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Taxi and Private Hire Car Licences

West Lothian Council operates a licensing scheme for taxis and private hire cars and their drivers. This scheme is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

The Licensing 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.

What types of hire car licences are there?

1.     Taxi Licences (vehicles)

2.     Private Hire Car Licences (vehicles)

3.     Taxi Driver's licences (enables a driver to drive a taxi or private hire car)

4.     Private Hire Car Driver's Licences

5.     Hire Car Booking Office Licences

What are the maximum fares for hire cars within West Lothian?

You can view the pdf icon Fare Table [37kb]. These are the maximum metered fares which can be charged for journeys in taxis and metered private hire cars within the West Lothian Council area. Drivers are required to let passengers see the metered fare at the end of a journey.

Do all taxis and private hire cars have meters?

All taxis are required to have meters and almost all private hire cars have meters. Where no meter is fitted the driver is required to agree a fixed fare with the passenger before the journey commences.

How should fares be calculated for journeys outwith the West Lothian Council area? 

For journeys starting or ending outwith West Lothian agreement must be reached before the journey commences either to (1) charge a fixed fare or (2) use the meter.

Fixed fares

For journeys within West Lothian the meter should always be used (provided one is fitted) and any fixed fare charged cannot be more than the metered fare. 

Complaints about licence holders

Complaints regarding taxi or private hire vehicles and drivers must be made in writing by email or letter providing full details of the nature of the complaint and no records of complaints are kept unless received in the prescribed format. The following document provides information about types of complaints and outcomes.pdf icon Hire Car Complaint Log 2012-16 [66kb]

What is the difference between a taxi and a private hire car?

Taxis can be hired at a taxi rank, hailed in the street or booked in advance through a booking office. All taxis have signs on their roof which are illuminated when they are available for hire. Private hire cars must be booked in advance and they are required to display signage indicating this. Drivers of both taxis and private hire cars require to be licensed by the council following a thorough vetting process.

What different types of taxis and private hire cars are there in West Lothian?

All West Lothian taxis accommodate between 5 and 7 passengers and must be

  • accessible by passengers travelling within wheelchairs by means of suitable ramps into the side doors of the vehicle
  • fitted with hi-visibility interior features, interior grab rails , a retractable step and a  loop system for use by hearing impaired travellers

Private Hire Cars can be either

  • saloon vehicles licensed to carry only 4 passengers; or
  • larger vehicles fitted with rear passenger lifts which are licensed to carry 8 passengers; these vehicles are suitable for passengers travelling within heavier or bulkier wheelchairs who cannot easily access a vehicle by means of a ramp

Further Information about Taxi and Private Hire Cars

Information on Applications Refused by the Licensing Committee 2017

Five hire car applications were refused by the Licensing Committee in 2017, the following list gives details of the type of application and convictions for each of these pdf icon Hire Car Applications Refused due to Convictions 2017 [41kb]