With the Christmas and New Year party season upon us, people are being reminded to check if their taxi or private hire vehicle and driver are licensed.
At a time of year when there can be an increase in unauthorised vehicles and drivers, Horsham District Council is encouraging residents and visitors alike to be alert.
The council is responsible for the licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles in the district.
Those taking a taxi or private hire vehicle should look out for the vehicle licence plate on the rear of the vehicle and for the driver’s identification badge.
Together these are an assurance that the car and driver are properly licensed to carry the public.
Andy Skipper, licensing officer at Horsham District Council, said: “All vehicles operating in the Horsham district are inspected regularly and thoroughly to ensure that they are clean, mechanically sound, insured and, above all, safe for the travelling public.
“Every driver has passed an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and local area knowledge test. They also regularly undergo medical examinations to ensure that they are physically fit to drive.”
There are two different types of vehicle operating in the Horsham district:
• A taxi (proper name ‘hackney carriage’) can be taken from a taxi rank or hailed in the street and must be white, display a roof sign and be fitted with a taximeter which measures the journey and calculates the cost. The price on the meter is the maximum price that the driver can charge but they may choose to charge less. The meter must be used at all times so that the exact cost of the journey is clear. Higher charges than normal may apply over the holiday period.
• Private hire vehicles (often described as minicabs) must be pre-booked and it is illegal for the driver of a private hire vehicle to pick up passengers if a telephone booking has not been confirmed by the operator. Unlike hackney carriages, private hire vehicles do not have to adhere to the fare tariff set by the Council.
Where no meter is installed, the advice is to always agree the fare in advance before travelling.
Further information about hackney carriage and private hire licensing can be obtained from the council’s website.