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Taxi Vehicle Licences

West Lothian Council operates a licensing scheme for taxis. This scheme is administered by the Council's Licensing Team. The Council does not restrict the numbers of taxis which can be licensed. The Team are able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence.

Which vehicles have the Council approved for use as taxis?
  • Citroen Dispatch (short and long wheelbase 3000mm and 3122mm) (body length 4805mm and 5135mm)
  • Citroen Dispatch Panel/Window Van (manufactured before 2007 registration date)
  • Citroen Relay 3000mm and 3450 wheelbase panel van/window van
  • Fiat Scudo (short and long wheelbase)
  • Fiat Scudo Panel/Window Van (wheelbase 3000mm and 3122mm body length 4805mm and 5135mm)
  • Fiat Scudo Panel/Window Van (manufactured before 2007 registration date)
  • Fiat TW200 (short or long wheel base model only)
  • Fiat Ducato 3000mm and 3450mm wheelbase panel van/window van
  • Ford Transit (short wheel base model only)
  • LTI TX2 M5, LTI TX2 A5, LTI TX4 M5 and LTI TX4 A5
  • Mercedes M8 (medium wheel base model only)
  • Mercedes Vito 4748mm wheelbase 2148cc 116hp
  • Peugeot E7 (short wheel base)
  • Peugeot E7 (long body - wheelbase 3122mm body length 5135mm)
  • Peugeot Expert MK 3 (short and long body) (wheelbase 3000mm and 3122 mm body length 4805mm and 5135mm)
  • Peugeot Expert Classic Panel/Window Van MK2 (manufactured before 2007 registration date)
  • Renault Traffic (short wheel base model only)
  • Vauxhall Movano and Vauxhall Vivaro (short wheel base model only)
  • Volkswagen Transporter and Volkswagen Caravelle (short wheel base model only)
  • Ford ProCab
  • Hybrid/electric TX

The vehicle must hold low volume type approval or such equivalent amended certification as issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency or its successors and must comply in all respects with the requirements of all Acts and Regulations relating to motor vehicles.

Taxis must be capable of being licensed to carry between 5 and 7 passengers. The decision of the Cab Inspector as to the appropriate number of passengers for the vehicle to be licensed to carry shall be final following inspection of the vehicle and consideration of safety and luggage requirements.

There is no age limit in relation to vehicles.

All vehicles are tested at the Taxi Examination Centre, Murrayburn Road, Edinburgh and for the avoidance of doubt like all of the hire car conditions of fitness a vehicle must comply with these conditions to the satisfaction of the Cab Inspector.

Can I apply to licence a vehicle which is not on the approved list?

You can apply to licence a vehicle which is not on the Council's approved list of taxis. However, you need to include with your application a letter providing reasons why you believe the Council should consider departing from its policy in your case. If your request is based on medical grounds you should include with your application a medical report supporting your application for a particular type of vehicle which the Council is obliged to consider as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010. All applications to licence vehicles which are not on the approved list will be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination and can be expected to take several months to be determined as additional reports will need to be obtained. As with all licensing applications, if your application is refused no refund of the fee will be given.

How do I apply for the grant of a taxi licence?

If you want to apply for a licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee.

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them and a list of fees are available from the Related Documents section of this page. You should read the guidance notes carefully before completing your application form.

There are two separate application forms. One is for persons applying for a licence as an individual and the other is to be completed by applicants who are companies, partnership or organisations.

All applications are copied to the Cab Inspector at the Taxi Examination Centre. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer.  You will be contacted once vetting is complete and given a date for your vehicle to be presented to be tested at the Taxi Examination Centre.

How do I apply to renew my existing taxi licence?

A reminder letter along with an application form and a letter from the Taxi Examination Centre giving details of your inspection date will be sent to you approximately two months before the expiry date of your current licence. Your licence will continue in force if a valid renewal application is received prior to the expiry of your current licence, however, you must check when the Certificate of Compliance for the vehicle expires and that date is shown on the licence plates for the vehicle.

