Taxi licensing

Changes are being made by HMRC for taxi, private hire and private hire operator licence applications from April 2022.

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. Please visit the GOV.UK website or contact HMRC for further information.

As of 1st April 2022, we will no longer accept any driver application that does not have ALL of the paperwork and pass certificates. This means that you should take and pass all of the tests before you submit an application, so you are able to include the certificates at the same time.

Safeguarding certificates

Knowledge & Location test certificate

Medical report forms confirming your fitness to drive (guidance)

• Relevant practical test certificates.
http://www.iamroadsmart.com/
https://www.bluelamptrust.org.uk/
https://www.advancedmotoring.co.uk/taxi-test
http://www.greenpenny.co.uk/

DVLA online check code

On receipt of the above, we will email you a link for providing your information for the DBS (police check). Once we are in receipt of your completed satisfactory DBS certificate, you will receive an appointment for your new driver interview. Your licence and badges will be sent to you shortly after.

On receipt of your DBS certificate, you will need to contact the DBS to sign up for their online update service. This will mean you only pay them £13 per year (rather than the current £52.40) and will also mean your renewal can be processed faster.

From 1 April 2022, we will no longer accept any driver application that does not have all the paperwork and pass certificates. This means that you should take and pass all of the tests before you submit your application.

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Covid-19

Government guidance on coronavirus and taxis

For the latest guidance and information from the Department of Transport, please look at driving and transport information on Gov.uk.

Vehicle, driver and operator licences must now be applied for using the online system only.

Please send all correspondence to licensing@reading.gov.uk and it will be dealt with as soon as possible. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days, please forward your email to leigh.ingram@reading.gov.uk showing the date it was first sent and it will be reviewed.

We are now accepting new driver licence applications again. Driving test dates have been booked and the safeguarding training is available to book. To apply, please go to the How to Apply section.

You can start revising for your driver knowledge and location test as soon as you like and can download the revision guidance.

Pre-application consultation service

We now offer a consultation service for customers who want to apply for a  private hire/hackney carriage or school transport licences, for the first time.

We offer two services:

  1. Pre-application (application form and documents only) for £98 – we will give application advice and ensure all the steps necessary for the application are completed.
  2. Pre-application and operators site visit/vehicle inspection (application form, documents and 1 hour visit) for £157 – the above service along with a one hour operators site visit/vehicle inspection. If you think the site visit will be longer than one hour a further £98 per hour will be payable.

Apply for pre-application consultation service

Taxis

If you want to drive a taxi, executive private hire vehicle or school bus, both driver and vehicle need to hold a valid licence.

You should complete a corporate complaint form if you want to make a complaint about a taxi or school transport vehicle – include as much detail about the vehicle as you can.

Deferred payments

Make your deferred taxi licence payment

Vehicle licences

If this is your first application, you should contact the licensing team and we will allocate a plate number for your vehicle. This will be required before your vehicle is tested because it should be added to your roof sign.

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

We can only licence certain vehicles so you should check your vehicle meets vehicle specifications.

A vehicle licence lasts 12 months – you must reapply at least six weeks before your current licence runs out.

We limit the number of Hackney Carriage licences in the borough and we are currently at full capacity. For a current list of Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicles please email your request to licensing@reading.gov.uk.

Testing

Booking the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) test

You will need to book a VOSA vehicle test which is in two parts. One part
involves an MOT test and the second part involves an RBC compliance test.
The frequency of this test depends on the age of your vehicle.

When to have the vehicle tested

Age of vehicleFrequency of MOTFrequency of compliance test
Up to 2 yearsNot requiredOnce a year
3 – 5 yearsOnce a yearOnce a year
5 years and overTwice a yearTwice a year

You book and pay for the vehicle test directly with the test centre.

You pay when you book, so have your payment details ready when you ring to
book the vehicle test.

If your vehicle requires only an RBC compliance test, the council offers this
part of the test at a fee of £25. Please contact the Licensing Section to arrange an RBC compliance test only.

Book and pass the vehicle test before you submit your application form and
supporting documents online. This must be be done between 2-4 weeks
before the licence expires, but no sooner than 4 weeks or the test may need
to be done again.

Ensure that you enter the date and time of the test when applying for the licence so we can check the records received from the test centre’s.

Test centres

There are two test centre’s (also known as: Authorised Test Facilities) to choose from:

  • Universal Commercial Vehicles Ltd, 5 Deacon Way, Tilehurst, Reading RG30 6AZ Telephone: 0118 942 6666
  • Autocraft, 21-23 Boulton Road , Reading RG2 0NH Telephone:0118 9311 345 Telephone: 0118 942 6666

The test

Arrive on time – if you arrive late:

  • the vehicle will not be tested
  • the test fee will not be refunded
  • you will have to arrange and pay for another test

After the test

The test centre tell us if the vehicle has passed or not – you do not have to
contact us.

If your vehicle has passed and your application is complete, your licence will
be issued via email within 5 working days and your plate will be sent to you
by our Direct Fulfilment supplier, MOGO via Royal Mail, within the same
amount of time. If you do NOT receive your plate within 10 working days,
please email licensing@reading.gov.uk so that we can investigate the reason.

