Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licences

The authority is required to issue licences and set conditions on hackney carriages and private hire vehicles to ensure the vehicles used are safe and comfortable and that the drivers are fit and proper persons, medically fit, knowledgeable and free from relevant convictions.

Hackney carriages can be hailed at the roadside. They have a ‘Taxi’ or ‘Tacsi’ roof sign, a licence plate displayed on the rear of the vehicle and door stickers on either side. The plate and stickers are yellow. The vehicles are black.

Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed at the roadside. All private hire vehicles must be pre-booked. There is no light on its roof and green licence plates and stickers are displayed on the vehicle. If a private hire vehicle stops when hailed it is likely that persons travelling would not be insured.

Proposed changes to Hackney Carriage fares

Torfaen Council has received a request from the Hackney Carriage trade to increase their fares. Hackney Carriages are the black taxis that can be hired on the taxi ranks in Torfaen or be hailed in the street, and use a meter system to work out the cost of a journey.

The last increase to Hackney Carriage fares was in December 2018, and since then fuel prices, minimum wages and the cost of living have increased. Fees charged by private hire companies have also increased.

The proposal by the trade, is to increase fares by around 20% for both Tariff 1 and Tariff 2 journeys.

Proposed fares
Proposed HiringProposed Charge

Tariff 1

First 1 mile of part thereof

For each subsequent 110 yards or part thereof

 

£5.00

10p

Tariff 2

Journeys commencing between midnight & 6.00am

For each subsequent 120 yards or part thereof

 

£5.70

15p

Groups of 5 or more passengers in vehicles licensed for the conveyance of over 4 passengers

Tariff 2

Waiting time for each period of 30 seconds or part thereof

30p

Extra charges

The above fares to be doubled on the following days; Christmas Eve (6pm – midnight), Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve (6pm – midnight)

 

New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, spring bank holiday, summer bank holiday, and other bank holidays declared by Parliament or the Welsh Government – Tariff 2

Each animal carried at the drivers’ discretion (except guide, hearing and other assistance dogs which will be carried free of charge unless driver is exempt on medical grounds)

£2.00

Any soiling of a vehicle may be charged up to a maximum of

£150

Fares for journeys ending outside the area of Torfaen County Borough Council and in respect of which no fare or rate of fare was agreed before the hiring was effected must not exceed the authorised fare scale as shown above.

The Council is seeking views from the public, trade and other interested parties on the proposed changes. Any comments, should be sent to: Licensing, Torfaen County Borough Council, Ty Blaen Torfaen, Panteg Way, New Inn, Pontypool, Torfaen, NP4 0LS or email licensing@torfaen.gov.uk by Wednesday 12 October 2022. Please include your reason/s why you object or support the proposal.

The increase in Hackney Carriage fares will come into force Thursday 13 October 2022 if there are no objections.

If objections are received, they will be considered and a further date for any changes will be set no later than two months after Thursday 13 October 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Service Information

Wales returned to  Alert Level 0 from Alert Level 2 on 28 January 2022. Specific information relating to Level 0 restrictions is now also available, please see the links below:

Motazone, Cwmbran and Pontypool Service Centre are currently open and have appointments available for licensed vehicle compliance tests. All licensed vehicles over 1 year old must have a current certificate of compliance if they are to be used for public or private hire and proprietors must continue to have their vehicles tested at the appropriate times.

Welsh Government has published web pages providing Taxi and Private Hire Guidance to the trade, and Travelling Safely guidance for the public, in addition to information on the current Alert Levels and what they mean

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry out the checks during the Coronavirus outbreak.  Guidance on how to undertake a Right to Work check during the outbreak is available on the GOV.UK website.

The Institute of Licensing is providing updated guidance for Private Hire and Hackney Drivers

Guide Dogs Cymru have produced guidance for licensed drivers. It provides information about how to support blind and partially sighted people during the COVID crisis.

In addition we have collated some information which you may find useful and is available to download.

The Licensing team ask that until further notice all applications and required documents are submitted via email to licensing@torfaen.gov.uk. All applications must be fully completed and include a telephone number so that we may contact the applicant should there be any queries. 

We will confirm receipt of each application by e-mail and will provide details on how to make payment using the online payment system which is now in place. You can also view Licence Fees for Private Hire & Hackney Carriage Licences here.

Please note that an application will not be deemed valid and properly made until payment is received. Renewal applications and payment must be received before the licence expires.

If you need to submit a Hackney Carriage / Private Hire drivers licence renewal, please email the licensing team licensing@torfaen.gov.uk for further advice.

Application forms are available below for your use.

  • Important information about new applications (Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licences & Vehicles) – any new applications will be held until such a time as they can be determined.  Given the current situation, we are unable to give you a definite timescale.

The team are currently working on a day by day basis following guidance as it is provided and all of the above is subject to change at any given time. We are keeping our website up to date and ask that you check the site on a regular basis

Our preferred means of contact during this time is via email to licensing@torfaen.gov.uk 

Forms for download and email submission

These forms are available in Word format only at the moment.  Where a written signature is normally required, we will currently be able to accept the completion of your name on the form in lieu of this.

Child Sexual Exploitation - Know the signs

To help keep children safe Heddlu Gwent Police are again urging members of the public to be vigilant about this kind of criminality, and to contact them by dialling 101 or 999 in an emergency with any information they may have. To help members of the public recognise the signs of exploitation and abuse Gwent Police have published a web page.

The Police would rather hear from concerned members of the public who report issues which turn out not to be Child sexual exploitation (CSE), than not be called at all.

