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Hackney Carriage Private Hire Vehicle Specifications

A vehicle must meet the following standards to be considered for licensing
either as a Hackney Carriage or a Private Hire Vehicle. These standards
define the type of vehicle that is suitable for licensing.
Before embarking on the purchase of a vehicle for use as a Private Hire
Vehicle or Hackney Carriage you should check that it meets this specification
you are advised to discuss the areas of difference with a Licensing Officer
before making the purchase.

1. These specifications and conditions set out the requirements that the
Northampton Borough Council expects all hackney carriages to meet.
The decision to introduce these specifications and conditions will be
made by the Licensing Committee on this basis. However, each case
will be decided on its own merits and, if justifiable reasons exist, the
Licensing Committee may decide to licence a vehicle that does not
comply fully with the conditions, or not to licence a vehicle that does
meet the conditions.

From 1st January 2016 no age limit will be applicable

3 Every Hackney Carriage must comply in all respects with the
requirements of any Acts and Regulations relating to motor vehicles in
force at the time of licensing including the Motor Vehicle (Type
Approval) Regulations 1980, and the Motor Vehicles (Construction and
use) Regulations 1984. It must also comply fully with all other Test
Requirements and Conditions imposed by Northampton Borough
Council and in force at the time of licensing.

4 Every Hackney Carriage must be type approved to the requirements of
the M or M1 Category of European Whole Type Approval 70/156/EEC
as amended. Those taxis (e.g. Van conversions) which have not been
type approved must be presented with approved certification that the
specific vehicle meets the requirements of one of those categories.

5 The steering wheel must be on the offside of the vehicle.

6 All vehicles must be fitted with an ABS braking system.

7 See table at Appendix A


8 In order to encourage cleaner and alternative fuel types and the
recognition that a larger engine is not necessarily as efficient as a
smaller engine, the requirement that the minimum cc should be 1.9 litre
has been removed. The vehicle must be fitted with a manual or
automatic gearbox.

9. Adequate lighting must be provided for the driver and passengers.
Separate lighting controls for both passengers and driver must be
provided. In the case of the passenger compartment an illuminated control
switch must be fitted in an approved position. Lighting must also be
provided at floor level to every passenger door and be actuated by the
opening of the door.

10. Any additional electrical installation to the original equipment must be
adequately insulated and be protected by suitable fuses.

10.The body must be of the fixed bulk head type with a partially glazed
partition separating the passenger from the driver. A suitable means of
offering payment must be available to the passenger without the need
to first alight from the vehicle.

11.The partition and an intercom must be fitted as part of the vehicle.

12.The overall length of the vehicle must not exceed 5 metres.

13.The overall width of the vehicle exclusive of driving mirrors must not
exceed 2 metres.

14.The clear height of the doorway must be a minimum of 1.195 metres.

15.The vehicle must be provided with at least two doors, other than the
driver’s door for the use of passengers. Each door must be able to be
opened by passengers.

16.The internal footprint size of the interior of the vehicle must be a
minimum of 1200×700 millimetres.

17.If sliding doors are fitted as standard to the vehicle they can be electric
or manual. There must be some form of approved visible warning
system to inform other motorists and pedestrians that a door is open
and a passenger may be alighting.

18.An approved type of automatic door locking device must be fitted to
passenger doors. When the vehicle is stationary, the passenger doors
must be capable of being readily opened from inside and outside the
vehicle by one of the latch mechanisms. The interior door handle must
be easily identified so as not to be mistaken for any other control.

19.Suitable means must be provided for carrying and securing any
luggage within the vehicle. External luggage racks are not permitted.

20.The top of the tread for any entrance must be at the level of the floor of
the passenger compartment and must not exceed 0.53 metres above
ground level when the vehicle is unladen.

21.The outer edge of the floor at each entrance must be fitted with non-slip
treads. If a colour contrast is used to aid a partially sighted person it
must be of an approved type.

22.A suitable step or runner, if necessary, either fixed or retractable should
be fitted to assist entry into or exit out of the vehicle. This step must be
of such construction, if extendable, so as to not cause danger to any
foot passengers on the public highway.

23.The vehicle must be wheelchair accessible with a minimum of 0.75
metre width opening on each passenger door. The angle of the door
when open to its maximum must have a minimum angle of 90 degrees.

24.Loading of wheelchairs must be enabled on all Hackney vehicles. Side
loading and/or rear loading will be licensed.

25.Approved anchorages must be provided for a wheelchair. These
anchorages must be either chassis or floor linked and capable of
withstanding approved dynamic or static tests. Restraints for
wheelchair and occupant must be independent of each other.
Anchorages must be provided for the safe stowage of a wheelchair
when not in use, whether folded or otherwise, if carried within the
passenger compartment.

26. A ramp or ramps for the loading of a wheelchair and occupant must be
available at all times and an adequate locating device must be fitted to
ensure that the ramp/ramps do not slip or tilt when in use. The
ramp/ramps must be capable of being safely stowed when not in use.
Incline on the ramps when in use must be of such a percentage incline
as to not cause unnecessary strain on either the driver or passenger.

