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TERMINOLOGY: DfT retains recommendation that prevents PHV operators from using ‘Taxi’ or ‘cab’



The Department for Transport (DfT) has reaffirmed the recommendation that private hire vehicle (PHV) operators should refrain from using terms such as 'Taxi' or 'Cab'.


The aim of this recommendation is to clarify the distinction between taxis and private hire vehicles, as the public often struggles to differentiate between the two.

The DfT acknowledges that the use of 'taxi' and 'cab' interchangeably undermines efforts to raise awareness about the differences in the services provided. The recently updated Best Practice Guidance highlights that licensing authorities should prohibit the use of such terms on private hire vehicles, making it easier for the public to make informed decisions.


However, the DfT also acknowledges the potential difficulties faced by companies that provide mixed services, offering both taxi and private hire options. It clarifies that companies must be licensed as private vehicle operators to accept any private hire vehicle bookings. Taxis, on the other hand, have the capability to fulfil pre-booked fares both within their licensed area and elsewhere. This proposal does not alter the ability of taxis to fulfil bookings.

The updated guidelines also make exceptions for vehicles displaying discreet operator details in instances where an exclusive relationship exists between the vehicle proprietor, driver, and PHV operator. In such cases, the display of a company logo is permitted, but it must exclude the words 'taxi' or 'cabs'. For example, a company named ABC Taxis would only be allowed to display the text 'ABC'.


The DfT's recommendations go further to help distinguish the two services. Taxis are expected to feature a roof sign, making them easily recognisable to the public. Conversely, the use of roof signs is prohibited for private hire vehicles, further emphasising the distinctions between the two types of services.


By implementing these measures, the DfT hopes to create clearer differentiation between taxis and private hire vehicles, enabling the public to make more informed choices when searching for a ride. The guidance aims to ensure transparency and enhance public safety by clarifying the services offered by each type of vehicle.

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