Private hire

You must take and pass all tests before you submit an application. Only complete applications will be accepted. Please see information below detailing all requirements.

You’ll need to complete a tax check when you renew your licence as a:
– driver of a taxi (hackney carriage)
– driver of a private hire vehicle (and dual licences)
– private hire vehicle operator

Please note the licensing team cannot answer any questions relating to Income Tax.

Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked and cannot be hailed in the street.

Driver licence

A driver’s licence is for the driver of a vehicle. You will also need a vehicle licence for the vehicle itself.

Before you apply:

  • You must sign up to the DBS update service when you apply for your next DBS certificate. Tell us the reference details it gives you. If you have mislaid the reference details, you will have to do a new DBS check.
  • You must sign up for the DVLA online check and provide a check code with your application. The code you give will only be available to us for 21 days.
  • You must pass the driver knowledge and location test, the practical test and the safeguarding training.

Driver’s licence fees

Apply for a driver’s licence

You must apply at least six weeks before your current licence expires. You cannot drive without a valid licence.

A complete application includes:

We need all this information before we can issue a licence. We cannot guarantee to issue your new licence if you do not allow us at least six weeks to process the application. You won’t be able to drive your vehicle until we issue the new licence.

Further information

Private hire driver’s licence conditions


You must complete the theory and location tests before submitting an application. Pay the £47 fee for the theory test.

Pre-test pack for private hire driver knowledge and location test

Practical tests can be booked at any of the following companies:

Ask for a saloon test.


You must undertake safeguarding training to drive a private hire vehicle.

Once you have completed your training, you need to submit a copy of your certificate when you apply.

You can book yourself on one of our training dates – the fee for this is £22.50. View possible training dates

Points on your licence

Generally, 3 points on your DVLA licence will not affect your application. If you have 6 points or more, we will refer the application to a senior office or a committee to decide.

Vehicle licence

A vehicle licence is for the vehicle. You will also need a driver’s licence for each driver of te vehicle.

For your first application, contact us and we will assign a plate number for your vehicle. You will need this before your vehicle’s test so you can add it to your roof sign.

A vehicle licence lasts 12 months – you must apply again at least six weeks before your current licence runs out. For a list of private hire vehicles please email your request to

Authorised Testing Centres:
Universal Commercial Vehicles
Universal Commercial Vehicles
5 Deacon Way, Reading RG30 6AZ
0118 942 6666


21-23 Boulton Rd, Reading RG2 0NH,
United Kingdom
+44 118 931 1345

Vehicle testing

You must arrange a test for your vehicle at an authorised test facility. You can then complete an online vehicle licence form.

Apply for a vehicle licence

We only licence certain vehicles. You should check your vehicle meets these vehicle specifications.

Vehicle licence fees

When to have your vehicle tested

Age of vehicle Frequency of MOT Frequency of compliance test
Under 3 years Not required Once a year
3 to 5 years Once a year Once a year
5 years and over Twice a year Twice a year
Operator licence

Private hire vehicle operator conditions

The application period can take over 12 weeks. Once you have made your application there will be a consultation period. After that your application will go to the Licensing Committee.

The licence lasts for one year. You must apply again at least six weeks before your licence runs out.

Apply for operator licence

Existing private hire operators who want to start running school transport vehicles

If you licence needs renewing – you can state you would like to run school transport vehicles in the application form.

If your licence does not need renewing – you can contact us to apply to increase the number of vehicles you operate.

Private hire operator – grant of licence fees

Pre-application service

We offer support services for customers applying for a licence for the first time.

We offer two services:

  • Pre-application (application form and documents only)
    This costs £98.
    We will give application advice and ensure the application is complete.
  • Pre-application and operator’s site visit/vehicle inspection (application form, documents and 1 hour visit)
    This costs £157.
    This includes:
    • the work covered in the basic pre-application service
    • one hour operator’s site visit and vehicle inspection. If the inspection will take longer than one hour, it will cost a further £98.
Disabled access

All hackney carriage vehicles should be able and willing to carry disabled passengers. The driver of the vehicle has certain legal responsibilities when doing so.

  • To allow the passenger to travel while in the wheelchair and not make any extra charge
  • To make any necessary steps to make sure the passenger’s journey is safe and comfortable
  • To give the passenger any necessary and reasonable mobility help – this includes:
    • helping them into and out of the vehicle
    • if they want to stay in the wheelchair for the journey allow them to get into and out of the vehicle in the wheelchair
    • load their luggage into and out of the vehicle
    • if they do not want to travel in the wheelchair for the journey, load the wheelchair into and out of the vehicle

You have a duty to carry guide dogs, hearing dogs and other prescribed helper dogs. You cannot charge extra for carrying the dog.

You can apply for exemption to this rule if you can show you have a medical condition caused by exposure to dogs. Any driver who we have not granted an exemption to and who refuses to carry such a dog is guilty of a criminal offence.

Refused application

If we refuse or revoke your licence you have a right to appeal within 21 days of the decision We cannot offer guidance on making an appeal. You should seek independent legal advice.

Last updated on 18/06/2024