About vehicle licences
To find out about the specification for a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, and about our standard licence conditions, please see our Joint Taxi Licensing Policy. Please note that it is your responsibility to prove that the vehicle complies with our policy, so for example if you buy an imported vehicle with no exhaust emissions details on the log book you will need to obtain evidence of this from the manufacturer before we can consider your application.
All vehicles involved in the carriage of passengers for hire and reward need to be licensed. The type of licence required will depend on how you wish to use the vehicle.
If you want to operate a hackney carriage (‘taxi’) which can be hailed at a taxi rank, or flagged down in the street, then you will need a hackney carriage licence. Hackney carriages can also accept advance bookings.
Hackney carriages must have a ‘taxi’ roof sign and they will have a meter and fare chart in the vehicle.
Private hire vehicles
Private hire vehicles must be booked in advance through a licensed private hire operator and the fare should be agreed at the time of booking.
Private hire vehicles cannot use taxi ranks or accept passengers who try to flag the vehicle down.
Plates, insurance and vehicle tests
Before we grant a vehicle licence, the applicant must provide evidence of insurance for at least third party cover and appropriate for the licence type. Insurance for a hackney carriage MUST state that it is covered for the carriage of passengers for hire and reward, hackney carriage or public hire; insurance which states it only covers pre-booked journeys is for private hire vehicles only.
We issue a licence plate to all taxis operating in South Oxfordshire, this must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle unless the vehicle has an exemption (in which case the vehicle will have a small card in the window).
All vehicles are inspected for roadworthiness to a standard higher than a regular MOT. This test comprises all of the MOT elements plus an additional set of criteria for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles which can be found in our compliance test manual.
If you are an MOT garage located in South Oxfordshire and you are interested in applying to be one of our authorised garages which carry out compliance tests of licensed vehicles, you can apply by completing and submitting a Taxi Testing Service Agreement – please also see our guidance on how to apply.