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  6. Using taxis and private hire vehicles

Using taxis and private hire vehicles

Use this page to find out the types of taxis that are available, how to check a taxi is licensed by us, and more.

Types of vehicles

There are two types of vehicles, known as hackney carriages and private hire vehicles:

  • Hackney carriages can be hired from taxi ranks and you can flag them down in the street.
  • Private hire vehicles have to be pre-booked through a licensed operator, either over the phone or through an app, and you cannot flag them down in the street.

Select a topic below to find out more about each type of taxi.

Hackney carriages

We set all hackney carriage fares and it is illegal for a driver to charge more.

You can find hackney carriages at several taxi ranks in the city of Bath and in surrounding towns.

All hackney carriages display a sign on the roof with the word 'Taxi'. All licensed hackney carriages also display white vehicle identification plates on the front and rear of the vehicle. These plates show the vehicle licence number, the expiry date of the licence and the vehicle registration number.

You can hire hackney carriages immediately by going to a taxi rank or hailing a taxi that is driving.

All hackney carriages feature a taximeter which shows how much you should pay.

Private hire vehicles

You must book private hire cars in advance by telephone, app or by visiting the office of a private hire operator. Private hire cars cannot stop in the street and pick you up and you cannot hail them.

It is illegal for a private hire vehicle to take a journey which has not been pre-booked or to accept a fare by being hailed.

Private hire cars display a bright yellow, 'half-moon' roof sign with the private hire licence number and the words 'Advance booking only'. The vehicles display yellow identification plates on the front and back of the vehicle. These plates show the vehicle licence number, the expiry date of the licence and the vehicle registration number.

The fares are set by the private hire operator, not by the council. You can ask the operator for a quote in advance.

How to check a driver is licensed

Anyone driving a Bath & North East Somerset taxi must be licensed as a driver by us. Drivers need to pass several tests to ensure they are safe, professional and know where to go.

We issue two identification badges to licenced drivers which display a photo of the driver, an identification number and an expiry date.

Drivers must also wear a badge and display another badge in the vehicle, usually on the dashboard.

Passenger refusals

Usually, hackney carriage taxi drivers cannot refuse to take a passenger. However, there are exceptional circumstances when they can.

Drivers can refuse a fare for any of the following reasons:

  • The passenger is drunk, violent or is likely to cause a risk to the driver.
  • There are too many passengers for the vehicle.
  • The passenger has takeaway food (at the discretion of the driver)
  • The passenger has luggage which will not fit in the vehicle or may cause a safety hazard.
  • The journey ends outside of the district of the council.

It is illegal for a hackney carriage driver to refuse a fare because it is too short.

Disabled passengers

Find hackney carriages with access for disabled passengers on the taxi ranks in Bath

Several local private hire operators also have specially adapted vehicles for use with a wheelchair or other mobility aids. Find the contact details for these taxi firms on our taxis with disabled access page.


If you have a complaint about a licensed taxi or driver, report this to us using our online form

Lost property

If you have lost possessions in a hackney carriage taxi that you have travelled in, register the lost item with the Police

If you hired a hackney carriage taxi, you can also report lost property to the licensing team via email at You should give us details such as the licence number of the taxi or the driver. Without this detail, we may not be able to find the relevant vehicle.

If your journey was pre-booked with a private hire operator, they will have their own lost property scheme. You should contact the relevant company to report your loss, giving details of your booking.

You can also register lost property with Immobilise, the UK national property register.