Hackney carriage drivers and vehicles

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Consultations →

COVID-19 Changes to Licensing Service - In light of recent government advice in relation to COVID-19 we have had to make some changes to the licensing service which may affect you and your business - see further information on changes to the licensing service.

COVID-19 early outbreak management - Public Health England have produced guidance for hackney carriage and private hire services on what they should do to manage a possible outbreak. This information provides key steps to quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreak.

Greater Manchester Minimum Standards and Clean Air Plan Consultation - Greater Manchester are now holding two consultations starting 8th October and ending on 3rd December 2020 which affect hackney carriage and private hire services licensed in one of the ten local authorities. We are therefore asking for views on the proposals:

Under the provisions of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 we are responsible for licensing hackney carriage vehicles and drivers who work within the Borough.

The purpose of this licensing is to safeguard the fare paying, travelling public by ensuring that vehicles are safe, reliable and comfortable and that drivers are considered suitable.

Hackney Carriages

A hackney carriage is:

  • Commonly known as a ‘taxi’
  • Either purpose built 'London style' cabs (often called 'black cabs', but sometimes a different colour) or saloon cars with a sign on the roof stating 'Taxi Wigan Borough'
  • Has a white plate on the rear of the vehicle stating that it is a hackney carriage
  • Can operate from taxi ranks within the Borough or can be 'flagged down' in the street
  • Can only be driven by a driver licensed by us for hackney carriage.

When working a driver must wear his badge where it can easily be seen by members of the public.

It's very important for safety reasons that members of the public do not get into any vehicle that they think is a hackney carriage unless it has the appropriate sign/plate and the driver is wearing the correct driver's badge


It's our responsibility to licence these vehicles to work in Wigan Borough.

There is currently a limit of 136 vehicle licences in the borough.

Before a licence can be issued, vehicles must be tested to ensure they are mechanically fit, safe and comfortable.

The council are required to issue licences for hackney carriage vehicles for any period between 6 to 12 months.

Vehicle Maintenance

We're concerned about the failure rate of licensed vehicles being inspected at the council’s Transport Depot, so to address this issue we have prepared a document for vehicle proprietors.

These guidelines will assist proprietors in ensuring that vehicles remain fit for use at all times when they are licensed.

We also advise you to read through and familiarise yourself with the  Hackney Carriage Vehicle Conditions. These will be attached to the licence if issued.

Protective Screens

Any addition of a ‘screen’ to your vehicle would not form part of the standard requirements and conditions, and therefore will not be examined as part of the inspection.

Wigan Council would not accept liability in circumstances where a screen has caused injury to a passenger or the driver, as we do not recommend or approve the addition of a screen in licensed vehicles.

Further guidance can be found at Safety Screens for Taxis and Private Hire (external link) 

Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Study

In 2016, the council commissioned an independent survey to assess whether any significant unmet demand for hackney carriage services exists within the Borough. Following the the survey, it was concluded that there was no significant unmet demand for hackney carriage services.


Drivers of hackney carriage vehicles are legally required to have a licence.

To apply for a hackney carriage drivers’ licence you must:

  • Be over 21 years-old
  • Have held a full DVLA driving licence or other European Union licence for at least 12 months
  • Be able to satisfy us you are a fit and proper person to hold the licence

With effect from 1st October 2015, the council are required to issue licences for hackney carriage drivers for 3 years. Any application made to us from this date, which is subsequently granted, is therefore issued for 3 years, unless any particular circumstances require a licence to be issued for a shorter period. This is as a result of the implementation of Section 10 of the Deregulation Act 2015.

Please ensure that you read through the guidance notes on the application form thoroughly as they contain important information regarding which documents are required to make the application.

Failure to produce the required documents will result in your application being refused.

Fees and Charges

Our fees and charges page lists our current fees.

Reductions on vehicle licenses are available for:

  • Applying for a six month licence
  • Wheelchair adapted vehicles
  • Vehicles propelled by LPG (contact us for schedule of conditions)
  • Vehicles showing CO2 emissions reading no higher than 50
  • Ultra low emission ‘plug in’ vehicles.

New and Renewal Driver Application Process

Please  complete the application form in full, and ensure that all sections are completed, as failure to do this may result in your application being rejected.

Renewal drivers are advised to submit their  renewal application, at least 8 weeks before their licence is due to expire.

After you have completed the form, you will need to make an appointment online. When you have booked your appointment, a link to the DBS application will be emailed to you.

On the date of your appointment you will need to go to the Licensing Desk at Wigan Life Centre.

If you have not completed the online DBS application, or do not have all the necessary information or documents available with you at your appointment your application cannot be processed.

Please see the  guidance notes on the application form for further information on the documents required.

Please note: Your licence will not be issued until we are in receipt of a completed  DBS check (external link).

Therefore, please ensure that all renewal applications are submitted within a sufficient timescale to ensure your new licence is renewed before the expiry date of your current licence. Failure to do so may result in you being unable to drive private hire/hackney carriage vehicles until such time as a licence has been issued.

A completed medical form is only valid for 4 months from date of the examination. Do not complete your medical until closer to your appointment date to avoid incurring additional costs.


If you wish to make a complaint in relation to a hackney carriage vehicle or driver  please contact the licensing team.


Rate the information on this page

green smiley (good) orange smiley (average) red smiley (poor)

© Wigan Council