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Passenger safety

We are responsible for licensing hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and their drivers in the borough of St Helens.

Travelling safely

When taking a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle:

  • Only take one that you can trust
  • Always make sure you have enough money to get home
  • Arrange to be picked up from a safe location

Not all taxis are the same

Hackney carriage vehicles (taxis) can be flagged down in the street or can be found at  taxi ranks located throughout the borough (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window) .

Private hire vehicles can only be booked through an operator. If the driver accepts a fare when you have flagged down a vehicle or you have asked them to radio through a booking, such action will make the booking unlawful and will render the insurance for the vehicle null and void.

You are able to tell the difference between a hackney carriage vehicle and private hire vehicle easily as hackney carriages will have on their roof an illuminated sign typically displaying the words 'Taxi' or 'For Hire'. 

How are fares calculated?

The private hire trade sets their own fares so you should either agree a fare before the journey commences or, if a meter is fitted in the vehicle, check the tariff card that will be displayed to see how the fare will be calculated.

Hackney carriage fares are set by us and you can  view the current tariff card (PDF) [384KB] (opens new window) .

How to identify a St Helens-licensed vehicle

St Helens Borough Council licenses two difference types of vehicles: hackney carriages and private hire vehicles. Each vehicle will be issued with a licence plate that will be displayed on the rear of the vehicle displaying the following information:

  • The licence number
  • The make and colour of the vehicle
  • The registration of the vehicle
  • The expiry date of the vehicles licence
  • The amount of passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry*

* The driver can only carry the number of passengers specified on the external rear licence plate, irrespective of whether such passengers are children or adults. Carrying more than the specified number is unlawful and could render the insurance null and void.

Hackney carriage licence plates will be displayed on a red background, while private hire licence plates will be displayed on an orange background. Each vehicle will also be issued with a window identification disc, which will be displayed in the top left of the vehicles windscreen displaying the same information noted above.

Why choose a St Helens-licensed vehicle

St Helens-licensed drivers are the only ones this licensing authority has responsibility for. If you encounter a problem with a St Helens-licensed driver or vehicle, then as the licensing authority we can investigate and take action.

If the vehicle or driver are from outside of St Helens, we have no legal power to intervene or investigate. St Helens pre-application checks are of the very highest standards and we take the safety and security of the travelling public very seriously.

If you call a St Helens-licensed operator for a taxi, you may find that they provide a non-St Helens-licensed driver. This is because under the Deregulation Act of 2015 they will have multiple operator licences throughout the country.

We cannot guarantee the checks undertaken by any other licensing authority outside of St Helens. You can ensure that you receive a St Helens-licensed driver by requesting this when you make the booking with the operator. The operator cannot refuse to send you a St Helens-licensed driver and vehicle.  

If you have any complaints or encounter any problems with your driver or operator or the standard of the vehicle, please submit a complaint to us and we will investigate the matter for you.

General information

The driver should at all times have their identity badge on display in a prominent position within the vehicle (most drivers will typically display theirs around their rear view mirror) so it is visible to their passengers. This identity badge will display the following information:

  • The driver's name
  • The driver's licence number
  • The expiry date of the licence
  • A photograph of the driver