You can hire a taxi (hackney carriage) from designated taxi ranks or hail them on the street. You can sometimes book a taxi in advance.

You must book private hire vehicles (minicabs) in advance, and can't hail them on the street.

You can find a list of taxi ranks in Chelmsford along with their opening times.

You must never use an unlicensed vehicle.

We take every care to check the quality of all our taxi licence holders. We are now taking steps to ensure safety through training and conviction checks, every six months. 

If you feel unsafe during your journey, you should:

  • share your location (for example using WhatsApp or Google Maps)
  • have an open line with a friend or relative until the end of the journey
  • make sure that the meter is operating (for taxis)
  • make sure you have the correct means of payment before commencing the journey
  • not risk walking home alone (instead, find another taxi)
  • make sure that the taxi driver takes the shortest journey
  • make sure that the taxi does not stop (unless its an emergency)
  • sit in the back, behind the front passenger seat
  • not engage conversation unless relevant
  • not share personal details (except when making a booking)

Taxis are not allowed to refuse a fare. Neither should they keep you locked in the vehicle against your will, or take you to an ATM and charge for the additional journey.

You can report a concern about a taxi to us.

When you report a concern to us, you will need to provide us with:

  • your details
  • a full written account of the incident

You will also need to cooperate with investigating licensing officers.

We will seek to verify evidence through CCTV, journey tracking software, dashcams and other passengers. In serious cases, we will revoke a licence. Therefore, we have to investigate openly and demonstrate fairness.

For both taxis and private hire vehicles, we would recommend booking a return vehicle in advance to ensure a safe and timely journey.

It is illegal for a taxi to refuse a fare, except in very exceptional circumstances or if they have an exemption notice.

When using a taxi, you should:

  • use a taxi rank (try to choose one staffed by taxi marshals if possible)
  • arrange for the taxi driver to collect you from a safe meeting point
  • ask what the fare is likely to be at the time of booking and check you have the money to cover it
  • ask if they accept card payments before stating the length of the journey
  • not accept a larger fare if the taxi driver takes you to get cash, unless you have already agreed this
  • expect the driver to be polite and courteous
  • only pay in line with charges shown on the tariff, unless otherwise agreed

 Taxis can't charge more than the meter within the Chelmsford district.

You should not contact a private hire vehicle driver directly by phone, social media app or at the roadside. You must always book through an operator.

When using a private hire vehicle, you should:

  • book with a licensed operator (we do not assess or enforce those licensed by another authority)
  • confirm the booking with the driver when they arrive and that it matches any other details
  • make a note of the licence number
  • sit in the back, behind the front passenger seat
  • let a third party know details of your journey

Hackney carriage vehicles (black in colour) numbered 77 or above are wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).

WAV drivers have a responsibility to assist passengers and assistance dogs, unless they are exempt. Currently, we have not issued any exemptions.

WAV drivers are not able to charge passengers any additional cost for assisting wheelchair users or assistance dogs.

If you have a complaint, you can complain to the operator or report the matter to us.

You can also report lost property if you have lost something in a taxi.

You can identify taxis and private hire vehicles by the following:

  • a front and rear plate showing the licence number
  • door stickers showing the licence number

Private hire vehicles come in different makes and colour and will have a yellow licence plate.

Taxis will always be black with a white licence plate.

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Last updated: 14 November 2022