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Taxi Licensing - Passenger information

The Licensing Authority

St Albans Council are responsible licensing Hackney Carriages and Private Hires to work within the St Albans District.

We have a statutory duty to license vehicles and drivers who wish to become members of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade within the district of St Albans.

These powers are granted under two Acts:

  • Town Police Clauses Act 1847
  • Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

Types of licence

  • drivers
  • vehicles
  • operators

Any hackney carriages (taxis) or private hire vehicles (minicabs) that wish to operate in St Albans must be licensed by us. Separate licences will be required for vehicles, drivers and operating companies.

The purpose of licensing is to ensure the safety of the public, by checking that the drivers are fit and proper, and that the vehicles they drive are safe, suitable and reliable.

Potentially, any vehicle and driver that can be hired to carry up to eight passengers for reward will be required to be licensed, subject to a small number of exemptions. The majority of chauffeur driven hire cars, executive hire vehicles, stretch limousines, and small school transport vehicles are required to be licensed, in addition to vehicles used for more general taxi work.

Hackney Carriage or Private Hire - Definitions Toggle accordion

Hackney Carriage Vehicles (or Taxis)

A hackney carriage must be driven by a driver who holds a hackney carriage driver's licence.

Hackney carriage vehicles can be found at the ranks around the St Albans district and they can be hailed in the street. You can also pre-book them.

These vehicles have a roof light with the word TAXI on them. They have a yellow plate affixed to the rear and a smaller version affixed to the windscreen which carry details of the expiry date, licence number and vehicle registration. They also have livery on their vehicle which consists of St Albans Crests and yellow stripes.

The fare for hackney carriages is set by the council. If a journey starts and ends in the district, the driver cannot charge more than the meter rate.

If a journey ends outside of the district, the meter does not need to be used. The fare however should be agreed upon, by the driver and passenger, before the journey starts.

You can view the Hackney Carriage Fare Chart here.

Private hire vehicles (or 'minicabs')

Private hire vehicles (or minicabs) are public transport vehicles. However, a private hire vehicle cannot ply for hire or stand in a rank. It must be pre-booked with a private hire operator e.g. through the operator usually by telephone or app. They cannot be flagged down in the street or approach you for hire.

Private hire vehicle can only be booked through firms licensed by St Albans Council. These firms are called Operators;

Private Hire Operator List

The fares for a private hire vehicles are set by their operators. Prices will vary between operators. The fare is a private contract between the operator and the passenger.

Private hire vehicles have a green plate affixed to the rear and a smaller version affixed to the windscreen which carry details of the expiry date, licence number and vehicle registration. These vehicles are not insured to ply for hire.

 

Complaints about taxis or private hire vehicles Toggle accordion

From time to time, the conduct of a taxi driver, private hire driver or private hire operator may fall below the high standards we expect of our licensees.

If you would like us to investigate a complaint about an incident involving a driver, vehicle or operator, please send us an email to licensing@stalbans.gov.uk with the following details:

  • name
  • contact details
  • details of vehicle (plate number, company, colour, badge number)
  • the date and approximate time you were in the taxi;
  • the name of the taxi firm you used;
  • whether the taxi was booked or flagged down;
  • an account of the incident that happened
  • any additional information (eg a photo)

Complaints will be investigated by a licensing enforcement officer, following the principles set out in our licensing enforcement policy, and if substantiated there are a number of different penalties available, ranging from informal warnings to revocation of licences. Following particularly serious complaints where a criminal offence has been committed, we may decide to prosecute an individual, and in these circumstances we may ask complainants to attend court as a witness.

Unfortunately, we cannot open an investigation in response to a verbal complaint.

We take all incidents seriously. All complaints and reports to St Albans Council or the Police will be fully investigated and appropriate action will be taken.


Reporting a sexual offence

Thousands of taxi and minicab journeys are taken every day, the majority without incident. We take passenger safety extremely seriously. If you experience any behaviour of a sexual nature from a minicab or taxi driver, including if they comment on your appearance or look at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, please report it. It will be taken seriously and investigated.

