What is plying for hire?

"Plying for hire" is a term used in the UK to describe the act of a vehicle stopping to pick up a passenger who has not pre-booked the journey. In the context of taxi licensing, plying for hire is an important consideration because it is a key factor that distinguishes private hire vehicles (PHVs) from hackney carriages (taxis).

Hackney carriages, or taxis, are licensed to ply for hire, meaning they can pick up passengers from a taxi rank or anywhere on the street, without the need for a prior booking. In contrast, private hire vehicles are not allowed to ply for hire and must be pre-booked by the passenger through a licensed private hire operator.

In practice, this means that taxis can pick up passengers who hail them on the street or from a taxi rank, while private hire vehicles must have a prior booking before picking up any passengers. If a private hire vehicle picks up passengers without a prior booking, it is considered to be plying for hire and the driver and operator could face penalties for operating illegally.

The distinction between plying for hire and pre-booked journeys is an important one for taxi licensing and regulation in the UK, as it helps to ensure the safety of passengers and maintain a level playing field for licensed operators.



What are the penalties in the UK?

If a private hire vehicle is caught plying for hire in the UK both the driver and the operator can face penalties for operating illegally.

The penalties for plying for hire can vary depending on the local licencing authority and the specific circumstances of the offence. However some of the common penalties that can be imposed include:

Fixed penalty notice: Private hire drivers who are caught playing for hire may be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of up to £100. Private hire operators who allow their drivers to ply for hire may also be issued with an FPN of up to £1,000.

Prosecution: If the driver or operator refuses to pay the FPN or the case is considered to be more serious they may be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £2,500. In some cases, the driver may also face penalty points on their licence.

Confiscation of Vehicle: If a private hire vehicle is caught plying for hire, it may be seized and impounded by the police. The driver and operator may be required to pay a fee to have the vehicle released.

It's important to note that the penalties for plying for hire can be severe and can have long-lasting consequences for the driver and operator. Private hire drivers and operators should always ensure that they are operating within the bounds of their licensing conditions and only accept pre-booked journeys to avoid any legal issues.

Revocation of licence: The local licencing authority may revoke the driver or operator’s licence. If they are found to have breached licencing conditions including plying for hire.

Confiscation of vehicle: If a private hire vehicle is caught plying for hire it may be seized and impounded by the police. The driver and operation may be required to pay a fee to have the vehicle released.


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Why choose TMC Solicitors?

  • In addition to appeals, TMC Solicitors can also provide advice and representation for a range of other legal issues related to taxi licensing, including licensing applications, compliance with licensing conditions, and disputes with licensing authorities or other drivers/operators.
  • At TMC Solicitor, we can provide advice and representation for appeals related to plying for hire offences in the UK. If you have been issued with a penalty notice or prosecuted for plying for hire, we can help you understand your legal options and provide expert advice on the best course of action to take.
  • In the case of an appeal, we can provide representation in court or in front of a licencing authority. We can help you build a strong case and present evidence to support your appeal with the aim of having the penalty reduced or overturned.
  • It is important to note the success of an appeal will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the strength of the evidence. However, by working with us, you can be confident that you have expert legal support and guidance throughout the process.
  • We also provide advice and representation for a range of other legal issues related to taxi licenceing including licencing applications compliance with licencing conditions and disputes with licencing authorities or other drivers and operators.

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