Taxicabs also called Hackney carriages are on the attractions in England. There are more than 50 000 licensed taxis in Great Britain, mainly in urban areas; London has some 21 000. In London and a number of other cities taxis must be purpose-built to conform to very strict requirements and drivers must have passed a test of their knowledge of the area. Private hire vehicles with drivers may be booked only through the operator and not hired on the street; in most areas outside London private hire vehicles are licensed.
The transport Act 1985 provided arrangements for the operation of taxis and private hire vehicles which increased their role in public transport. Restrictions by local authorities on granting taxi licenses were relaxed so that a license can be refused only if a local authority is satisfied that there is no unfulfilled demand for taxis in the area. Taxi operators are able to run regular local services and can tender in competition with bus operators for services subsidized by local authorities. To do this, they may apply for a special “restricted” bus operator’s license, allowing them to run local services without having to obtain a full bus operator’s license. Taxis and licensed private hire vehicles may also offer shared rides to passengers paying separate fares.