Taxis and Private Hire

All hackney carriages and private hire vehicles that wish to operate in Colchester, and their drivers, must be licensed by the Council.   

The purpose of licensing is to ensure the safety of the travelling public by ensuring that all drivers and operators are fit and proper to hold a licence and that their vehicles are safe and suitable to carry the public. 

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

Hackney carriage vehicles: 
  • are black 
  • have a taxi light roof sign 
  • have the Colchester City 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 City Council 
  • have white identification plates at the front and rear of the vehicle (see image below) 
There are 30 disabled adapted hackney carriage vehicles (plates 200-230). They have a wheelchair symbol on the rear white plate and another on the Colchester City Coat of Arms door signs. 

Private hire vehicles: 
  • have the name of the operator displayed on the vehicle 
  • can only be pre-booked through a licensed operator are not 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 City Council have yellow identification plates at the front and rear of the vehicle (see image below) 

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 


Page last reviewed: 9 April 2024