Taxis or Private Hire vehicles illegally plying for trade
The majority of licensed drivers operate legitimately. But there are some who seek to take advantage and make extra cash. We are working in partnership with council licensing teams across the West Midlands to tackle illegal plying for hire and touting.
The safest way to use a private hire is to book directly with a reputable private hire operator via phone, app, online or in person. This guarantees you will be driven by a licensed, insured driver in a licensed, insured vehicle or, use a licensed hackney carriage licensed within the area you are in.
If there are any problems there will be a record of your journey, your driver and the vehicle used which means they can be traced if needed.
What is plying for hire?
Plying for hire is when a driver takes an unbooked journey for payment which could make the driver’s insurance policy invalid.
Only Hackney Carriage vehicles can take fares without being booked in advance provided they are working within their own licensed district. Hackney Carriages can legally work anywhere in the country but once outside of their licensed district they can only take booked journeys via a private hire company.
Private hire cars must not ply for hire or stop on Hackney Carriage Ranks.
Why shouldn’t people get into an unbooked private hire car?
People who approach or accept unbooked lifts from drivers may not be insured in the event of being injured in an accident.
It also means that there is no record of the journey or vehicle and if there is a problem, the driver cannot be traced.
What is touting?
When a person approaches you and asks if you require a taxi. When this happens, that person is committing an offence. Always make the booking via a reputable company. Do not let touts or taxi marshals make a booking for you.
Can a Hackney Carriage vehicle tout for customers?
No. It is an offence for any person to tout for customers.
How are we tackling this?
Police Camera operators, working alongside council enforcement officers, monitor vehicles parked near to licensed premises and check if they’ve been legitimately booked. Specially trained officers can also pose as passengers to catch those breaking the rules.
How can I report taxis illegally plying or touting?
You can speak to the local council’s licensing department or call us on 101 for further advice.
- Visit the government’s website to find your local council. Once there, put your postcode into the search box to get to the home page of your local council.