Information on Hackney Carriages and private hire taxis

Brighton & Hove's white and aqua taxis, known as Hackney Carriages, are available at taxi ranks. You can also hail them in the street, or book them by telephoning an operator.

Private hire cars, including app based operators, can only be booked through an operator. They cannot wait at taxi ranks, and should not stop and pick you up if you hail them. 

All Brighton & Hove Hackney Carriage taxis, private hire cars and their drivers and operators are licensed by the council annually. Vehicles are subject to age limits and mechanical tests. Drivers undergo periodic police, DVLA and medical checks.

Please beware of any car which stops to pick you up if it's not a licensed taxi, or you haven't made a booking.

View or download our taxi leaflet (PDF 362KB) for more information.

Taxi public register

As a licensing authority, Brighton & Hove City Council has to maintain a taxi public register. This gives certain details of the current hackney carriage and private hire drivers' vehicles, and operator licences it has issued.

Customer and Driver Charter

Both the customer and driver are expected to be treated with dignity and respect at all times. They must not engage in any discriminatory behaviour, and must comply with the law. Unsafe or inappropriate behaviour by the passenger or the taxi driver is unacceptable. This behaviour could put either of you at risk, and could offend, harm or result in the matter being reported to the police or other actions being taken.

Customer and Driver Charter (PDF 101KB)

Report a problem

If you have a problem with a Brighton & Hove licensed taxi or private hire car, you can make a complaint to our Hackney Carriage office.

Our enforcement powers are limited to the operators, vehicles and drivers that we license. If a taxi or private hire vehicle is licensed by another council, they must carry out any necessary enforcement action.

You can view or download our Blue Handbook (PDF 979KB) which provides guidance for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers, vehicles and operators.

Hackney Carriage taxis

Brighton & Hove's licensed Hackney Carriage taxis are usually either a London type vehicle, or saloon car with a large roof sign with the words 'TAXI' and 'FOR HIRE' on the front. Both types of vehicle have the council's logo and the words 'Licensed TAXI' on the front doors. They will also have the licence number on the rear doors. A plate on the back of the taxi gives its licence number, and drivers must display a council-issued badge in the taxi. These are the only vehicles allowed at taxi ranks, or to pick you up if you hail them in the street.

The taxi fares are set by the council.

We also have a Hackney Carriage Accessibility Policy (PDF 123KB)

Brighton & Hove licensed private hire cars

Brighton & Hove licensed private hire cars look different to the Hackney Carriage style taxis. They will have signs on the doors which say 'PRIVATE HIRE', 'PRIOR BOOKING ONLY.' These taxis usually advertise a telephone number that you can call. The vehicle will have a green plate on the back with its licence number. The driver must display a council-issued driver badge in the car.

It's legal to order a taxi from anywhere in England and Wales. Each council will have their own licensing terms and checks.

Private hire cars must not wait for passengers at taxi ranks, or be hailed in the streets. Be wary if one stops for you if you have not booked it, it may not be insured to carry you.

Private hire cars usually charge the same fares as Hackney Carriages. Please check the rates before starting your journey.

All Brighton & Hove private hire and Hackney Carriage drivers licensed by Brighton & Hove City Council operate under the same licences and the same guidelines contained in the Blue Book, whichever company they drive for. All Brighton & Hove licensed drivers undergo the same background checks

Taxi fares

The council sets the fares for taxis but private hire cars usually charge the same rate. A fare card giving details of the charges should be displayed inside each vehicle, and a taximeter automatically calculates the fare.

The minimum taxi fare set by the council is £3, and it rises in 20p increments according to how far you travel. As a guide to what your journey may cost, the first mile will be £5 and each subsequent mile will be £2.40. Vehicles carrying 5 to 8 passengers are able to charge a higher fare, approximately one and a half times the normal fare. 

There are additional charges:

  • at night
  • on Sundays, Public and Bank Holidays
  • at Christmas and New Year
  • for extra passengers above 4
  • for telephone pre-bookings
  • for fouling

All the details are on the fare card in the vehicle. The last fare increase was in August 2019.

Download a copy of the most recent fare card - 2019 (PDF 76KB)

More information

Go back to our main taxi page for more information.