FAQ Sub contracted private hire

Is it legal for other local authority plated private hire vehicles to be working in the Colchester area? 

It is legal for a Colchester private hire operator to sub-contract a journey to a second private hire operator if they do not have the capacity to fulfil the booking. 

We are aware that vehicles and drivers who are licenced with Wolverhampton are now accepting sub-contracted jobs via a Wolverhampton operator's licence, and then carrying out these jobs in Colchester. 

What checks are you making to ensure sub-contracting is legal? 

Colchester private hire operators who subcontract work to operators from other authorities (including Wolverhampton) will be regularly checked to ensure all paperwork is in order and that the correct procedures are followed.  

Why have I been sent a non-Colchester private hire vehicle when I booked with a local private hire operator? 

If your private hire operator does not have enough vehicles available to fulfil your booking, they are allowed to sub-contract your booking to another private hire operator. 

If they cannot fulfil your booking, they must: - 
  • Tell you in advance they cannot fulfil your booking. 
  • Ask if you will accept a sub-contracted booking with another private hire operator. 
  • Tell you in advance who that private hire operator will be. 
  • The driver must only charge you the fee agreed at the time of booking/quoted by the original private hire operator. 
If you do not want to accept the alternative private hire vehicle you can cancel your booking. 

Why does a Wolverhampton car have five-eights/other/different signage? 

Wolverhampton private hire vehicles must display the door signs approved by Wolverhampton.  

Is it safe to use a private hire vehicle/driver licensed by another authority? 

Since April 2023, all licenced drivers in England have been vetted against the National Register of Taxi and Private Hire licence Revocations and Refusals (NR3S). A licenced driver will have had their driving history and criminal record checked, and be considered ‘fit and proper, safe and suitable’ to be licensed by the issuing authority (i.e. the Council who has approved their licence). 

All private hire vehicles must be roadworthy and maintained in a safe condition and in good working order. 

How do I make a complaint about a car or driver licensed by another local authority? 

Licensing officers working for Colchester City Council do not have the authority to enforce against other local authority licensed vehicles, drivers nor operator licenses. 

Complaints about other local authority drivers or cars must be lodged with the local authority which licences them, e.g. for Wolverhampton use the online complaint form.

How do you enforce against the sub-contracted vehicles/drivers? 

Licensing officers working for Colchester do not have the authority to enforce against other local authority licensed vehicles, drivers nor operator licenses. 

Wolverhampton City Council provide roving enforcement officers who will travel to other local authorities to carry out enforcement of their licensed vehicles/drivers. 

Have other Local authority drivers taken the Colchester ‘knowledge test’? 

Drivers from other local authorities, including Wolverhampton, have undergone the training requirements of that local authority.  

We cannot require drivers who are licensed elsewhere to take Colchester’s ‘knowledge test’. 

Page last reviewed: 24 January 2024


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