Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles have an important role in the local transport infrastructure. Newcastle licensed taxis are divided into two sections of the trade, Hackney Carriage and Private Hire. The licensing of Hackney Carriage vehicles, Private Hire vehicles, their drivers and operators is carried out by the City Council's Licensing Team.

The Licensing Team undertakes proactive enforcement of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles licensed with the Authority in order to promote better standards of vehicle and driver, and to ensure that public safety is paramount for residents and visitors to the city of Newcastle alike. The Authority works closely with the taxi and private hire proprietors and operators in the area through trade forums and regular contact on a practical basis to ensure that these values are met and understood.

Enforcement action will be taken against those who contravene the legislation and conditions that govern the trade, either in the form of prosecutions or suspension and non-compliance notices. Offences range from 'refusal of fare' whereby a Hackney Carriage Driver has without reasonable excused refused to convey a passenger to another part of the city, or to Private Hire Drivers who have been 'unlawfully plying for hire' within the city, that is to take conveyance without a prior booking in place for that job.

Please direct all correspondence, complaints or queries to the Licensing Office, Newington Road East, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5BD
Phone: 0191 278 3864
Email: licensingnewingtonroad@newcastle.gov.uk

Accident Report Forms

A Proprietor or Driver of a licensed vehicle shall report to the Authority as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case within 72 hours of the occurrence, any accident to a licensed vehicle causing damage materially affecting the safety, performance or appearance of the vehicle or to the comfort or convenience of persons using the vehicle or rendering the vehicle.

You can download a copy of the Accident Report Form (Word, 24kb) this must be submitted to the Licensing Office or a member of the Enforcement team within the specified time frame.

The failure to report an accident to the Authority is an offence under Section 50(3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding Level 3 on the Standard Scale.

Application Forms

At present there is no facility to submit applications forms online, however the relevant forms for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles and Driver applications can be found under the information section for each particular licence.

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Approved Convertors

A number of vehicles are purpose built as wheelchair accessible vehicles, however some vehicles are modified, adapted or converted, for instance from Multi-Passenger-Vehicles, (MPV's), to provide for wheelchair accessibility. For this reason the Authority has specified that only certain approved suppliers from which these approved vehicles may be obtained.

We do not supply a list of Approved Convertors at present. Please contact a member of Licensing Team for details of any Approved Convertors for particular manufacturers.

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By-laws are made under Section 68 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, and Section 171 of the Public Health Act 1875, by the Council of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, with respect to Hackney Carriages in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

A copy of the by-laws is provided to all new Hackney Carriage drivers and to Hackney Carriage proprietors on the licence renewal or replacement of their vehicle.

If you do not currently have a copy of the by-laws, these are available free of charge from the Licensing Office.

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All licences issued are subject to local conditions applied and enforced by the Licensing Team.

A copy of the relevant conditions is provided on the issue of every new, renewal or replacement application of a licence.

If you did not receive a copy of the conditions with your licence, please contact the Licensing Office on 0191 2783861.

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Criminal Records Bureau Checks

All applicants for Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driver licences are checked through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

An application for disclosure must be made with every new application or every 3 years on renewal.

If you are currently a licensed driver have been selected for a CRB check, information and the application form will be included with your licence renewal application form.

New driver licences will not be issued until the CRB check has been completed, and any new drivers due to appear before the Regulatory Licensing Sub Committee must also wait until the CRB check has been completed before attending. On average a CRB check is completed within 6-8 weeks, however the length of time taken does vary on a number of factors.

You may track your CRB application here.

If you fail to provided the neccessary identification for the CRB check, we will be unable to accept your application.

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All drivers of Hackney Carriages or Private Hire Vehicles must conduct themselves in a civil and orderly manner and be clean and respectable in his/her dress; they should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of passengers conveyed in, entering or alighting from the vehicle and must attend promptly for any hiring. When a driver is working he/she must wear the identity badge issued to him by the Authority in such a position and manner as to be plainly and distinctly visible and so that the face of the bearer may be compared to the photograph on the badge (lost or damaged badges must be replaced and are available from the Licensing Office). It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children are suitable restrained whilst in the vehicle and that no more than the number of passengers for which the vehicle is licensed are conveyed during a hiring.

Replacement driver identity badges are available from the Licensing Office at a cost of £2.00.

Medical Certificate Associated with an Application for a Licence to Drive a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle (pdf, 76kb)

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Enforcement Action and Operational Information

The Licensing Team officers conduct regular out-of-hours work in ensuring that Newcastle-licensed driver and vehicle standards are met within the city of Newcastle, and in regular multi-agency operations with Northumbria Police, British Transport Police and the Vehicle Operators Services Agency.

Details of Enforcement Action and Operational information and statistics will follow here.

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Hackney Carriage Vehicles

These (HCVs) are licensed by Newcastle City Council are either purpose-built or 'converted' vehicles which can carry wheelchair users in their wheelchairs, or saloon or estate cars or mpvs. All HCVs must be black in colour although wheelchair accessible vehicles can carry approved 'all-over advertising'. They must all carry a roof sign with the word 'TAXI' clearly displayed. They will have an identification number displayed on rear mounted plate (red) on decals on each front door and in a prominent place in the interior. HCVs can ply for hire, that is, they can pick up a passenger in the street or from a rank or can be pre-booked. There is currently a limit on the number of hackney carriages licensed by the Council. They can only be driven by a person who has been granted a hackney carriage drivers licence by the City Council. They will have an identification badge which must be clearly displayed.

