There are a variety of vehicles and drivers which offer taxi services to passengers in the UK. They range from the iconic Black Cab, to minibuses and even rickshaws. Do you know your public hire from your private hire? If you’re new to the industry then check out our guide to the different types of taxi.
Public Hire Taxis
Public hire vehicles are probably what most people think of as a “taxi”. They are clearly marked with a sign on the roof which shows if the vehicle is in use. They can be hailed in the street or pick up passengers at a taxi rank and do not need to be pre-booked. These vehicles are licensed by a recognised authority such as the Public Carriage Office, a local authority or the Department of the Environment depending on region of the country.
Public hire vehicles are particularly common in larger cities such as London where roads are more restricted. London black cab drivers can spend years memorising different routes and are very good at navigating the city.
Private Hire Vehicles (Minicabs)
Private hire vehicles (or minicabs) are also licenced to carry passengers, but cannot be hailed in the street. You’ll need to book in advance. Vehicles range in size and style from four door saloons and hatchbacks, to MPVs. Minicabs are usually licensed to carry between 4 and 6 passengers depending on the style of vehicle.
Minicabs can be booked for one-off jobs, or for recurring work such as taking children to and from school. If you take on recurring or contractual work be sure to declare this when you get a taxi insurance quote.
Minibuses are large private hire vehicles with up to 30 seats. They’re booked in advance and can be hired for events or contract work.
Executive and Chauffeur Hire
Some private hire vehicles are available to be booked with a chauffeur service for weddings and special events. Vehicles are often high-end, specialist luxury cars like limousines, performance cars, executive saloons or classics. Given the value of the vehicle and nature of the work undertaken, these “taxis” may require a specific insurance policy, so be sure to declare the kind of work you do when you get a quote.
In recent years apps like Uber and other taxi app services such as Ola have seen a dramatic rise in popularity and user numbers. The apps allow drivers to offer taxi services on a flexible basis, with many drivers working part-time. Fares need to be booked via the app which is also used to take payments. If you’re interested in driving for Uber then you’ll need a private hire licence and insurance.