Taxi and private hire licences
Hackney carriage (taxi) licence
Hackney carriages (taxis) can work from various ranks in the town or area and can also be hailed in the street. They have a roof sign and a coloured plate on the back of their vehicles.
Each hackney carriage must be fitted with a taxi-meter, which is calibrated to show the fare to be charged. Fares are controlled by the council and it is against the law to charge more than is displayed on a meter.
The Dorset Council area is split into 5 separate ‘taxi zones’ as follows:
- East Dorset Zone
- North Dorset Zone (white plates)
- Purbeck Zone (red plates)
- West Dorset Zone (orange plates)
- Weymouth and Portland Zone (yellow plates)
Separate licences are required to work within each zone.
To work as a taxi driver within a zone, you will need a hackney carriage drivers licence for that zone and can only drive hackney carriages licensed to work within that zone.
Private hire licensing
Any vehicle that seats up to 8 passengers and is available for hire with a driver requires a private hire vehicle licence. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to apply for a licence.
Private hire vehicles are only available by prior booking through a private hire office and are not allowed to be hailed in the street. These vehicles have a blue coloured plate on the back.
The council does not control fares for private hire vehicles. The cost of a journey is agreed between the operator and the customer.
To respond to private hire vehicle bookings you must ensure that:
- the booking is accepted through a licensed Private Hire Vehicle Operator
- the private hire vehicle is licensed in the same zone for which the operator holds a licence
- the driver holds a licence from the same zone as the operator and vehicle
If you want to accept private hire bookings you will need a Private Hire Operator licence.
Apply for a licence
Select the zone in which you want to apply for a hackney carriage licence, private hire vehicle licence or private hire operator licence:
I don't know my zone
If you don't know which zone you need to apply to, select the location on the map and the zone will be displayed.
Make a complaint about a taxi driver
Make a complaint about a taxi or private hire vehicle driver.