If you are giving serious consideration to the idea of working for a private hire taxi firm, then it is important to be aware that it isn’t really as straightforward as you might think. Driving a taxi is simply not quite the way to a guaranteed easy life that you might think it is. True it has its rewards, but it also has its downsides. If you are a people person, then this might be a great option for you but if the idea of chatting to lots of random people isn’t quite your cup of tea then think carefully before you make your decisions.
If you have questions then it is a good idea to ask them before you start. Not only will this help to get information straight in your mind but it will also help with your decision.

Do I need a special license?

Yes, in order to drive a taxi or a private hire vehicle you will need a special licence. Depending on where you will be operating, inside London or outside, there are different ways in which you can apply. The information you need on both types of licence can be found on the gov.uk website.

Will my motor insurance cover me?

No, your normal motor insurance policy will not cover you. You will need to arrange private hire insurance, this will cover you for a variety of different things that a standard insurance policy will not cover you for. There are plenty of different companies out there that specialise in this type of insurance which is often referred to as PCO insurance, so it is worth shopping around to find the right policy for you.

Can my spouse / partner drive my private hire car?

No, the only person who is allowed to drive your private hire vehicle is the person who holds the appropriate local authority licence for the vehicle to be driven as a private hire. Regardless of the circumstances, nobody else may drive the vehicle.

Will my private hire vehicle always be classed as one?

Once a private hire vehicle has been licensed by the appropriate council, it will always be a private hire vehicle until such time as the licence expires. At this point you may choose to renew the licence or not depending on your circumstances. In order to operates as a private hire vehicle, you are not only required to have this licence in place but also to be booked through an operator who is licensed for private hire vehicles. This can be over the internet or via a telephone system.

How much does a private licence cost?

The price of a private licence varies depending on a number of factors. The prices are set by the local authority and may vary from one authority to the next. They are set in bands depending on the age of the car you are intending to use, the older the car the more that a license will cost.

How long does a licence last?

The licence for an operator of private hire vehicles lasts for a maximum of 5 years, the licence for a driver up to 3 years and the vehicle licence just 1 year. All three licences need to be issued by the same authority.
A good private hire firm will be able to help you with the licence details to ensure that you have all the relevant paperwork in place to secure a job with them.