We undertake licensing of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators within the Borough.
Please be aware we are currently not accepting new driver applications due to the public not having access to the Offices. New drivers will also be unable to obtain a medical examination, a taxi driving test or the knowledge test. This is due to COVID-19 restrictions.
There are three types of drivers - a private hire driver is a licensed driver who can drive private hire vehicles only, a hackney carriage driver is a licensed driver who can drive hackney carriage vehicles only and a dual driver is a licensed driver who can drive both types of vehicles.
There are a number of elements to the application process:
If you are an applicant, you should contact our licensing team so that we can help you through the application process.
The Pre Application Questionnaire is the first document which needs to be fully completed and returned to the Council. This form is available from the Council and must be collected in person by the Applicant.
All applicants must undergo an enhanced DBS check to ensure you do not have any convictions which would prevent you from becoming a taxi driver. You must complete a DBS check form. Once you have done this, you should bring it to our licensing team as soon as you can. You will need to bring specific types of identification (see DBS guidance notes) and the fee, which is non-refundable. This is then sent to the DBS. It can sometimes take up to three months for the report to come back from the Bureau but usually they are returned with four to six weeks. You will receive a copy of the report, however the licensing team no longer receive a copy from the DBS, therefore you will need to present your returned certificate to the Licensing Team as soon as possible. We will not accept DBS checks from any other registered body except Hampshire County Council and only if it is less than six months old. If you have a relevant offence on your DBS record, you will need to attend a panel hearing to decide if you can become a licensed driver within the Borough. You can only attend the licensing panel once your application is complete. The licence application fees paid to the Council are refundable if your application is refused by the licensing panel. If you have any penalty points on your driving licence for speeding, our director of regulatory and democratic services has the delegated authority to approve applications.
You must make an appointment to see your GP or any doctor in the same surgery who has access to all your notes. Once your doctor has carried out your medical, you should return the form to us. We will send it to our consultants to be checked to ensure you reach the DVLA Group II standard. This can take up to two weeks to be returned to us. There is a fee which is non-refundable. We recommend you submit your completed application form to us once the CRB and medical have been returned to us by the appropriate agencies. Your application form must be signed by you and your proposed employer. You must present your driving licence (paper version) and the completed IDS D796 form along with this form. The cost can differ at this stage depending on what type of badge you wish to hold.
You will be required to take a driving test as part of your application to ensure you are a safe driver. This can be done through the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) or The Blue Lamp Trust. Once you have passed the test, you must present the certificate to us at the Civic Offices. These fees are not refundable and may vary.
All applicants (private hire, hackney carriage and dual) must sit a knowledge test to show you know the Borough and can speak and understand a good level of English. A non-refundable fee is payable in advance of the multiple choice, computer based test.
If you fail the knowledge test after three attempts, you will be withdrawn from the application process and will not be able to re-apply for one year (from the last test date), during which you will need to start the application process again. If your application is refused by the Licensing Panel the cost of one knowledge test can be refunded.
You will be required to bring proof of payment and your driving licence to the test.
If a driver decides to change the badge they hold, i.e. Upgrade from a hackney to a dual, they will be required to sit the relevant knowledge test, and pay the relevant fee.
Each test contains the following sets of questions:
Once you have successfully completed the steps above, you will be required to book an appointment with a licensing officer to arrange for your photograph to be taken. You will then receive your badge and paper licence/conditions. This badge will run annually from the end of the month it was obtained. It allows you as a licensed driver to drive licensed vehicles, depending on what type of badge you hold.
We will contact you about your renewal arrangements before your licence expires. Renewals involve an application and a fee. CRB checks are undertaken every three years in line with CRB guidance and medicals every five years from the ages of 45 to 65 and annually after that.
Please be aware that from 2 July 2018, diesel vehicles at first licensing and transfer, must have been registered after the 1st September 2015 as a Euro 6 vehicle, or be an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) or at least a Euro 5 or 6 hybrid vehicle. There is no change to petrol vehicles. Proof of emission standard can be obtained from the manufacturer and will be required for checking.
There are two types of licensed vehicle. A private hire vehicle is a vehicle that can carry passengers for hire or reward, but only by being pre-booked. It is not allowed to stand or ply for hire on the taxi ranks or in the streets of the Borough. If you are proposing to run a business for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for private hire vehicle(s) in the Borough, you must hold a private hire operator's licence that we have issued to you. A hackney carriage is a vehicle that can stand on the taxi ranks or ply for hire in the streets of the Borough.
The application process involves production of the following:
Before buying a vehicle, you are advised to contact our licensing team to obtain an application pack and ensure a vehicle meets the specifications we set down. They are:
With a gradually easing of coronavirus restrictions underway in England, government has published updated guidance for those operating transport services which is relevant to all taxi and PHV licensees and specific guidance for those using taxi and private hire services.
The DfT has also published a set of taxi and private hire Q & A's which includes questions around the use of PPE and protective screens.
Once you have got to this stage and your vehicle has been inspected (with a meter run in the case of a hackney carriage) we will be in a position to issue your licence. Vehicle licences are renewed annually, on the anniversary off issue, and paperwork will be issued at least month before so that you can do this.
If you are proposing to run a business for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for private hire vehicle(s) in the Borough, you must hold a private hire operator's licence issued to you by us. This may be in addition to a private hire drivers licence if you are also a driver.
If you wish to apply to be a private hire operator, please contact our licensing team for an application pack. The application requirements are: