Updated: Jul 16
West Northamptonshire Council’s licensing team is working closely with Northamptonshire Police to ensure that taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are operating in the correct way to ensure that members of the public are using licensed vehicles in West Northamptonshire.
On Friday 30 June, WNC and Northants Police carried out ‘operation flag’ to check if private hire vehicles are only carrying out pre-booked journeys.
People using these vehicles are reminded that there are some key differences between taxi / hackney carriages and private hire vehicles which must be pre-booked through an app or by phone.
Drivers display different colour plates on the rear of the vehicle in the different parts of West Northamptonshire.
Northampton taxis have square burgundy/red and white plates, private hire vehicles have square yellow and white plate.
Daventry taxis have narrow rectangular white plates and the private hire vehicle blue ones.
South Northants area taxis have square white plates and private hire vehicles square yellow plates.
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services at WNC, said: “By working with the police to carry out regular checks of the way that licensed vehicle drivers are working we can make sure that they’re adhering to the conditions of their licence and insurance.
“Private hire vehicles are not covered by insurance for non pre-booked journeys, which poses a risk to members of the public travelling with them. This is why it is important that we carry out these ‘operations’ to ensure we’re working with drivers to provide support and guidance.
“On the night we found that eight drivers were not, and we will be taking appropriate action to deal with these breaches. This may include requiring the drivers to carry out further training or enforcement action in cases of repeat offences.”
PC Dave Lee, from Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Whilst hackney carriages can be hailed on the street or in a taxi rank, other types of taxi cannot, and although it’s tempting after a night out to jump into the first taxi available, it’s really important not to get into an unbooked car.
“This is because there will be no record of your journey or driver and you will also not be 100% sure that the car you’re in is a legitimate business and not an opportunistic criminal looking for vulnerable people to rob or sexually assault.
“It is far better to book a taxi in advance and that way you know exactly what car you’re looking out for and can feel comfortable that your trip will be carried out by a licensed, insured driver in a licensed, insured vehicle. A record of your journey, driver and vehicle will also be logged so that, in the event of any issues, the driver can be traced.”