27.There must be no de-mountable seats, although movement on a fixed
runner will be acceptable.

28.There must be unobstructed egress from all seats.
29.Grab handles must be fitted at all points of passenger entry to assist
the elderly and disabled.

30. There must be an acceptable level of comfort for all passengers. The
measurements from the upholstery at the back to the front edge must
be at least 0.40 metres and for each adult person carried a minimum of
0.40 metres must be available when measured along the front parallel
edge of the seat cushion.

31.The width of each front seat must not be less than 0.40 metres and
such seats must be at least 0.355 metres when measured from the
back to the front of the upholstery.

32.Front seats must be so arranged as to raise automatically and must not
obstruct any doorway when not in use.

33.All forward and rearward facing seats must be fitted with suitable head

34.Windows must be provided at the sides and at the rear.

35.The passenger door windows must be capable of being opened easily
by the occupants when seated. The control for opening the window
must be easily identified so as not to be mistaken for any other control.

36.An adequate heating and ventilation system must be provided, for both
driver and passengers and be able to be controlled independently by
both driver and, in that compartment, the passenger.

37.Approved seatbelts must be fitted to all seats.

38.The flooring of the passenger compartment must be fitted with non-slip
material, which can be easily cleaned.

39.The windscreen must be of a laminated construction and not be tinted
unless that tint is part of the vehicles original construction. All other
windows must be of an approved safety type.

40.A frame must be provided for the Tariff Card (Fare Table) and the
interior identification plate and fitted in an approved position.

41.A taximeter of an approved type must be fitted in the position approved
by the Council.

42.A ‘Taxi’ sign of an approved pattern, clearly visible by day and by night
when the cab is not hired, must be fitted.

43.Hackney Carriages, including all fittings, advertisements etc., must be
well maintained at all times, kept clean and in good working order. The
vehicle will at all times be subject to test and inspection. Should it be
found that a cab is not being properly maintained or that any part or
fitting is not in good working order, a notice will be served on the owner
prohibiting him/her from using the vehicle until the defect has been

44.The Hackney Carriage must be provided with a securely stored spare
wheel and tyre, jack and wheel brace, or other means to re-inflate a flat
tyre as approved by the Council.

45.There must be provided and maintained in the vehicle at all times,
when it is in use, or available for hire, a suitable and efficient fire
extinguisher and a suitable first aid kit. This equipment must be carried
in such a position in the vehicle as to be readily available for immediate
use in an emergency.

46.The fire extinguisher must be securely clamped and easily accessible
by the driver. The fire extinguisher must be of the rechargeable, multi
purpose dry powder type. It must have a minimum 13a/70b as defined
in European Standard EN3 and have been manufactured to comply
with that standard. It must be serviced annually in accordance with
British Standard 5305, Part 3 and permanently legibly marked with the
licensing plate number of the vehicle.

47.The first aid kit must conform to the specifications set out in the
Hackney Carriage Condition Booklet.

48.No fittings other than those approved may be attached to or carried
upon the inside or outside of the cab.

49.Suitable advertisements may be allowed on the inside and outside of
the cab subject to the approval of the Council.

50.Such advertisements, printed matter, mark or sign must be, non-racist,
non-sexist, non-disablist, should not refer to tobacco products unless
as part of a Health Education or similar campaign. Should not cause
offence to the general public or any section of the community, and
should be non-political.

51. Inside advertisements may be displayed only on the base of the
occasional seats or along the bulkheads on top of the passenger/driver
partition. All such adverts must be encapsulated in clear non-inflammable

52. Applications for approval of advertisements must be made in writing to
the Licensing Team Leader for approval.

53. All newly adopted vehicles must satisfy all of the above conditions
before first plating.

There are many different makes and styles of vehicle on the road today.
Not all vehicles would be suitable for use as a private hire vehicle and the
Council has therefore approved certain standards to guide proprietors on the
type of vehicle considered suitable bearing in mind public comfort/safety and
the legal requirements previously mentioned.
The specifications we apply to vehicles are as follows:
1. That your vehicle is in an immaculate condition both mechanically and
cosmetically. There is no age limit on this type of licence, but vehicles
are expected to remain in a first class condition.
2. That your vehicle is right hand drive. We will not accept any
“conversions” from left to right hand drive under any circumstances.
The vehicle must not have less than four road wheels. They will still
need to pass the Council test.
3. That your vehicle (if a car) has a minimum of 4 doors giving adequate
access and egress from the vehicle. The design of the car can be
saloon, hatchback, estate, or MPV.
4. That your vehicle has a back seat width (when measured in a
continuous line from edge to edge) of at least 1220mm (48 inches).
5. That your vehicle provides easy access from a door to any passenger
6. That your vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a minimum of 4
passengers in comfort.
7. That your vehicle (if a minibus or “people mover”) has sufficient doors
of sufficient size to allow passengers to get in and out quickly and
8. It is a requirement of the Council that seat belts be provided for all
persons, irrespective of age, and according to the licensed capacity of
the vehicle.
9. The licence number shall be displayed on the outside of the vehicle on
the official plates provided.
10.Engine Emissions – See table at Appendix A

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