Before those friendly English cab drivers pick up the smiling tourists, they have to first follow certain rules and regulations. All taxi firms have to adhere to basic, common legislation. However, the United Kingdom has hundreds of council licensing authorities for taxi firms, for example a taxi hire company in Bristol will have different regulations from those based in London.
The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act of 1998 allowed for the Public Carriage Office, which previously only handled black cab licensing, to take responsibility of private-hire cars. Before this act, every local authority in the UK, except London, regulated the private-hire trade. As a result, minicabs received a bad reputation: Unlicensed drivers would charge unsuspecting passengers exorbitant rates.
In order to receive the now-required “private hire operator license,” a minicab driver must prove that he or she has no criminal convictions and has not filed banckruptcy. The driver much also strongly adhere to health and safety rules, in addition to holding any relevant documents.
Each driver needs an “operating centre,” where one takes cab bookings. This “operating centre” does not have to be an office, though it will have to comply with licensing standards.
Firms must pay an application fee to their local authority. Small operators of start-up minicab firms, with only one or two cars in their fleet, often receive an incentive in the form of a reduced fee.
Private-hire cars need to have an MOT (safety check) thrice yearly. Drivers must be over the age of 25 and have held a full EU driving license for 12 months. They need to pass a medical exam and testify to having no criminal convictions.
Black Cabs (Hackney Carriages)
Black cab drivers must be 21 or over, have had a full EU driving license for at least 12 months and show competency as a motorist. In addition to a full criminal and medical background check, applicants must also pass a “knowledge test” of the areas in which they would operate. They then either apply for a “green badge,” for operation in central London, or a “yellow badge” for the suburbs. 2000 saw the introduction of the Intermediate Certificate in License Education for Taxi and Private Hire as a nationally recognized qualification for drivers, though no compulsory training for cab drivers currently exists.
Tourists look forward to the “cab experience” during their Great Britain holiday. The cabbies reward their loyalty by upholding a high standard of quality.