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Apply for a private hire operator's licence

Private hire operator's licences are required by individuals or firms taking bookings for the hire of private hire vehicles.

Rules for operators

The law requires that:

  • a private hire operator must be licensed by the same authority which licenses the private hire vehicles and private hire drivers working within their control

  • a vehicle licensed by one authority can only be driven by a driver licensed by that same authority

  • both vehicle and driver must be subject to the control of an operator licensed by the same authority.

Section 56(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 makes it clear that bookings for the services of licensed vehicles are the responsibility of the licensed operator which accepted the booking, even if they are sub-contracted to another operator.

Operators are allowed to accept a booking and sub-contract it to another operator, wherever they are based, but the liability for providing the service remains with the original operator. In this case, the second operator, the vehicle fulfilling that booking and the driver of that vehicle, must all be licensed by the same (second) authority.

Private hire vehicles may only be pre-booked, and may not be hailed in the street or stand and ply for hire. 

We do not regulate fares for private hire vehicles, these must be agreed between passenger and driver before a journey starts. Such vehicles may only be driven by the holder of a private hire driver's licence issued by us.

      Before you apply

      To apply for a private hire operator's licence, you must be able to show:

      • you do not have a conviction or caution for a relevant criminal offence
      • you have obtained appropriate planning permission or a certificate of lawful use for your operating base. Please contact the relevant planning authority.
      • if your operating base is open to the public, you must show a valid certificate of public liability insurance for the premises
      • the name of your operating business is not the same (or similar) to a private hire business already licensed by us
      • the name of your business does not include any reference to 'taxis' or 'cabs'.

      If the operating base is not located in Guildford Borough:

      • it cannot be open to the public unless you hold an operator's licence with the local authority in which the premises is located
      • you must be able to produce any operating records in an electronic format.

      Apply for a licence

      To apply for a private hire operator's licence, follow these steps:

      • make sure you can meet the requirements listed above
      • complete the  icon Private hire operator licence application form [29.48KB]
      • pay the fee, payable by debit or credit card. (See our Licensing fees page)
      • provide photographic identification for each applicant. We will only accept a passport or DVLA driver's licence
      • provide a basic DBS check certificate (or Disclosure Scotland basic disclosure) issued within the last three months for each applicant, unless the applicant is already a driver licensed by us
      • provide a list of vehicles and drivers that you will be operating
      • proof of right to live and work in the UK for each person named on the application, such as passport, residence permit.

      Data protection

      Please note that as the licensing authority, we 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.