All crimes should be reported to the Police so that they can investigate. You can report sexual behaviour offences (e.g. groping, indecent acts, flashing) to the Police by calling 101, or by reporting it online https://www.herts.police.uk/report/

In case of an emergency, dial 999.

If a driver makes you feel uncomfortable but you think their behaviour is not a crime (e.g. by making inappropriate comments or leering at you), we would still like to know about it. You can report this type of inappropriate driver behaviour to St Albans Council by calling 01727 819264 or by emailing us at licensing@stalbans.gov.uk  

 

 

Equality Act 2010 Toggle accordion

Passengers with assistance dogs

Every licensed taxi and private hire vehicle is required to carry assistance dogs with their owner, and it is a criminal offence for a driver to refuse to do so. It is also an offence for a private hire operator to refuse to take a booking because it involves carrying an assistance dog, or for drivers or operators to charge a higher fare for carrying an assistance dog.

This duty applies to assistance dogs trained by charities affiliated to Assistance Dogs UK, or other similar UK or overseas organisations. It also applies to dogs that have been trained by their owners to carry out this role.

Complaints about drivers or operators refusing to carry assistance dogs can be reported to the licensing team by sending an email to licensing@stalbans.gov.uk 

A small number of taxi drivers may hold exemption certificates. These exempt them from the legal duties due to a medical condition. Any such drivers must display an official notice, issued by us, advising of this

Passengers in wheelchairs

We license a number of vehicles that are wheelchair accessible.

We have designated a number of licensed taxis and private hire vehicles under section 167 of the Equality Act 2010, and details of these vehicles can be found in the list below.

This list will be updated from time to time, so please check this page regularly for the latest version.

The list of designated vehicles can be viewed here.

It is a criminal offence for the driver of a designated taxi to refuse to carry a passenger in a wheelchair, or assist them in entering or exiting the taxi and loading any luggage they may have. Complaints about drivers failing to carry out these duties can be reported to licensing@stalbans.gov.uk .

A small number of drivers may hold exemption certificates. These exempt them from the legal duties due to a medical or physical condition. Any such drivers must display an official notice, issued by us, advising of this.

List of driver’s of a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Some of our hackney carriage drivers have provided us with their contact details so that you can pre-book a wheelchair accessible vehicle. You can view that list here.

Lost Property Toggle accordion

If you have lost an item in a taxi, please send us an email to licensing@stalbans.gov.uk with the following details

  • your name and address;
  • your contact telephone number;
  • the date and approximate time you were in the taxi;
  • the name of the taxi firm you used;
  • whether the taxi was booked or flagged down;
  • details of vehicle (plate number, company, colour, badge number)
  • a detailed description of all the items missing.

Private Hire Operators do not deal with missing property and it is the responsibility of every driver to check their vehicle at the end of their shift.

Please note: Drivers must bring all lost property to reception at our offices in St Peters Street, St Albans.

An officer will contact you if your property is handed into the council. We will then arrange for you to come in to collect the items and sign to say you have collected your property. You will need to show identification before we hand over your property.

Please note: Drivers should check their vehicles at the end of each journey however it is possible other customers may have found your missing property and kept it without the knowledge of the driver. Unfortunately, this is extremely hard to prove and therefore there is no guarantee that your items will be found and returned to you.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Toggle accordion

The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was adopted by the Licensing & Regulatory Committee on 26th January 2021. This came into effect the day after, on 27th January 2021.

Our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy brings all our existing guidelines, standards, licensee requirements and information together in one place, as well as updating our approach as a result of changes to national guidance; the DFT Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

The policy can be viewedhere.

Contact Details
Licensing Service

St Albans City & District Council, Civic Centre, St Peter's St, St Albans AL1 3JE
Tel: 01727 819264

Licensing@stalbans.gov.uk