Taxi and Private Hire Car Licences
West Lothian Council as licensing authority administers a licensing scheme for taxi and private hire car vehicles and their drivers.
The Licensing Team are able to provide general guidance on a scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence.
Taxis and private hire cars and the door to door service they provide are essential for people with disabilities. They are a key mode of transport for people who are blind and partially sighted, who are unable to drive and often face barriers when using public transport.
During the pandemic, it remains the case that service providers, including transport providers, have a duty under equality legislation to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities. And of course, providing such support also represents good customer service.
Guide Dogs Scotland have written guidance for taxi and private hire drivers to make them feel confident when helping passengers with sight loss
Taxis can be hired at a taxi rank, hailed in the street or booked in advance through a booking office. Along with licence plates which are fixed to the front and rear of the vehicle, taxis must also display a roof sign when illuminated indicates the vehicle is available for hire.
Private hire cars must be booked in advance and along with licence plates which are fixed to the front and rear of the vehicle must also display signage on both front doors indicating that the vehicle is a private hire car.
Drivers of both taxis and private hire cars require to be licensed by the council, taxi driver's are able to drive either a taxi or private hire car whereas private hire car driver's can only drive private hire cars.
All West Lothian taxis accommodate between 5 and 7 passengers and must be
- accessible by passengers travelling within wheelchairs by means of suitable ramps into the side doors of the vehicle
- fitted with hi-visibility interior features, interior grab rails, a retractable step and a loop system for use by hearing impaired travellers
Private Hire Cars can be either
- saloon vehicles licensed to carry 4 passengers; or
- larger vehicles fitted with rear passenger lifts which are licensed to carry 8 passengers; these vehicles are suitable for passengers travelling within heavier or bulkier wheelchairs who cannot easily access a vehicle by means of a ramp
All taxis are required to have meters and almost all private hire cars have meters. Where no meter is fitted the driver is required to agree a fixed fare with the passenger before the journey commences and you can access a copy of thewhich was approved in 2019, please note that the fare table is still current as a planned review of that was cancelled due to covid.
These are the maximum metered fares which can be charged for journeys in taxis and metered private hire cars within the West Lothian Council area. Drivers are required to let passengers see the metered fare at the end of a journey.
For journeys starting or ending outwith West Lothian agreement must be reached before the journey commences either to (1) charge a fixed fare or (2) use the meter.
For journeys within West Lothian the meter should always be used (provided one is fitted) and any fixed fare charged cannot be more than the metered fare.
A copy of the conditions that are applied to hire car licence holders can be found here