TfL is responsible for the licensing of taxi drivers and vehicles, as well as private hire operators, drivers and vehicles in London. Private hire includes minicabs but also covers some limousine, chauffeur, tour guide and assisted transport services.
It is estimated that, on an average day, there are approximately 185,000 passenger-carrying taxi journeys in London plus around 154,000 passenger-carrying minicab journeys and about 34,300 passenger carrying journeys by chauffeur/executive drivers.
Taxi and PHV services are extremely important for disabled and elderly members of the public, and people who may have difficulty accessing other transport modes.
A key difference between taxi and private hire services is that taxis can be hailed on the street, or at designated taxi ranks, whilst all PHVs must be booked through a TfL-licensed operator.
TfL fully supports taxi and private hire provision at all key locations across London.
Based on the applicant's trip generation methodology and empirical data, transport assessments (TAs) should set out the likely number of taxi and PHV trips generated by a development proposal.
Where necessary, taxi ranks (or other facilities including adequate provision for legal pick-up and drop-off of passengers) will be required at new developments. Common land uses include shopping centres, hotels, and areas with busy late-night economies. This makes it easier for passengers to find and access taxis, reduces potential for disruption to the highway network, reduces the need for taxis to drive around waiting to be hailed and helps disperse people more quickly and safely.
All private hire operators, including those in night-time entertainment venues (eg bars, clubs, pubs, etc) must be licensed by TfL and licensed operators can also help with the safe dispersal of customers from venues. When applying for a licence for new premises, a private hire operator must submit proof that they have been granted planning permission by the local authority, or evidence that this is not required. TfL will also review and consider an operator's parking plans and arrangements and for late-night venues will review and approve the designated area where bookings must be taken.
When considering a new taxi rank or improvements to a taxi rank, developers should engage with TfL's taxi ranks department through the TfL pre-application process.
Taxi ranks should be designed to avoid conflicts with other motorists and cyclists and allow passengers to enter the taxi on the nearside so accessibility features (wheelchair ramp, intermediate step etc) can be deployed.
When designing a taxi rank, a length of five metres per taxi is allowed. TfL appoints taxi ranks in all London boroughs except for the City of London, where the City of London Police Commissioner appoints the rank. For all TfL-appointed taxi ranks a cab order must be completed and a taxi plate displayed at the rank showing the number of spaces, times of operation and location of the taxi rank 857.1, as referred to in section 4 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. The taxi rank should be marked out in yellow, 1028.2, as referred to in section 4 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.
Taxi poles and shelters can also be installed at designated taxi ranks to provide information and shelter for passengers.
TfL can also appoint rest and refreshment ranks which provide a designated space for taxi drivers to stop to take a short break.
Depending on the additional demand for taxis arising from the proposals, the provision of additional rank space and associated infrastructure may be required and if necessary secured through a section 106 agreement.