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Eleven drivers caught and operations will continue
 A festive message is being given to the taxi and private hire trade - abide by the terms of your licence or face disciplinary action.

Eleven private hire drivers have been caught picking people up for hire from the roadsidewithout prior booking. The drivers of these vehicles are not licensed to do so and do not have the correct insurance.

Officers from the Shared Regulatory Service have recently been carrying out mystery shopping exercises with further operations planned over the Christmas period.

Cllr Jacqueline Parry, Chairperson of the Public Protection Committee, said: "The terms of taxi licenses are complex and confusing, so we want to spread the word to the public so they understand the difference between private hire operators and black and white cabs (hackney carriage) and what service they can expect.

"The majority of drivers operate correctly, but I am getting sick and tired of hearing reports that some of the trade think they can operate how they like."

Although both types of vehicle are licensed by the Council and are driven by licensed drivers, they look and operate very differently.

Taxis (hackney carriages)  are either black with a white bonnet or are ‘London taxi type vehicles' which display a roof sign which is lit when it is available for hire.

These taxis can be hailed in the street or picked up on a taxi rank and drivers' must use the meter to calculate the fare - providing the fare begins and ends in the Cardiff boundary.

Those that wish to travel outside the Cardiff boundary have to negotiate with the driver on the cost of the fare, the driver doesn't have to use the meter and payment can be asked for up front. This is a contract between the driver and the customer.

It is an offence for a driver of a taxi to refuse a fare that starts and ends within the Cardiff boundary without reasonable excuse e.g. the customer is drunk or abusive.

Private hire vehicles  are allowed to refuse fares. This is perfectly legal and it is an offence for a private hire driver to pick up a fare without prior booking through a licensed operator.

Private hire vehicles licensed by Cardiff Council do not have a roof sign but have a yellow licence plate on the rear of the vehicle. They can be any colour other than black with a white bonnet.

Cllr Parry continued, "If you book a private hire vehicle, make sure you do it through the operator. If you don't then the driver is in breach of their license and you are not insured."

Vehicles that are licensed by other local authorities cannot ply for hire (wait at ranks, pick up off the street without a booking, or be hailed) in Cardiff. 

Cardiff's Licensing Section ensure that licensed vehicles are safe and comfortable and check that all drivers have a good knowledge of the area, are medically fit and are free from serious convictions.

All licensed vehicles by Cardiff Council must  display a licence plate on the rear of the vehicle and the licensed driver's photo ID is displayed on the left hand side of the windscreen and is worn by the driver.

Unmarked vehicles  without a licence plate should not be flagged down or hired in the street as they are unlicensed. You not only risk your personal safety by using these vehicles but you will not be insured if you were involved in accident.

National legislation  allows hackney carriages to undertake private hire work anywhere within the UK, this work does not have to be booked through an operator (can be direct with driver). This means that hackney carriages licensed in areas such as Merthyr or Bristol can work for a private hire operator in Cardiff. However hackney carriages can only ply for hire (pick up off the street) in the area in which they are licensed. Private hire vehicles can also undertake bookings anywhere in the UK, but all three licenses must match i.e. the vehicle, driver and operator must all be from the same local authority area.


Complaints that can be investigated by the Licensing Section include:

·        Taxis refusing a fare that starts and ends within the Cardiff boundary

·        Taxis overcharging or refusing to use the meter within the Cardiff Boundary

·        Defective or unclean licensed vehicles

·        Substandard driver behaviour

·        Unlicensed vehicles/drivers plying for hire

·        Private hire drivers accepting a fare without prior booking

·        ‘Out of town' vehicles plying for hire.

If you wish to make a complaint please contact the Licensing Section of Shared Regulatory Services 029 20871651,and provide the following information:

·     The vehicle registration number

·     The rear licence plate number

·     The driver's identification number.