A private hire vehicle must be pre-booked through a licensed Private Hire Operator office before a member of the public can use it for a journey. These vehicles may not ply for hire from a rank or be flagged down in the street. They do not meet the legal definition of a 'taxi' and so cannot use the exemption given to taxis in traffic regulation orders. This means they are not permitted to drive in bus lanes.
The relevant Guidance Notes and Application Form can be downloaded below.