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Apply for or renew a private hire vehicle licence

Private hire vehicles (PHVs) may only be pre-booked in advance through a licensed operator. Licensed PHVs are identified by signs on the side of vehicle which give details of their licence number and a red licence plate on the rear. Vehicles must not be the same colour as a Hackney Carriage, or have a roof sign. Fares are not regulated and should be agreed at the time of booking. A taximeter may be used, if one is available.

Use our Icon for pdf private hire vehicle application form [249.23KB] to renew your licence, change the vehicle on your licence or to licence a new vehicle. Use our Icon for pdf transfer a vehicle licence application form [228.13KB] to transfer a licence from one proprietor to another.

Licences for PHVs will only be granted to vehicles that meet the Icon for pdf vehicle specification guidance [337.95KB].

    Applying for a licence

    To apply for a private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf application form [249.23KB]

    • correct licence fee, payable by credit or debit card

    • valid certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and reward and third party risks

    • vehicle registration document V5 (necessary to prove the details of the vehicle) or new owner tear off slip

    • proof of ownership (Bill of Sale)

    • hire purchase agreement (if your vehicle is on hire purchase)

    • MOT test certificate (required when three years old)

    • HPI report (for vehicles that are pre-owned)

    • European whole vehicle type approval certificate

    • mechanical test certificate passed within the last month. You can book your vehicle in online at Woking Road Depot (see our MOT testing page)

    • certificate showing the meter (if fitted) has been calibrated and sealed.

    Renewing a licence

    To renew your private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf renewal application form [249.23KB]

    • correct fee, payable by credit or debit card

    • certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and reward and third party risks, valid for the date the licence is due to start

    • vehicle registration document V5

    • MOT test certificate (required when three years old) valid for the date the licence is due to commence

    • mechanical test certificate, passed within the last month.

    Once the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle, it may only be driven by a driver holding either a private hire driver's licence or a dual hackney carriage/private hire driver's licence issued by the council, even when the vehicle is off duty. 

    The vehicle must also maintain its appearance as a private hire vehicle at all times, including displaying any signage and plate.

    Plate exemption

    In order to be considered for plate exemption, the work you carry out must be exclusively or primarily chauffeured private hire work. This means that you provide the chauffeur and vehicle to a business or person, and the display of a licence plate may affect the dignity or security of the persons you are carrying.

    To apply for plate exemption, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf private hire vehicle plate exemption application form [220.09KB]
    • a letter from you detailing why you should be exempt
    • letters from clients demonstrating the vehicle is required for chauffeured work and why the display of a plate (and door signs) would be detrimental to the client
    • three months of booking records for all operators the driver works for, demonstrating that the vehicle is primarily used for chauffeured work (for new applications, three months of booking records must be provided after the plate exemption has been given).
    • invoices for each named client who has supplied a letter in support of your application for the same period as the booking records (for new applications, three months of booking records must be provided after the plate exemption has been given

    It is expected that at least 80% of the booking records supplied should be for the named clients who have supplied letters, as supported by the invoices supplied.

    The booking records must comply with the booking records of the associated operator licence, namely:

    Bookings:

    Prior to each journey, the operator shall record the following information:

    1. a) date and time and location of pick-up
    2. b) name of passenger
    3. c) contact details of passenger
    4. d) the destination
    5. e) time at which the booking was made
    6. f) time at which the booking was allocated to the driver
    7. g) plate number and badge number of the vehicle and driver undertaking the booking
    8. h) price quoted for the booking
    9. i) time that the booking was completed

    It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the records you supply are clear, legible, and include all of the above information. Failure to do so will result in your application being delayed or refused.

    Please note that if your request is granted, you are required to carry the vehicle plate and letter of dispensation in the vehicle at all times. The internal plate must be displayed in the windscreen on the passenger side at all times.

    Data protection

    Please note that the licensing authority may be required by law to disclose to the appropriate authorities, from time to time, further information relating to applications and licences for the purposes of law enforcement and the prevention of fraud.

    What you need to know

    • private hire vehicles may only be booked in advance
    • they are identified by signs on the side of the vehicle, giving details of their licence number, and a red licence plate on the rear
    • vehicles must not be the same colour as a Hackney Carriage, or have a roof sign
    • fares should be agreed at the time of booking
    • a taximeter may be used
    • CCTV in licensed vehicles (from April 2023)
    • emissions standards for licensed vehicles
    • a suitability test for vehicle proprietors
    • a transparent policy on executive hires

    Licences for PHVs will only be granted to vehicles that meet the requirements. Please read our Icon for pdf updated taxi policy 2021 [1.46MB] before starting your application.

    Once the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle, it may only be driven by a driver holding either a private hire drivers licence or a dual Hackney Carriage/private hire driver's licence issued by the council, even when the vehicle is off duty. 

    The vehicle must also maintain its appearance as a private hire vehicle, including displaying any signage and plate.

    We offer pre-application advice on this licence.

    Fees

    Private Hire Vehicles 

    Fee for 2020/21

    Private Hire Vehicle (new/renew)

    £172.62

    Private Hire Vehicle Change

    £32.04

    Private Hire temporary vehicle (3 months)

    £74.22

    Replacement Vehicle Licence Plates

    £22.32

    Private Hire Vehicle signs (pair)

    £21.93

    Vehicle Test

    £58.00

    Plate exemption

    In order to be considered for plate exemption, the work you carry out must be exclusively or primarily chauffeured private hire work. This means that you provide the chauffeur and vehicle to a business or person, and the display of a licence plate may affect the security of the person you are carrying.

    To apply for plate exemption, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf private hire vehicle plate exemption application form [220.09KB]
    • a letter from you explaining why you should be exempt
    • letters from clients showing the vehicle is required for chauffeured work and why the display of a plate would be a risk to the client
    • three months of booking records for all operators the driver works for, showing that the vehicle is used for chauffeured work 
    • invoices for each named client who has given a letter in support of your application 

    It is expected that 80% of the booking records supplied should be for the named clients who have supplied letters.

    Bookings

    The booking records should show:

    • date and time and location of pick-up
    • name of passenger
    • contact details of passenger
    • the destination
    • time the booking was made
    • time the booking was given to the driver
    • plate number and badge number of the vehicle and driver attending the booking
    • price for the booking
    • time the booking was completed

    It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the records you supply are clear and include all of the above information. Failure to do so will result in your application being delayed or refused.

    Please note that if your request is granted, you are required to carry the vehicle plate and letter of exemption in the vehicle at all times. The internal plate must be displayed in the windscreen on the passenger side at all times.

    Apply for a private hire vehicle licence

    To apply for a private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf application form [249.23KB]
    • the correct fee payable by credit or debit card
    • certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and third party risks
    • vehicle registration document V5 or new owner tear off slip
    • proof of ownership of the vehicle
    • hire purchase agreement (if your vehicle is on hire purchase)
    • MOT test certificate (required when 12 months old)
    • HPI report (for pre-owned vehicles)
    • European whole vehicle type approval certificate
    • mechanical test certificate passed within the last month. You can book your vehicle in online at Woking Road Depot (see our MOT testing page)
    • certificate showing the meter has been calibrated and sealed

    Use our Icon for pdf transfer a vehicle licence application form [228.13KB] to transfer a licence from one proprietor to another.

    Renew a private hire vehicle licence

    To renew your private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed Icon for pdf renewal application form [249.23KB]
    • the correct fee payable by credit or debit card
    • a certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and third party risks, valid for the date the licence is due to begin
    • vehicle registration document V5
    • MOT test certificate (required when 12 months old) valid for the date the licence is due to commence
    • mechanical test certificate, passed within the last month

     

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