Search Legislation

Greater London Authority Act 1999

Chapter Xi: Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles

367.London has its own system for the licensing of hackney carriages (“taxis”).  The legislation (mostly enacted in the last century) which applies in the Metropolitan Police District (MPD) and City of London is entirely separate from the legislation which governs taxis outside the MPD. The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 prospectively introduces a system for the licensing in the MPD and the City of London of private hire vehicles (“minicabs”) and their drivers and operators. This is similar to that applying elsewhere in England and Wales under Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The Act transfers to TfL functions currently with the Secretary of State and the Commissioners of Police of the Metropolis (“the Police Commissioners”).

368.The Public Carriage Office, a civilian branch of the Metropolitan Police which currently licenses taxis (and will in due course license minicabs), will transfer, in its entirety, to TfL.

Section 253 and Schedule 20

369.Schedule 20, which is introduced by section 253, transfers to TfL, in relation to taxis and taxi drivers, the licensing functions of the Secretary of State and the Police Commissioners.

370.Paragraph 1 transfers the Police Commissioners’ regulatory powers and substitutes TfL for the “registrar of metropolitan public carriages”.  Paragraph 2 transfers powers relating to the appointment and regulation of taxi stands.  Paragraph 3 transfers powers concerning the inspection of taxis and makes consequential amendments.  Paragraph 4 transfers powers relating to taxis which are temporarily withdrawn from hire.  Paragraph 5 amends the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 – the main taxi-licensing legislation – by transferring the Secretary of State’s regulatory powers to TfL. Paragraph 5(2) provides for TfL to make orders by way of a “London Cab Order”, thereby replacing the Secretary of State’s powers to make such orders by way of a statutory instrument. Paragraph 5(3) transfers the taxi vehicle licensing function and other provisions. In addition to the fee payable on the grant of a licence it also introduces a fee payable on the application for the licence and for the taking or re-taking of any test or examination with respect to any matter of fitness. (In practice, licences (including drivers’ licences issued under section 8 of the 1869 Act – see below) are currently granted by an Assistant Commissioner of Police via the Public Carriage Office.)  Paragraph 5(5) transfers the taxi drivers’ licensing functions and other existing provisions. As well as introducing a similar application fee to that introduced by paragraph 5(3), it also makes provision for TfL to conduct criminal record checks on potential drivers, thereby bringing the legislation into line with the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.  Paragraph 5(6) enables TfL to make regulations by London cab order and gives the Mayor a power of direction as to the basis on which rates or fares are to be calculated.  Paragraph 6 transfers powers to fix fares for taxis fitted with taximeters and to limit the charge for admitting taxis to railway stations.  Paragraph 7 transfers powers to regulate taxi fares for non-obligatory journeys, to increase the ‘compellable distance’ of six miles and to prohibit certain signs on private hire cars.  Paragraph 8 transfers powers to provide for taxis to carry passengers at separate fares without becoming public service vehicles, and to prescribe certain periods for London taxi and taxi-driver licensing appeals.  Paragraphs 10 to 17 make transitional provisions to ensure, amongst other things, that licences issued by or on behalf of the Police Commissioners or the Secretary of State continue in force as if issued by TfL, and that existing regulations, orders and notices continue to have effect.

Section 254 and Schedule 21

371.Section 254 and Schedule 21 have the effect of transferring the Secretary of State’s minicab-licensing functions to TfL.

Section 255

372.Section 255 concerns the effect on taxis and minicabs of the change in the MPD, which is to become aligned with Greater London.  Subsections (2) and (3) provide that, when London ‘fringe’ district councils’ areas currently within the MPD move outside it, the district councils will have the power to licence taxis in those areas and each district will form a single taxi-licensing area.  Subsection (4) has the effect of imposing the taxi and minicab licensing functions, under Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, on the ‘fringe’ district councils.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources