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Hackney Carriage Private Hire Vehicle Specifications


A vehicle Specifications 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 decide on its own merits and, if justifiable reasons exist, the Licensing Committee may decide to license a vehicle that does not comply fully with the conditions, or not to license 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-approve to the requirements of the M or M1 Category of European Whole Type Approval 70/156/EEC as amend. Those taxis (e.g. Van conversions) which have not been typing approve must be present with approve 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 fit with an ABS braking system.


7 See table at Appendix A


8 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 liters has been removed. 


9. Adequate lighting must be provided for the driver and passengers.
Separate lighting controls for both passengers and drivers must be provided. In the case of the passenger compartment, an illuminate control switch must be fit in an approve position. Lighting must also be provide at floor level to every passenger door and be actuate by the opening of the door.


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


11. Moreover, The body must be of the fixed bulkhead 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 offer to first alight from the vehicle.

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

13. The overall length of the vehicle must not exceed 5 meters.

14. The overall width of the vehicle exclusive of driving mirrors must not
exceed 2 meters.

15. The clear height of the doorway must be a minimum of 1.195 meters.

16. 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 open by passengers.

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

18.If sliding doors are fit 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.

19.  Furthermore, An approve type of automatic door locking device must be fit to passenger doors.  The interior door handle must be easily identify so as not to be mistake for any other control.

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


21. 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 meters above ground level when the vehicle is unladen. Vehicle Specifications

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

23. 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, to not cause danger to any
foot passengers on the public highway.


24. The vehicle must be wheelchair accessible with a minimum of 0.75-meter 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. Sideloading and/or rear-loading will be licensed.


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 fit 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 meters and each adult person carry a minimum of 0.40 meters must be available when measure along the front parallel edge of the seat cushion.

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

32. Front seats must be so arrange 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 restraints.

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


35. Approve seatbelts must be fitted to all seats.

36. The flooring of the passenger compartment must be fit with non-slip material, which can be easily clean.

37 The windscreen must be of laminate construction and not be tint unless that tint is part of the vehicle’s original construction. All other windows must be of an approve safety type.Vehicle Specifications


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


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


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


43. Hackney Carriages, including all fittings, advertisements, etc., must be well maintain at all times, keep 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 maintain or that any part or fitting is not in good working order, a notice will be serve on the owner prohibiting him/her from using the vehicle until the defect has been rectified.

44. The Hackney Carriage

Moreover, It must be provide with a securely store spare wheel and tire, jack and wheel brace, or other means to re-inflate a flat wheel-tire as approv 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.

46. The fire extinguisher must be securely clamp and easily accessible by the driver. The fire extinguisher must be of the rechargeable, multi-purpose dry powder type. It must have a minimum of 13a/70b as defined in European Standard EN3 and have been manufacture to comply with that standard. 

first aid kit

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

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

49. Suitable advertisements may be allow 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 Vehicle Specifications tobacco products unless as part of a Health Education or similar campaign. Should not offend the general public or any section of the community, and should be non-political.


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


There are many different makes and styles of vehicles 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 license, but vehicles are expect to remain in a first-class condition.
2. That your vehicle is a 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 a 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 seat.
6. That your vehicle is construct or adapt 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 safely.
8. The Council requires that seat belts be provide for all persons, irrespective of age, and according to the licensed capacity of the vehicle.
9. The license number shall be displaye on the outside of the vehicle on the official plates provided.
10.Engine Emissions – See table at Appendix A

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