The Council, as a Licensing Authority, must make sure that anyone wanting to drive a taxi or a private hire car (mini-cab) or operate a mini-cab business has the appropriate licences before they can carry fare paying passengers.
There are individual licences for drivers, vehicles and operators.
To be a Hackney Carriage Driver:
you must apply for a Hackney Carriage Driver Licence and drive a vehicle which is licensed as a Hackney Carriage Vehicle, this can either be your own vehicle (if it meets the vehicle specification criteria) or you can rent/hire a vehicle from a proprietor.
To be a Private Hire Driver:
you must apply for a Private Hire Driver Licence and drive a vehicle which is licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle, this can either be your own vehicle (if it meets the vehicle specification criteria) or you can rent/hire a vehicle from a proprietor. You must then sign up to work for one of the Operators licensed by Dartford Borough Council.
Taxi (Hackney Carriage):
Hackney Carriages, commonly known as taxis, is a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, that is licensed to ply for hire in the Borough of Dartford only. Hackney carriages can stand on a taxi rank, be hailed in the street, or be pre-booked; either directly or through a licensed operator. Dartford licensed Hackney Carriages must display a GREEN plate on the back of the vehicle with a unique identity number for that particular vehicle, a smaller internal plate and an illuminated roof sign.
Only drivers with a Hackney Carriage driver licence can drive a licensed Hackney Carriage vehicle. The driver must wear a photographic ID badge with a unique number issued by Dartord Borough Council to show that they are a licensed driver. The Fare Tariff set by the Licensing Authority governs the maximum fare – all fares for journeys within and outside the Borough may be negotiated with the hirer, but the fare charged cannot be higher than the Fare Tariff for Dartford if pickup and destination are within the Dartford Borough.
Private Hire (mini-cabs):
Private Hire vehicles is a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, that is licensed to operate as a private hire vehicle and can only be booked through a licensed operator prior to the journey. They cannot stand on a taxi rank or be hailed in the street. Private Hire vehicles licensed by Dartfors must display a YELLOW plate on the rear with a unique identity number for that particular vehicle along with a smaller internal plate in the front windscreen.
Private Hire drivers licence can only drive a licensed Private Hire vehicle. The driver must wear a photographic ID with a unique number issued by Dartford Borough Council to show that they are a licensed driver. Operator sets fare and other fare related criteria, such as a waiting fee.
Operators are the people, or companies, who take journey bookings. They too must be licensed. They often have offices, which people can go in to, to book a journey; although most can also be contacted by phone, email or through their website.
A private hire vehicle can only be dispatched to a customer by a private hire operator that holds a private hire operator licence.