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Information about taxis, private hire vehicles and drivers

How to identify a licensed taxi, private hire vehicle and driver


  • Differences between hackney carriages (taxis) and private hire vehicles
  • How to identify a Licensed Driver

Colchester Borough Council currently licenses over 800 drivers and 700 vehicles (including a maximum of 130 hackney carriages) and more than 50 private hire operators.

There are 30 disabled adapted hackney carriage vehicles (plates 200-230). They will have a wheelchair symbol on the rear white plate and another on the Colchester Borough Coat of Arms door signs.

We expect all hackney carriages (taxis), private hire vehicles, drivers and operators working in Colchester to follow their licensing responsibilities.

If you experience a problem, you can submit a complaint about the driver, the vehicle or the operator.

What's the difference between a hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire vehicle?

All hackney carriages (taxis):

  • are black
  • have a taxi light roof sign
  • have the Colchester Borough Coat of Arms as door signs
  • have a meter (which must be on when the journey starts) can pick up passengers from designated taxi ranks and can also be ‘flagged down’ by potential passengers in the street
  • will charge fares that are set by Colchester Borough Council
  • have white identification plates at the front and rear of the vehicle (see image below)

White hackney carriage license

All private hire vehicles:

  • have the name of the operator displayed on the vehicle
  • can only be pre-booked through a licensed operator are not be permitted to ‘ply for hire’ and cannot be hailed by a passenger in the street
  • have fares that are pre-determined by the operator and not set by Colchester Borough Council
  • have yellow identification plates at the front and rear of the vehicle (see image below)

Yellow private hire vehicle license

Identifying a Licensed Driver

Licensed drivers of both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles must:

  • display a badge which includes a photo of the driver, their name, licence number and expiry date
  • always display their licensed badge (see image below)

Licensed Driver badge

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