Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are licensed by the Councils in a similar way but are subject to differing conditions and are primarily regulated by different legislation. Hackney carriages are usually known as 'taxis' although the term is often used by the general public for both types of vehicles. The Councils can only licence vehicles with up to 8 passenger seats. Anything above this normally falls into a different regime of licensing (Public Service Vehicle - PSV) administered by VOSA in Cambridge. The regime of controlling licensed vehicles inside the London area is different to that outside of London. Vehicles will not be issued a licence by the Council if they are still plated elsewhere. Babergh hackney carriages have white plates whilst at Mid Suffolk they are red.
A private hire vehicle must be pre-booked in advance via a licensed private hire operator’s base within the district. PHV's cannot use the ranks, cannot 'ply-for-hire' or be flagged down in the street. In Babergh these are issued with yellow plates for identification whilst in Mid Suffolk they are blue. Private hire vehicles can set their fares at whatever level they choose and often a customer will agree a fare with the controller/operator when making the booking. Some private hire bases offer booking and waiting facilities for customers.
A Babergh licensed hackney carriage can use any designated ranks in the Babergh area, can be flagged down in the street, is available for immediate hire, may 'ply-for-hire', and will normally have an illuminated roof sign.
Applications for new Hackney Carriage plates may be considered from April 2009 - subject to enhanced terms and conditions relating to accessibility, age and type approval (contact the Licensing Team if you require further information). The maximum fares chargeable by hackney carriage proprietors are regulated by the Council although an operator may set or a customer may negotiate a lower fare. The current fare table can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
FORMS FOR BABERGH OR MID SUFFOLK APPLICATIONS
Forms are available by emailing licensing Babergh (if you intend to operate from Babergh) and licensing Mid Suffolk (if you intend to operate from Mid Suffolk). We need your name and address, contact details and the details of which taxi/PHV business you will be linked to.