Taxi and Private Hire Car Licensing: Best Practice for Licensing Authorities, Second Edition, April 2012

Guidance for local licensing auhtorities on the licensing of taxis and private hire cars and their drivers.


2.1. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (referred to throughout as the 1982 Act) allows for local authorities to license taxis and private hire cars. In its preamble it states it is:

An Act to make provision as regards Scotland for the licensing and regulation of certain activities; for the preservation of public order and safety and the prevention of crime.

Within the Act there are specific roles for both the local licensing authority and the police in administering and enforcing the local licensing regime. The success of the regime depends on a constructive and positive relationship between them as well as effective engagement with the trade and customer groups.

2.2. A successful licensing regime will ensure that a safe, reliable and accessible service is available to the public when and where it is required, at a reasonable cost.

This outcome requires a number a factors to be addressed within the regime including:

  • that the profile and size of the local customer market is known and understood to ensure the right number and type of vehicles are available at the right times;
  • that vehicles are of a suitable type to meet the requirements of customers and are in good working order;
  • that drivers are vetted and tested to ensure they are fit and proper, appropriately qualified to drive, and suitably trained to handle the variety of customer interactions;
  • that owners of cars and booking offices are vetted to ensure they are fit and proper;
  • that fare scales are reasonable and transparent and are regularly reviewed with relevant consultation.

This list is not exhaustive but is illustrative of the range of issues to consider. Underpinning any successful regime though is the need for robust enforcement.

2.3. It is, of course, good practice for local authorities to consult on any significant proposed changes in licensing rules. Such consultation should include not only the taxi and private hire car trade but also customers, local businesses/organisations (public and private) dependent on or affected by the trade and organisations with a wider transport interest (e.g. Transform Scotland). Again it is particularly useful to be aware of the profile of the local market to best target consultation, ensuring groups with particular requirements (i.e. due to a disability) are represented.


Email: Joanna Mackenzie

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