We undertake licensing of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators within the Borough.
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:
All new applicants must contact our Administration Team in advance to obtain a driver pack. This pack must be taken away and completed. Once completed an appointment must be made in order to return the paperwork. Please contact us on either 01329 824399 or email@example.com. The driver pack will contain the following documents:
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. DBS checks are undertaken every three years in line with DBS guidance and medicals every five years from the ages of 45 to 65 and annually after that.
The following applies for all Taxi drivers, Private Hire Drivers and Operators.
HMRC is introducing a simple tax check from 4 April 2022 that will take place when people renew their licences to drive taxis, drive and operate private hire vehicles. It will be supported by a new digital service that HMRC is developing.
This service has been created so that everyone pays the tax they should, creating a level playing field for the majority of people that comply. HMRC is working with industry bodies to make this as straightforward as possible. The check should take a few minutes every few years and confirm that someone is correctly registered for tax.
You will need to complete a tax check when you apply or renew your licence as a:
You will be able to complete this tax check on GOV.UK, through your Government Gateway account. You will only need to answer a few questions to tell HMRC how you pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade. If you do not already have a Government Gateway account, you can sign up on GOV.UK.
The tax check should only take a few minutes. There'll be guidance on GOV.UK and anyone who needs extra support will be able to complete the tax check by phone through HMRC's customer helpline.
When you've completed the tax check, you'll get a code. You must give this code to your licensing body. The licensing body cannot proceed with your licence application or renewal until the tax check is completed and they've received the code.
Your licensing body will only receive confirmation from HMRC that you've completed the tax check, they will not have access to information about your tax affairs.
If you've not registered to pay tax on earnings from your licensed trade, please go to GOV.UK to check if you need to register as soon as possible
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.
On initial application, hackney carriage and private hire vehicles must be no older than 5 years old from the date of first registration. Transfer vehicles must be newer than the vehcile they are replacing, as well as being under 5 years old.
The application process involves production of the following:
Please read the technical specifications (below) before purchasing a vehicle. If you are unsure if it meets the requirements, please contact our licensing team.
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: