In order to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle in the UK, you must have the appropriate licence. The requirements and ways to apply vary depending on whether you live in London or outside London. Below is a brief overview of some of the general requirements.
In order to apply for a taxi or private hire licence you must meet the following criteria –
- You must be able to work legally in the UK and be able to provide the relevant documents to show this
- You must have had a full UK, Northern Ireland or EU driving licence for a period of no less than 12 months
- You must be considered a ‘fit and proper person’. To determine this, your local council may carry out a criminal records check using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
Depending on the council where you’re applying for a licence, you may also need to pass –
- A ‘knowledge’ test – Some councils may require you to take a ‘knowledge’ test. Knowledge tests are most commonly associated with London taxi drivers since every London taxi driver must pass a test showing they have a comprehensive understanding of the roads and landmarks in the city. Knowledge tests in other cities are unlikely to be as challenging since London is the largest city in the UK by far but some councils still like to know that their drivers have a good understanding of the local area before awarding a licence.
- A medical examination - Some councils will also require you to pass a medical. How comprehensive the medical is will vary but it’s usually to show that you a free of any serious health concerns that might impair your ability to drive and make it unsafe for you and your passengers.
- An additional driving test - Although you must hold a full driving licence to apply to become a taxi driver, some councils will want you to demonstrate your driving competency with a further test.
Of course once you obtain your licence you’ll also need to get the right type of insurance to work legally - whether it be private hire taxi insurance or public hire insurance cover. The type or cover you need will depend on the type of taxi you drive. For example Uber drivers insurance is private hire insurance whilst black cab drivers will need to get a public hire policy.
Applying for a licence
If you’re outside of London then you need to apply for a licence through your local council
If you’re in London then you need to apply for a taxi or private hire licence through Transport for London. Click here for a detailed overview of all the eligibility requirements and fees for becoming licensed in London.
For detailed information on taxi and private hire licencing, click here.