Saloons, estates or people carriers are examples of private hire vehicles. These vehicles do not have a meter. The price of the journey is agreed between the driver and the passenger, however this must be agreed before the journey starts. They cannot ply for hire in the street or at taxi ranks and must be pre-booked via a private hire operator (passengers, driver and vehicle are not insured otherwise).
Companies who take bookings for hackney carriage vehicles do not have to be licensed unless they also take bookings for private hire vehicles.
In January 2008, Section 53 of the Road Safety Act 2006 repealed section 75(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 which is commonly known as the 'contract exemption'. This previously exempted vehicles engaged on contracts lasting not less than seven days from private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing requirements. These vehicles must now be licensed however it is possible to apply for a private hire vehicle dispensation. In order for this to be granted evidence must be provided for the Regulatory Licensing Team to assist to confirm that the vehicle meets the required conditions.