There are four classes of licensed taxi in Northern Ireland.
The taxi class decides how that taxi can be used. Never use an unlicensed taxi.
Taxi classes and signs
The classes of taxi are A, B, C, and D.
These taxis will have:
- A roof sign, coloured yellow to both the front and back;
- Taxi plates on the front and back of roof signs;
- Signs in the front windscreen and both rear passenger windows;
- A taximeter and printer fitted; and
- A taximeter fare card prominently displayed.
Outside the Belfast Zone, these taxis can be hailed, pre-booked and picked-up at designated taxi stands. See Belfast taxi zone map
Within the Belfast Zone, these taxis can be pre-booked, and can be hailed from midnight until 6.00 am every Friday and Saturday night, and on public holidays.
A maximum fare structure is set and outlined on the fare card, which the owner or driver of a taxi must display prominently to allow a passenger inside the taxi to easily see and read it. The fare charged cannot be more than the fare shown on the taximeter. See Taximeter fare card
Passengers should be offered a receipt.
These taxis will have:
- a roof sign, coloured white to the front and yellow to the back;
- taxi plates with a wheelchair accessible logo on the front and back of roof signs;
- signs in the front windscreen and both rear passenger windows;
- a taximeter and printer fitted; and
- a taximeter fare card prominently displayed.
These taxis will be wheelchair accessible and can be hailed, pre-booked and picked-up at designated taxi stands.
As before, a maximum fare structure is set, outlined in the fare card, which the owner or driver of a taxi must display in a position to allow a passenger inside the taxi to easily see and read it.
The fare charged cannot be more than the fare shown on the taximeter, and passengers must be offered a receipt.
'Dead Miles' exemption
The term 'Dead Miles' refers to the mileage done by the taxi driver to get to a job and/ or return to base from a job. For a taxi journey like this, the exemption allows the passenger to agree the fare rather than have it calculated by the taximeter.
However, the passenger and the operator have to agree, before the journey, that the distance to be travelled by the taxi, without the passenger, will be longer than the distance of the passenger’s journey. For instance, if the taxi driver needs to travel seven miles to collect you and your journey in the taxi is only for two miles then this exemption, with your agreement, can be used.
When these conditions have been met, the driver must record a variety of information in writing, such as:
- The fare agreed;
- The name of the person for whom the booking is made; and
- The date and time of the journey.
The details must be kept in the taxi for the duration of the journey, and a copy of the record should be offered to you as the passenger.
There are certain circumstances when a Class A or B driver is not required to use a taximeter:
- The taxi is being used to provide an executive service or a tour service (an executive service is where the taxi is used for carrying passengers in connection with a corporate, ceremonial or prestige booking); and
- The taxi is being used to provide a service for a health and social care body or the Education Authority.
Class C taxis can only be used on a pre-booked basis, booked at an operating centre and must carry details of their booking in the taxi during the journey.
They cannot be hailed and cannot be picked-up from taxi stands. Examples of Class C taxis are vehicles used for chauffeur services, weddings, funerals, and courtesy transport.
These taxis must not display a roof sign or advertise as a taxi service, but must display a sign in the front windscreen. A fare must be agreed with you before you travel and you cannot be charged more than that fare.
These are taxibuses, permitted to operate only on set routes when issued with a Road Service Licence, or a Department for Infrastructure permit. These taxis can also be pre-booked for executive and tour services.
Class D taxis do not need to display roof signs, but must display internal signs in the front windscreen and rear window.
Is your driver licensed?
Licensed taxi drivers should always wear a badge showing their licence number. The only time when this is not required is when the taxi is being used for a wedding or a funeral.
Do not use a taxi if the driver does not have a badge.
Always carry the telephone number or have downloaded the app of a taxi company when you go out.
Class A and B taxis must use taximeters during your journey in the taxi to make sure you are not charged more than the maximum fare.
The fare you are charged cannot be more than the fare stipulated on the taximeter.
If you think you may have left any of your property in a taxi you should contact the driver or the taxi operator. The operator has to keep a record of any lost property found in any taxi, including a description of the item and the date and place it was found.
If you are unhappy with the fare, quality of vehicle, driving or behaviour of the driver or any other issue, make your complaint to the driver, if you feel comfortable doing so, or the taxi operator. A licensed taxi operator has a duty to record any complaints, including keeping details of actions taken following a complaint.
Try to note as much information as possible, including:
- The taxi’s licence plate number;
- The driver’s licence number (normally shown on their badge); and
- Time, date and location of the incident.
If you cannot get the complaint resolved with the driver or taxi company, it can be reported to the Department for Infrastructure by emailing:
Alternatively, you can write to:
Taxi Licensing Section
Driver and Vehicle Agency (PTLD)
The Department for Infrastructure may investigate any complaints received, and licence holders will be expected to co-operate fully in investigations and to supply any information that might reasonably be requested.
Failure to co-operate with investigations may lead to suspension, cancellation or a restriction to their licence.