Since 2016, there have been a few changes to the private hire regulations in the UK made by the government. This is to raise the standards of the private hire industry and improve the safety of all involved.

These changes have affected all private hire drivers’ operators and private hire vehicle licence holders, and they will apply to you if you want to become a private hire driver, operator or vehicle licensee.

Insurance terms

  • Private hire vehicles must still be covered by hire or reward insurance at the point of licensing and when in use as a private hire vehicle.
  • Whether you are a new candidate or are just looking to renew your private hire vehicle licence, it is essential that the vehicle is covered by hire or reward insurance at the time of licensing.
  • If this is not the case and the vehicle is not covered by private hire insurance, you will not be awarded a new or replacing licence.
  • If you currently hold a private hire vehicle license, hire or reward insurance must be operating at all times when the private hire vehicle is being used.
  • You could be prosecuted if you fail to meet this requirement.
  • Your fitness to hold a private hire licence may be reviewed at any time.

If you are a licensed private hire operator and vehicles undertaking bookings accepted by you do not have the appropriate private hire insurance or PHV Insurance, there is a chance that you could also be prosecuted.

Signage

Signs that are of an advertising nature must not be displayed upon any private hire vehicles unless approved by the TFL. And all advertising material displayed inside the vehicle must comply with the TFL’s requirements.

Booking

When a booking has been made with your company, it is a legal requirement that you send out a booking confirmation to the passenger before their journey starts.

You will need to collect all appropriate contact information from the passenger upon booking. This can be done over text (SMS), email, phone call and message. The booking confirmation must contain everything in this list:

  • The driver’s private hire licence number, as shown on the ID the driver is wearing
  • The first name of the driver
  • The vehicle registration mark
  • Where the passenger can receive it, a photo of driver.

Record keeping

You must keep all records for a minimum of 12 months. This includes records of bookings, lost property, complains and driver and vehicle records.

This is a slight change from previous regulations that were in place as some records only needed to be kept for 12 months.

Other requirements to consider

  • You will need to give your customers with an authentic fare estimate before the journey starts (this is unless the fare has previously been agreed upon).
  • You must record the principal address of the client’s trip before the journey starts.
  • Where a journey has various drop-off spots, the main destination must still be provided.
  • You must have no more than five business names attached to your operator’s licence.