must be carried out by a medical practitioner who has full knowledge of the applicant’s medical history on the forms supplied by us.  Completed medical forms can only be accepted up to six weeks from the form being signed by the medical practitioner.

Application form – all applicants must complete an application form. As well as the general information required (name, address, date of birth etc) under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions)(Amendments) Order 2002 an applicant must declare ALL CONVICTIONS (no matter how old – even if they are spent).

DVLA check – a DVLA code check form is attached to the application form. All applicants must complete this whenever they apply for a grant or to renew their badge. An applicant must provide a current driving licence (card or counterpart). For more information on holders of European Community (EC) or one of the other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) licences, please refer to the leaflet EC/EEA Driving Licences in the related documents list at the end of this page.

Passport photos – two passport photos must be provided.

Immigration Check – from the 1 December 2016 new legislation from the Government came into force and requires all private hire/hackney carriage drivers and operators to have an immigration check before a new or renewed licence can be issued.  The new provisions mean that driver and operator licences must not be issued to people who are illegally present in the UK, who are not permitted to work, or who are permitted to work but are subject to a condition that prohibits them from holding such a licence.  Your right to work in the UK will be checked as part of your licence application.   The Home Office has developed an online right to work checking service which enables us to check the current right to work status or who holds online EU Settlement Status – a share code is required for us to do this.  The link to obtain a share code is below:

https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status

Comprehension test – all first time applicants must undertake a comprehension test which consists of: reading out loud a short passage in English, completing a written receipt and three mathematical questions.

Safeguarding training – All new drivers applying for their licence are required to complete the Licensing Authority’s on-line safeguarding awareness training.  There is no cost for this training but certificates must be provided to taxi licensing at the time of application.  Guidance notes on how to register, log on for training and print certificates will be provided within the application pack.

Once all the information has been received/returned (from DBS and DVLA) the licensing section will check the documentation and make any other enquiries deemed necessary to determine if the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a driver licence. If everything is OK, the applicant will be issued with a private hire badge. If he/she wants to change to a hackney carriage badge the following applies.

The applicant must pass a ‘knowledge test’.

The knowledge test is in three parts:-

  1. Six questions which relate to hackney carriage legislation.
  2. Two topographical (shortest route) questions (both journeys will start at the same point and finish at the same point but one journey is shorter).
  3. Twenty multiple choice questions regarding the location of places within the Boston Borough Council area. Seventeen or more of these questions have to be correctly answered.

If the applicant passes this test then a hackney carriage driver licence is issued – this allows a driver to work both as a private hire and hackney carriage driver.

Knowledge tests are held once a month and appointments can be arranged by telephoning: 01205 314580 or emailing: licensing@boston.gov.uk.

Policy & Guidelines relating to the Relevance of Convictions Policy –

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers and operators are in a position of trust in respect of the safety and welfare of their passengers.  The Licensing Authority, through its Licensing Team, is committed to ensuring hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers & operators are “fit and proper” to undertake their work.

To support this commitment this council has reviewed its Application Policy and Guidelines Relating to the Relevance of Convictions.   The changes were made in order to have a policy that better reflects current thinking in light of recent safeguarding issues revealed in the Rotherham area and other associated cases.

The document has been produced with reference to discussions with other Lincolnshire Licensing Authorities and guidelines issued by the Local Government Association.

The relevance of convictions guidelines are essentially a yardstick against which the seriousness of offences can be judged, in terms to the impact they should have in determining a licence application or, if the licence has been granted, what effect they should have on an individual’s continuing suitability to hold that licence.

It is considered good practice to produce policies and guidelines of this kind to assist decision-making and allow applicants to understand, in advance, what the Licensing Authority would generally consider to be acceptable when judging a candidate’s fitness for licensing.

A copy of the Policy and Guidelines relating to the Relevance of Convictions can be viewed below in Related Documents.

HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCES

Private hire vehicles must not pick up passengers under any circumstances without a prior booking made by the hirer direct with the operator for which the vehicle works. Failure to do otherwise is an offence and may invalidate the vehicle’s car insurance cover.

Therefore, private hire vehicles must not wait near taxi ranks without reasonable cause, as to do so may be construed as acting as a hackney carriage vehicle and plying for hire. Furthermore, any gathering of more than two private hire vehicles could be perceived as forming a rank and could lead to prosecution for plying for hire. The practice of passengers booking fares with the driver who relays the booking information to the operator over the vehicle’s radio constitutes plying for hire. The driver must not act as the ‘go between’ under any circumstances.

Once a vehicle is licensed as a taxi or private hire vehicle, every driver of that vehicle, whether it be used for business or pleasure, must possess the appropriate current hackney carriage/private hire driver licence.

Hackney Carriages (taxis) may be hailed from a taxi rank, can ply for hire on any street or be pre-booked. All licensed taxis must display a roof sign, a “for hire” sign in the front windscreen and have a Boston Borough Council licensed vehicle plate fixed to the rear of their vehicle. A taximeter must also be fitted which has been set to display a fare not exceeding the maximum fare rate set by the council. This taximeter must have been tested for accuracy and sealed.

To apply for a vehicle licence the following is required –

  • A completed application form
  • An MOT certificate completed by an MOT testing station based within the Boston borough area (every licensed vehicle must be MOT tested every six months)
  • A taximeter calibration certificate if applicable
  • A current valid Insurance certificate (original, not a copy) covering the vehicle for private hire or public hire if hackney carriage

Once all the above is received by the licensing section a licence and plate is then produced. This licence is renewable annually.

If a new vehicle is licensed then a licence plate will be issued along with a paper licence and this plate must be attached to the rear of the vehicle. 

Licence plates no longer have expiry dates on them and therefore will stay with the vehicle for the duration of its working life.  If a vehicle is being renewed then an up-dated Licence only will be issued to the proprietor.

TARIFFS

Boston Borough Council regulates the maximum fares charged for journeys in hackney carriages ONLY. Fares for private hire bookings are not regulated and should be agreed at the time of booking. An example of the current tariff sheet is shown in related documents below.

PRIVATE HIRE OPERATOR’S LICENCE

Section 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 provides that no person shall act as an operator of private hire vehicle(s) without first obtaining a licence from the council.

A private hire operator’s licence lasts for five years.  In line with the Council’s Policy and Guidelines relating to the Relevance of Convictions, applicants for a private hire vehicle operator licence, who do not hold a hackney carriage/private hire driver badge with this authority, will be required to present, at their expense, the result of a current and up-to-date Basic Disclosure check from Disclosure Scotland.

For more information as to what a private hire operator must/must not do whilst holding a licence please refer to the related documents list shown below.