Home » What is the Difference Between a Taxi and a Private Hire Vehicle?

What is the Difference Between a Taxi and a Private Hire Vehicle?

by Nathan Zachary

Unless you work in the transportation industry or know someone who does, renting and booking a taxi or private hire vehicle can be as simple as dialling a single number. Assuming this to be the case is incorrect and, in some cases, even dangerous. Before you get into the specifics, let’s clarify some terminology misunderstandings. The term “taxi” has undergone several rebranding attempts over the years. This type of vehicle is also known by various other names, such as “Minicab,” “west way,” and “Bolt.” You can request a private hire vehicle using an app like Uber or Bolt. “Luxury chauffeur service” is often used to describe private hire. Private hire vehicles (PHVs) are not permitted to operate on the street, whereas taxis are. PHVs are thus restricted to pre-reservation by authorised operators only.


It is easy to tell taxis apart from other vehicles because of the ‘For Hire’ sign on the roof; they can also be summoned by hailing them down in the street. It is only when the “for Hire” light is on that the taxi can be hired; otherwise, the driver is at work or is transporting someone else. There must be a yellow and white plate on the front and back of every taxi in the city. The white stickers on the front and back windows of every City Cabs taxi serve as additional means of identification.

What to look out for in taxis

To verify the licence of the taxi and driver, you should look out for the following:

A green or yellow badge

Passengers may be picked up by drivers with either a green or a yellow badge, depending on their specialisation. Drivers are required to wear their badges at all times while on the job. The issuance of a badge marks the Knowledge of London exam.

A green or yellow licence

You must have a copy of this licence in your taxi’s front and back windows. This is where you can view the number that is on the licence plate. There are two different kinds of taxi drivers in London: those who are licenced to drive across the entire city and those who are just licenced to drive in a certain section of the city.

The taxi plate

Your taxi must have a white plate like this one displayed on the back of the car, and it must also contain the driver’s badge number. In addition to the licence number of the vehicle, it displays the license’s expiration date, the registration number of the vehicle, and the maximum number of passengers that the vehicle is authorised to transport.

Private Hire

Stickers that read “Pre-Booked Hires Only” are typically affixed to the doors of private hire vehicles, making them easy to spot. They display a “plate” on both front and rear. It is illegal to hail private hire vehicles on the street. Each fleet comprises four-door sedans and people carriers of various sizes.

When you enter a private hire automobile without first making a reservation, you render the vehicle’s insurance null and void and put yourself in danger. By making a reservation in advance, you are creating a record of your trip and assuring that you will be travelling in a car that has the necessary documentation. A private service that simultaneously operates as an airport chauffeur service is available.

What to look out for in private hire vehicles

There are a few things you should be on the lookout for if you want to determine whether or not you have licenced the car and rider that you are utilising:

Private hire ID

Chauffeurs working for private hire companies must carry their identification at all times. The driver’s name, photograph, and licence number are all displayed here.

Yellow disc

It is mandatory for vehicles used for private hire services to have licence discs prominently displayed on both the front and back windshields. They will display the following information: the London licence number, the expiration date of the licence, the registration number of the vehicle, and the maximum number of passengers that the vehicle is permitted to transport. Because licences are issued separately for vehicles and drivers, you must verify both.

Pre-booked sticker 

There is a possibility that the private hire car you are riding in will have a pre-booked sticker displayed. This is not required, and its presence does not indicate that the car has been legally registered.


Taxis and private car rentals are free of charge for this Assistance. In addition, all of our chauffeurs can carry people in wheelchairs around the city.

Unless the driver assists you with securing your wheelchair, they should not run the metre once you have entered or exited. When drivers refuse to assist passengers in wheelchairs or with assistance dogs, they risk being prosecuted for their actions.

Design aspects for disabled and elderly passengers are incorporated into the taxi’s and the chauffeur’s design. Among these features are high-visibility grab grips, an induction loop, and a vehicle size that makes it easy to enter and exit.

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