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Taxi and private hire vehicle licences

Hackney carriage (taxi) licence

To drive a taxi, you will need:

  • a taxi driver's licence
  • a vehicle licence

Hackney carriages (taxis) can work from various ranks in the town or district and can also be hailed in the street. They have a roof sign and a yellow plate on the back of their vehicles.

Each hackney carriage must be fitted with a taximeter, which is calibrated to show the fare to be charged. Fares are controlled by the council and it is against the law to charge more than is displayed on a meter.

Private hire vehicle licence

Any vehicle that seats up to 8 passengers and is available for hire with a driver requires a private hire vehicle (PHV) licence. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to apply for a licence.

To drive a private hire vehicle, you will need:

  • a private hire vehicle driver's licence
  • a vehicle licence

Private hire vehicles are only available by prior booking through a private hire office and are not allowed to be hailed in the street. These vehicles have a blue plate on the back.

The council does not control fares for private hire cars. The cost of a journey is agreed between the operator and the customer.

Private hire operator licence

If you want to accept private hire bookings you will need a private hire operator licence.

Safeguarding awareness training

To apply for a taxi or private hire licence you are required to complete safeguarding awareness training to understand the issues concerning child sexual exploitation, trafficked and missing children along with vulnerable adults. 

Courses are available from Dorset County Council Dorset Travel Training Centre.
contact Kate Rice 01305 225726.

Watch an animated film from Barnardo’s showing how front line workers in the night time economy can play an important role in helping keep young people safe from sexual exploitation.

Reporting a concern

The CSE Information Sharing Report Form helps professionals share information with Dorset Police to help keep young people safe. The form should be used to provide details of any concerns about people who pose a risk to, or target, groom or sexually abuse young people.

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