As we approach Christmas party season, Oswestry Town Council is working locally to remind the public and businesses of the key differences between taxis and private hire vehicles.  The aim is to improve passenger safety, ensure taxi proprietors / drivers and private hire vehicle drivers and operators remain compliant, and that businesses who do not hold the requisite licences do not inadvertently undertake illegal taxi or private hire journeys and invalidate their vehicle insurance.

The fundamental difference is that a private hire vehicle cannot ply for hire, whereas a taxi can.  This means that you can hail a taxi in the street.  You cannot do this with a private hire vehicle.  All private hire journeys must be pre-booked in advance through a licensed operator.

To identify a taxi, look out for an illuminated ‘taxi’ sign, check the plate attached to the vehicle for the words ‘hackney carriage’, ensure a meter is in operation and a fare card displayed.  If these are not visible, do not get into the vehicle unless you have pre-booked it through a licensed private hire operator.

If you get into a private hire vehicle from any location without a pre-booking, i.e., if you stop the vehicle or find it in the street, the vehicle will not be insured for the journey that is then undertaken.  Private hire drivers are also breaking the law if they allow you to get into their vehicle without a pre-booking.

Pubs, hotels and takeaways must take care that they do not transport customers without the appropriate licences in place. Further information can be found on Shropshire Council’s website and from the Licensing Team at Shropshire Council – Email: / Tel: 0345 678 9046 / Website: Taxis | Shropshire Council