Please ensure that the vehicle passes its annual test before the certificate expires as in terms of the licence conditions a vehicle cannot operate unless it has a current certificate of compliance and licence plates. Breach of the conditions is a criminal offence.

If you fail to renew your licence before the expiry date the licence expires automatically and you cannot submit your vehicle for testing.

It is important that you notify the Licensing Team if your address or contact details change.

What type of advertising is permitted on hire cars?

Guidance is available to download from the related documents section of this page.

How will my application be decided?

We have nine months in which to make a decision regarding your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days and applications which do not attract any adverse comments or objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. Applications for new licences may take longer to be determined as the vehicles have to be allocated a test date by the Taxi Examination Centre.

After a successful test a certificate of compliance for the vehicle will be issued by the Taxi Examination Centre. The Taxi Examination Centre will then advise the Licensing Team of this and following that the licence can be granted under delegated powers. Once the licence has been granted you will be contacted so you can arrange to attend at the Taxi Examination Centre to collect the vehicle licence plates to allow you to start operating the vehicle.

In relation to applications for new licences plates cannot be issued until the licence has been granted. In relation to renewal applications the vehicle cannot be tested and issued with licence plates until a competent renewal application has been made. All licence holders and drivers must be familiar with the licensing conditions before operating hire car vehicles. These are available to download or view in the Related Documents section of this webpage.

All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made to grant or refuse your application. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis and you will be sent notice of the date and time of the meeting at which your application is to be considered along with a copy of the report on your application. Meetings are held in the West Lothian Civic Centre and you or your representative will be given the opportunity to explain to the committee at the meeting why you consider your application should be granted

If your application is refused by the Licensing Committee you may have a right of appeal against that decision and can request a written statement of reasons in relation to the decision from the Licensing Team, this must be done within 10 days of the date your application was refused. Appeals against decisions can be made to Livingston Sheriff Court, information regarding the Sheriff Court is available from the Scottish Courts website and you should consult your own legal representative should you wish further information on how to appeal.

How long will my licence be granted for?

A taxi licence is issued for a period of 1 year for both the grant or renewal of a licence.

What standard conditions will be applied to my licence?

The standard conditions for taxi licences and the conditions of fitness for taxis can be found in the Related Documents section of this page.

How do I apply to replace my current licensed vehicle?

If you are a current licence holder and want to replace your vehicle, you must submit the appropriate replacement vehicle application form along with the fee.

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section. You should read the guidance notes carefully before completing your application form.

What if I want to vary a standard hire car condition in relation to my vehicle?

If you are a current licence holder and are considering varying any of your hire car conditions in relation to your vehicle, to do this you need to make a variation application using this form pdf icon Application to vary a hire car condition [61kb] and pay an administration fee, in relation to an amendment to your licence. Please note that a separate application must be made for each licence which you wish to be varied. See the list of fees in the Related Documents section of this page.

Once your application form and fee are received a copy of your application will be sent to the Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) for the views of the Senior Vehicle Examiner and the Cab Inspector. If there are no adverse comments received from either officer the licence can be varied by the Chief Solicitor using delegated powers.

However if any adverse comments are received the application would then need to be referred to the next suitable Licensing Committee for a decision to be taken. If your application needs to go to the committee the whole process may take two to three months depending on how long it takes for the TEC to respond. If your variation application is referred to committee you will be invited to attend the meeting to explain to the committee why you believe your application should be granted.

If you are applying for a new licence or to renew or replace your vehicle on an existing licence and wish to request that any of the standard conditions be varied you can request that at the time you make your application without making a separate variation application. You should include a letter with your application form explaining what condition you wish varied and the reasons for that. The procedure is the same as for variation applications and if any adverse comments are received the application would then need to be referred to the next suitable Licensing Committee for a decision to be taken on the grant or renewal of the application including your request for the conditions to be varied.  