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The law relating to Hackney Carriages, Private Hire Vehicles, their drivers and operators is contained in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

Hackney Carriages must also comply with a set of Byelaws set by the Council and attached to the grant of each type of licence are conditions which also must be complied with.

The holder of any type of licence must comply with all conditions of licence.

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Loss of Plates and Replacement Plates

If the vehicle licence plate is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, the full cost of the replacement of the plate shall be payable by the proprietor to the Licensing Authority. The fee for which is currently £15.

On ceasing to use the licence plate it must be returned to the Authority in a clean condition with no bolts, straps or other like fasteners affixed to it. On no account must additional holes be drilled into the plate.

Failure to return a licence plate is an offence under Section 58(2)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding Level 3 on the Standard Scale plus a daily fine of £10.

Replacement Plates must be ordered from the Licensing Office at a cost of £15, and a copy of the Replacement Plate form will be supplied to the driver or proprietor which must be kept with the vehicle and produced at the request of the Police or an Authorised Officer.

If a plate has been lost or stolen the proprietor must contact Northumbria Police and obtain a lost property or crime reference number which should be supplied to the Licensing Office at the time of ordering a replacement.

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Lost Property

All proprietors and drivers, on discovering any property accidently left in their vehicle are asked to return said property to Market Street Police Station within a period not exceeding 24 hours, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Please note that for Hackney Carriage proprietors and drivers, there are further stipulations contained within the by-laws.

Members of the public are advised to contact Market Street Police Station on 019 1 2146555 regarding any lost property.

Please note that no lost property is taken or stored at the Licensing Office.

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Other Documents

Hackney Carriage Report - May 2008 (pdf, 54kb)

Licensing Committee Decision Report - May 2008 (pdf, 14kb)

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Private Hire Vehicles

These (HVs) are licensed by Newcastle City Council can be saloons, estates or mpvs. PHVs are not allowed to pick up passengers in the street or from a rank - they can only carry passengers who have pre-booked the journey via a licensed private hire operator. A journey is usually pre-booked by telephone or by visiting an operator's office in person. If a private hire vehicle has not been pre-booked the passengers may not be insured. PHVs must display an identification number on a plate (green) affixed to the rear of the vehicle and in a prominent position on the interior of the vehicle. They are permitted to display a small roof sign with the company name and the words 'private only'. The legislation relating to licensing of private hire vehicles prevents the Council from limiting the number of private hire vehicles. Private Hire Vehicles can only be driven by a person who has been granted a private hire drivers licence by the City Council. They will have an identification badge which must be clearly displayed. Certain colours and shades of colours are not acceptable for vehicles to be licensed for Private Hire use. Vehicles must not be black, or a 'dark' shade of any other colour.

Private Hire Operator's Licence

Private Hire Vehicle (Minicab) Licence

Voluntary Mini-Cab Licensing Scheme

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Public Register

The list of Hackney Carriage Proprietors is contained in a public register and is available for inspection by prior appointment. Please contact the Licensing Office on 0191 2783861 to arrange.

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Rank Locations and Information

The Technical Services Team are responsible for allocating of taxi ranks within the City. For more information regarding the appointment of taxi ranks please contact them on 0191 2115638.

Smokefree Newcastle

The law requires public transport to be smokefree. Work vehicles are required to be smokefree if they are used in the course of paid or voluntary work by more than one person, regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time.

It is the legal responsibility of anyone who drives, man ages or is responsible for order and safety on a vehicle to prevent people from smoking.

Anyone who does not comply with the smokefree law is committing a criminal offence and individuals who smoke in a smokefree place are liable to a £50 fixed penalty notice.

For more information on Smokefree Newcastle, go to our webpages.

No Smoking stickers, which must be affixed to any Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle, are available from the Licensing Office for a limited time only.

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Tacit Consent

If you have applied for any Hackney Carriage or Private Hire licence, there is no period of time by which tacit consent would apply. It is in the public interest that we must fully process your application before any licence will be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing Office on 0191 2783861.

Taximeter Agents

We do not supply a list of Taximeter Agents at present. Please contact a member of Licensing Team for details of any Taximeter Agents in your area.

Anyone wishing to become an Taximeter Agent should contact Caronline Holliday on 0191 2783862 to discuss.

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Useful Links

Newcastle Taxi Watch

Northumbria Police

Department for Transport

Vehicle Operators Services Agency (VOSA)

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Vehicle Certification Agency

Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)

Town Police Clauses Act 1847

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

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Vehicle Maintenance Information

Operational information has shown that a number of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire fleet have been operating with defective or near defective tyres and bulbs.

The basic checks, incorporated into the tests set out by the Driver Standards Agency, ensure that all new drivers are aware of how you should maintain your vehicle and include:-

  • washing and cleaning your vehicle, particularly in winter, to ensure the windows, lights and door mirrors are clean
  • checking and topping up fluid levels such as engine coolant, engine oil and brake fluid
  • checking the condition of the vehicles tyres for damage, air pressure and tread, there must be at least the legal minimum 1.6 mm of tread and preferably more than 2 mm
  • checking that all lights work and light correctly
  • ensuring wiper blades are in good order and the windscreen washer fluid bottle is full
  • checking the exhaust system is in sound working order

Please note that the above is for guidance only.

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Vehicle Specification

It is strongly advised that applicants should verify with the Licensing Team that a vehicle is acceptable for either Hackney Carriage or Private Hire use before purchasing a vehicle a vehicle or making any financial commitment for such a vehicle.

Page last updated: 
30 June 2015
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