Tax conditionality for drivers and private hire operators

The Government has introduced a requirement that applies to all persons applying for hackney carriage and private hire driver licences, or private hire operator licences on or after 4th April 2022. Its intention is to address part of the hidden economy that consists of individuals and businesses with sources of taxable income that is entirely hidden from HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC). New applicants for certain public sector licences, including driver and operator licences, will be assisted to better understand their tax obligations when first applying for a licence. If the licence holder then applies to renew their licence, the application will be conditional on a valid tax check being completed. This is called ‘Tax Conditionality’.

Any new applicant must acknowledge receipt of HMRC guidance relating to tax compliance that we direct them to and confirm that they are aware of the contents of that guidance. This is set out on the relevant application form. They must then sign a declaration to confirm that they understand their tax obligations before we can determine their application. For the avoidance of doubt, the following are considered to be a new applicant:

  1. anyone who is applying for a driver or operator licence for the very first time; and
  2. anyone who is applying for a licence for the first time in over 12 months since the expiry of a previous licence of the same type that may have been issued by any local authority, not just Torfaen County Borough Council.

When an application is made to renew a licence, the applicant must provide us with a valid tax check code. A code will also be required from any applicant applying for a new licence but who, within the preceding 12 months, has held the same type of licence as the one that they are applying for issued by any local authority. The tax check code can be obtained from HMRC and must be included on the application form when applying to renew the licence. We will check that the code is valid and if it is, we will be able to proceed with determining the application to renew the licence. We won’t receive any tax or other financial information about any applicant. The tax check code will be valid for 120 days after which time it will expire and a new code will need to be obtained by the applicant if it has not already been provided to us.

Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences

The Licensing Committee approved a revised “Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences” which came into effect on the 10th February 2022. This is the fifth revision of the policy that was first approved in October 2012 and became effective in January 2013.

Recent changes to the policy include the addition of recommendations published in the Department of Transport's Statutory Standards for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing (July 2020) and also the Welsh Government's Guide to the Harmonisation of Taxi and Private Hire Licensing in Wales (March 2021).  These publications are intended to raise standards and bring consistency across England and Wales to the regulation of those involved in the carriage of passengers for hire and reward. Information for applicants about ‘Tax Conditionality’ has also been added to the Policy.

A copy of the current Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences is available to download.  Contained within the policy are the following conditions that licence holders must comply with whilst they hold their licence:

The fifth revision of the policy replaces all previous versions of the Council's Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences.

Changes to Policy relating to Fire Extinguishers in vehicles

On the 30th April 2015 the Licensing Committee approved the removal of the condition for licensed vehicles to carry fire extinguishers, it will no longer form part of any test or inspection of the vehicles.

This does not mean that you cannot carry an extinguisher if you wish, but if you do it has to be tested and inspected to be safe. It is preferable not to carry one at all rather than one that is not tested.

The reasoning behind this decision can be seen by viewing the Licensing Committee Report

Office Opening Hours

Our office is currently closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Personal callers can be seen by appointment only but we are available on the telephone (01633 647284) between 9:00 am and 4:30pm or via email at licensing@torfaen.gov.uk

Keeping records of complaints and other issues that are reported by your customers

The Council’s policy is very clear on what records an operator has to keep with regards to complaints. Please refer to the Operator Licence Conditions - these must be complied with.

We accept that our policy is less clear on keeping records of lost/found property, however it should be a matter of common sense to protect yourselves; ie if a customer reports the loss of some property or property is found, that a record is made of the loss/find to protect you from future allegations that either licensing officers or the police may be required to investigate.

It is recommended that whenever a customer either:-

  • Makes any form of complaint against a driver or any person that the company employs
  • Reports any incident with a licensed vehicle, driver or operator
  • Reports any loss or damage to their property
  • Makes a special request, e.g. not to have named drivers.

That these matters must be recorded and investigated by the operator in compliance with the council’s policy.

It is also important that anyone working on your reception areas are made aware of this requirement and are given adequate training to comply 

Officers operate a proactive inspection programme of all operators licensed in Torfaen to ensure that these provisions are being complied with.

Criminal Record Checks

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) are now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).   

From the 17th June 2013 the DBS changed the way that they deal with checks for employees and licence holders, which affects the way that your DBS checks will be administered by the council.  The main change is that the employer/council will no longer receive a copy of the disclosure certificate,  the DBS will only send a certificate to the person subject of the check.

More information about changes to Criminal Record Checks can be found here.

Electronic Cigarettes

We are often asked about the use of electronic cigarettes in relevant premises, and licensed vehicles.  The advice/information we are currently giving is that:

  • Whilst they are not illegal it would be hard to prove that they are not a real cigarette if seen by an enforcement officer passing by
  • That it does not send the correct message to the customers and could lead to abuse of the legislation
  • JD Wetherspoons pubs have decided to implement an internal policy to prevent their use on their premises

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide information here when necessary.

Fares

The current schedule of Hackney Carriage Fares is available to download. If you have any questions or complaints about fares, please contact us.

The Equalities Act

The Equalities Act 2010  introduced regulations that all taxi and private hire drivers have to comply with.

The duties being placed on the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles are:

  • to carry the passenger while in a wheelchair
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair
  • to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort
  • to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required

The Council is also required to publish a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles. The vehicles on this list are capable of carrying some, but not necessarily all, types of occupied wheelchairs.

A copy of The Equality Act 2010 can be viewed here.

 

Please Note - Torfaen County Borough Council (The Council) is under a duty to protect the public funds which it administers and to this end may use the information you provide within Torfaen County Borough Council for the prevention and detection of fraud. The Council may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds solely for these purposes. For further information, visit the National Fraud Initiative area of the website. 

Last Modified: 04/10/2022
For more information contact:

Licensing Team

Tel: 01633 647286

Email: licensing@torfaen.gov.uk

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