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Cross-Border Hiring: Understanding rules for Hackney Carriage taxi drivers working outside licensed areas


Image credit: LEVC

In the dynamic landscape of the taxi industry, the regulations governing where licensed taxis (Hackney Carriage) drivers can and cannot operate is often a topic of interest.


The rules surrounding cross-border hiring, particularly how and when these drivers can work outside their licensed areas, are intricate yet crucial for both taxi drivers and passengers to understand.

Under current regulations, Hackney Carriage drivers are restricted to operating within the area where they are licensed. This means they can pick up passengers from the streets or taxi ranks only within this specific zone. The licensing area, usually defined by local authority boundaries, ensures that drivers are familiar with the region and adhere to its specific regulations.


However, the rules do allow for some flexibility in terms of cross-border hiring, particularly regarding pre-booked jobs. A Hackney Carriage driver can accept a pre-booked job that starts or ends outside of their licensed area, provided the booking is made within their licensed area first. This provision enables drivers to take passengers from locations outside their usual operating zone, as long as the journey is pre-arranged.


It is best for Hackney Carriage drivers to look at local rules required as to whether they need to accept the pre-booked jobs via an operator when working outside their region. For example, West Midlands Police say: “Hackney Carriages can legally work anywhere in the country but once outside of their licensed district they can only take booked journeys via a private hire company.”

Importantly, taxi drivers cannot solicit or accept hailing from the streets or use taxi ranks outside their licensed area. This restriction quite rightly remains in place to maintain order and fairness within the local taxi markets and to ensure passenger safety by using drivers familiar with the area.


For many taxi drivers, their operations remain primarily within their licensed area throughout their careers. However, for those drivers who commute from outside their licensed area, the option to fill their incoming journey with pre-booked work is a viable and often economically beneficial choice. This practice, known as 'dead mileage' reduction, allows drivers to maximise their earning potential and efficiency.

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