You should be aware that if your application requires to be referred to the Licensing Committee that this will delay the determination of your application as your vehicle will not be tested until application has been considered by the committee. 

Can a taxi licence be transferred?

The legislation does not allow licences to be transferred apart from on a temporary basis when a licence holder dies pdf icon Guidance Note on the Death of a Taxi or PHC Licence holder [18kb]

If you hold a taxi licence as an individual and wish that licence to be held in the name of your company or partnership you can make an application for a new licence for that vehicle in your business name and surrender the existing licence once the new licence is ready to be granted. There are separate application forms for businesses. Despite the fact that you already hold a licence for the vehicle the application must be dealt with as a new application and you should note that as for all new applications there will be a delay in having the vehicle tested. In addition, if you have previously had your licence varied to change any of the conditions you will need to include with your application a letter explaining which of the conditions of fitness you wish varied and why, see paragraph 3 of the guidance notes attached to the application form.  This can also delay the processing of your application. You should seek legal advice regarding this.

How can I obtain approval to install either CCTV or a camera system on or within my taxi? 

CCTV

The Council has a policy in relation to the installation of CCTV in a licensed taxi vehicle.

CCTV is defined in the conditions as "an electronic security system capable of recording and storing a record of entry or exit of passengers either by way of video or digital images".  Schedule D of the hire car conditions contains the approved specification and conditions which will be imposed following an application being granted.

An application form must be completed pdf icon Application for Approval of CCTV Installation in Hire Cars [62kb] and lodged with the required fee pdf icon Hire Car Fees 2019-20 [54kb] as detailed in the guidance notes attached to the form. If the specification of the system you wish to install complies with the minimum specification, your application will be able to be granted using delegated powers once a report on your application is obtained from the Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) confirming this and your vehicle is successfully tested at TEC once the system has been installed.

If you wish to install a CCTV system which records passengers but which does not fully comply with the specification in Schedule D that may need to be referred to the Licensing Committee in the same way as any other application which is outwith policy. If this is the case it would be helpful if in making your application you could include a letter providing details of the specification of the system you wish to install and detailing why the committee should consider varying the specification in your case to allow you to install a system which does not comply with the specification. Technology has moved on since the specification was drawn up and reports from TEC and Police Scotland will be requested for comments on whether a system which does not fully comply with the specification should be permitted.

If adverse comments are received your application would need to be referred to Committee for a decision to be made and you will be invited to attend a meeting to put forward your case.  If no adverse comments are received your application should be able to be granted using delegated powers once the vehicle is successfully tested at TEC after the system has been installed.

Systems such as dashcams which do not record passengers

In terms of the hire car conditions approval is required from the TEC to install any additional fittings on a licensed vehicle. If you intend to install one of those types of systems, you should email or write to the Licensing Team detailing the type of system you are proposing. This information would be forwarded to the TEC for consideration. If the TEC have no adverse comments to make regarding the installation you would be advised to proceed with the installation and asked to make arrangement with TEC to take your vehicle for inspection of the systems when installed. There is no application process or fee for the approval of this type of installation.

Complaints about taxi vehicles

Complaints regarding taxi vehicles may be made to the Licensing Team. These should be made in writing by email to licensingservices@westlothian.gov.uk or letter and give all the information you can about the nature of the complaint and include the date, time and location where the vehicle was giving cause for concern.

All complaints which are received in writing, either by letter or email are referred to the Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) for investigation. If your complaint involves an allegation that an offence has been committed you must report this first to Police Scotland by calling 101 or attending at a police station. Once you have a crime reference number you should make your complaint to the Licensing Team and include the crime reference number.

Complaints regarding unlicensed taxi vehicles should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.

Contact details for the Taxi Examination Centre

The Taxi Examination Centre are based at 33 Murrayburn Road, Edinburgh, EH14 2TF and can contacted by telephone on 0131 529 5800 or by email TEC