You are here: Home > Transport and streets > Taxis and minicabs

Taxis and minicabs

Taking a cab - are you at risk?

When you take a taxi, it could be either a Hackney Carriage or a Private Hire Vehicle. The way they are allowed to operate is different and it is important that you know the differences so that you are not at risk when using them. AVDC licenses all the driver and vehicles used for Hackney Carriages as well as the operators, drivers and vehicles used for Private Hire.

When you’re trying to get from A to B by cab, the last thing you want to have to worry about is whether you will be safe and secure. So before you get into the vehicle, take a few seconds to check it is licensed. Why? Apart from the obvious risk to your personal safety, if an unlicensed vehicle is involved in an accident you may not be insured.

You can check that the vehicle you are about to use is licensed by looking for the official AVDC licence plate, which can be red, white or yellow, displayed on the outside rear of the vehicle.

Taxi licensing - what to look for

What’s the difference between a hackney carriage and a private hire vehicle? Most people do not know whether the taxi they use is a hackney carriage or a private hire vehicle but it is important to understand the difference.

Although both charge their passengers to travel, they are required by the council to operate in different ways. You can tell the difference by the colour of the licence plate.

Taxi’s with yellow plates are called Private Hire Vehicles. Private Hire Vehicles are ordinary cars approved by AVDC that set their own fares. They may have the name or logo of the company visible on the outside and must display the yellow license plate on the rear. Private Hire Vehicles cannot be flagged down or taken from a rank, they must be booked in advance. If you want to flag down a taxi or take one from a rank, you must use a Hackney Carriage. These have either a red or white licence plate.

Hackney Carriages can be an ordinary car or a London style cab approved by AVDC. They must have the word 'TAXI' illuminated on the roof, have a red or white licence plate on the rear, use a tested and sealed meter and charge fares are set by AVDC. They may also be used for pre-booked journeys and can be flagged down or taken from a rank. The most important difference you need to remember is that you must not get into a cab which has a yellow licence plate, unless you have pre-booked it.

You can help us

To make sure you receive the best possible service, AVDC has a set of strict conditions which all taxi owners, operators and drivers must comply with. Regular inspections are part of the conditions, but you can help to maintain high standards of service in the Vale by letting us know your views about the taxis you use. It is particularly important to let us know if you think one of the conditions has been broken, but we welcome any comments you have about how the services can be improved.

We also appreciate your feedback when you are happy with the service.


File name


File size / Download time

File Format

Adobe Acrobat Reader is available FREE of charge. You can download it directly from Adobe's website by clicking the link to the right. Once on Adobe's website, follow the instructions on screen to install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Click here to download Acrobat PDF Viewer

Know Your Taxis

This poster points out the differences between a Private Hire Vehicle and a Hackney Carriage Vehicle.

56Kbps Modem: 1 Minute 37 Seconds
Broadband : Less than 1 Minute

Adobe Acrobat Document

Contact information


01296 585605


Ask a Question