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Taxi advice for customers

For your safety, all taxis and private hire vehicles licensed by us must be properly insured, pass regular checks for road worthiness and be suitable for carrying passengers.

Drivers are checked, vetted, and screened to ensure they are "fit and proper" and suitable to carry out their role as a licensed driver.

Separate licences are required for vehicles, drivers, and operating companies.

The licensed operator will make a record of your journey including the driver and the vehicle details. These records are inspected by our Licensing Compliance Officer periodically.

When you book, a licensed vehicle will be sent to a specific location, identified by you.

All our licensed drivers are expected to behave in a courteous manner, so please treat them the same way.

Types of licensed vehicles

There are 2 different types of licensed vehicle. Each type of licence has different rules and requirements.

The driver of either type of vehicle must wear their New Forest District Council photo badge prominently when working, usually on a lanyard around their neck.

Private hire vehicles

Private hire licensed vehicles are identified by a white plate externally fixed to the rear of the vehicle detailing the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle is allowed to carry. A smaller white licence plate will also be displayed on the inside of the windscreen, usually near the dashboard.

They are not permitted to have any roof signs.

Vehicles can be any type such as a saloon car or MPV. They can be any colour. 

The following applies to all private hire vehicles:

  • they can only undertake contract work through a licensed operator
  • all journeys must be pre-booked via a phone call to the operator, using a mobile phone app, or booked in person at an operator office
  • they cannot be flagged down in the street by customers
  • they cannot wait on taxi ranks
  • there are no maximum fares
  • all fares are set by the operator and should be agreed at the time of booking

Hackney carriage vehicles 

Hackney carriage licensed vehicles, most commonly referred to as taxis, are identified by a yellow plate externally fixed to the rear of the vehicle detailing the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle is allowed to carry.

A smaller yellow licence plate will also be displayed on the inside of the windscreen, usually near the dashboard.

They will have a 'TAXI' sign on the roof.

Vehicles can be any type such as a saloon car or MPV. They can be any colour. 

The following applies to all hackney carriage vehicles.

  • they may be flagged down in the street by customers or approached at a taxi rank, as long as they are within our area
  • they can do pre-booked work, so if you contact an operator, they may send a hackney carriage vehicle or a private hire vehicle
  • they can undertake contract work
  • they must have a meter fitted and may not charge more than the maximum fare set by us,  as shown on the meter

Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Either type of licensed vehicle may be wheelchair accessible. In addition to the above requirements they will display a wheelchair symbol on the external rear plate and internal windscreen plate.

We keep an online register of wheelchair accessible vehicles along with the operator contact details. The inclusion of their details is not an endorsement of any particular operator by us.

Taxi ranks

There are a number of taxi ranks in the district, in key busy areas. They are more likely to have taxis waiting on them during the day, for shoppers and visitors to the area, but there may be taxis available in the evening to provide for pubs and clubs.

Keeping safe

Following the below advice could help to keep you safe when using licensed vehicles:

  • only using a licensed taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle
  • when making a call to arrange your taxi, don't let others overhear your name or address
  • wait for the vehicle to arrive: never get into a vehicle other than the one you have booked or flagged down
  • check that the hackney carriage you have flagged down in the street or at a taxi rank is identified as above
  • check that the private hire vehicle you have pre-booked is identified as above
  • always check the driver's badge, this will confirm the driver is licensed
  • ask to see their driver badge, if it is not initially visible, as they are required to wear it somewhere visible, usually around their neck
  • arrange to be picked up from a safe meeting point
  • sit in the back, behind the driver, where possible
  • let a friend know details of your journey
  • always make sure you have some charge on your phone
  • confirm your booking with the driver when they arrive and ask them for your name before you give yours
  • note the licence number from the plate on the back of the vehicle or on the windcreen
  • do not discuss personal details with your driver

If you have any doubts, about the vehicle or the driver, don't get in and order another vehicle.

You should be wary of getting into a vehicle if:

  • there is no licence plate on the rear of the vehicle
  • there is no small licence plate on the inside of the windscreen
  • the driver does not have an New Forest District Council ID badge or will not show you their badge
  • unlicensed cars cruising the streets looking for customers, as these are illegal, uninsured and, potentially dangerous

Remember

Don't accept a lift offered through social media groups for what seems like a lower charge. The vehicle will not be insured if something happens and the driver has not been vetted.

Getting into an unlicensed vehicle could be extremely dangerous and you could be putting yourself at risk.

Complaints

If you have a complaint against one of our licensed driver or vehicle, in the first instance, please contact the operator who you booked the journey with. If that is not successful, please contact licensing services.

Please be aware we will only investigate complaints if they are submitted in writing preferably via email to licensing@nfdc.gov.uk.

To enable us to investigate thoroughly please provide as much detail as possible with your complaint such as the date and time of the incident, vehicle registration, licence number, driver name, driver badge number, and any photos or supporting evidence you may have.

You can report any concerns to the police in addition to us.

If your complaint relates to a potential road traffic infringement, such as alleged "road rage", speeding, or dangerous driving your complaint must be made to Hampshire Constabulary in the first instance  on their website Report | Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary. Please make a note of the incident number.

If a driver is subsequently convicted of a motoring offence, then we will use that information to decide whether they should remain licensed.

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