Minicabs In London
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In London the term minicabs is used to refer to a private hire car and “private hire” is used in the rest of the United Kingdom; that is a car with a driver available for hire only on a pre-booked basis. They began operating in the 1960s in competition with hackney carriages after a loophole in the law was spotted (although in some areas it is possible to hold a dual hackney/private hire licence). A minicab must be booked, for example, by telephone, internet, or fax, or in person at the registered minicab office. A minicab can be booked at the time it is required, but only at the office of a company registered to accept bookings rather than directly with a driver.
Since 2001 minicabs have been regulated in London and most other local authorities. London minicabs are now licensed by London Taxis and Private Hire, or LTPH, formerly known as the Public Carriage Office. This is the same body that regulates London’s licensed taxicabs, but the minicab drivers do not have to complete The Knowledge, though they must undergo a topographical test in order to obtain a Private Hire Drivers’ Licence. All vehicles available for hire by London minicab drivers must hold a LTPH licence showing that they are fit for purpose; this is updated twice a year after an inspection at a licensed garage. In London new applicants must send their Topographical Skill Certificate along with their application to the PHV Driver Licensing Section of the LTPH .