If the vehicle fails the test

We cannot issue the licence and plate. You will have to arrange for the vehicle to be repaired and re-tested before submitting your application and supporting documentation.

Reporting an accident or defect

If your licensed vehicle is involved in an accident which affects the safety, performance or appearance of the vehicle, you must report it to us within 72 hours.

If your vehicle has a mechanical fault that means you will need to rent a temporary vehicle, you have to report it to us.

Report an accident or defect

Temporary replacement vehicle companies

To licence a vehicle for temporary use whilst your client’s vehicle is off the road due to an accident or mechanical fault. You simply follow the application process as above for licensing a vehicle. You will also need to complete the temporary request form below so we can match the temporary vehicle licence application with the vehicle it is replacing.

Temporary replacement vehicle request

Before we can release a temporary licence the client must report an accident or defect.

Once the rental period is over you must surrender the temporary vehicle plate to the Council Offices by post or by simply posting it through the letter box at the front of the Civic Offices in Bridge Street, Reading. A refund will then be arranged for the remaining licence period (max 6 months) on the temporary replacement vehicle licence.

The client’s vehicle must be inspected and have any suspension lifted before they can use their vehicle as a Hackney carriage, private hire or school transport vehicle. The inspection can be arranged by emailing photos of the damage repair or a garage report to licensing@reading.gov.uk.

Disabled access vehicles and driver responsibilities (Equalities Act 2010)

Hackney carriage vehicles – all are wheelchair accessible

Private hire wheelchair accessible vehicles

Driver responsibilities under Section 165 of the Act

  • Duties of drivers whilst driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle:
  • to carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so;
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
  • to take such steps as are necessary to ensure the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
  • and to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required

Mobility assistance is defined as:

  • assistance to enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle in the wheelchair

Drivers shall not charge extra for transporting a wheelchair passenger.

Drivers shall not start the meter until the wheelchair passenger is fully loaded and safely strapped in.

Drivers shall not leave the meter running whilst unloading wheelchair passengers.

We require drivers who wish to be exempt from carrying wheelchair passengers on medical grounds to contact the Licensing Section by email: licensing@reading.gov.uk.

Driver’s licence

There have been changes to the way private hire, hackney carriage and school transport driver’s licence renewal applications are processed, as approved by the Licensing Committee on 11 April 2018.

These changes are as follows:

  1. Complete applications must be submitted at least 6 weeks before expiry of current licence but not sooner than 10 weeks prior to the expiry date.
  2. Drivers must sign up to the DBS update service when applying for their next DBS certificate.
  3. Drivers must sign up for the DVLA online check and provide a check code with their application – the code you provide will only be available to us for 21 days.

These changes mean that ‘entitlement to drive’ letters are no longer issued. Complete applications received 6 weeks before licence expiry will be issued when the licence expires even if DBS checks are outstanding.

If you do not submit a complete application six weeks or more before the licence expires there is no guarantee your licence will be issued in time and you will be unable to drive a hackney carriage, private hire or school transport vehicle, until the licence is renewed.

The following should be submitted with your application at least six weeks before expiry otherwise the application will be returned:

•    A completed application form
•    The correct licence fee + DBS fee
•    All relevant supporting documents

Please read the criminal convictions’ policy.

From 6 April 2022 the online Right to Work Checking Service provided by the Home Office is the way applicants must show they have a right to work in the UK. You must include your 9 digit ‘share code’ within your application so that we can access the information. If you don’t then we cannot accept your application. By giving us your share code, you authorise us to view the data and use it to verify your right to work status within the UK.

Notice from DBS

As of 31 May 2021, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will be implementing a change to the enhanced DBS check application process. The change will mean that DBS is no longer able to amend an applicant’s personal information on the application form, once it has been submitted.

This means that there will be a cost to resubmitting a DBS check request.

Further information on this change on the Gov.uk website.

How to apply

You must complete an online driver’s licence application form.

There are different conditions according to which type of driver’s licence you are applying for:

Hackney carriage driver conditions

Private hire driver conditions

School transport driver conditions

You will need to:

Driver Knowledge and Location Test

Pre-test pack for Hackney carriage drivers

Pre-test pack for private hire drivers

Practical Test

You can now book a practical test with any of the following companies:

IAM RoadSmart

Blue Lamp Trust

Diamond Advanced Motorists

Green Penny

We can suspend or revoke your licence, or refer you to the Licensing Applications Committee if you breach legislation or the licence conditions.

Safeguarding

It is now compulsory to undertake the safeguarding training. This must to be done as part of every, private hire, hackney carriage and school transport vehicle driver’s licence application process, whether they are a grant or renewal.

It is then your responsibility to submit a copy of the certificate along with your driver’s renewal application.

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

Due to Covid-19 and the hardship it has caused some people, the council is willing to work with anyone suffering severe financial difficulties – if required please email licensing@reading.gov.uk.

Vehicle operator’s licence

You must complete an vehicle operator’s licence application form if you want to run a taxi or school transport company.

You can find more in our private hire vehicle operator conditions and school transport operator conditions. Your drivers and vehicles must also be licensed.

There will be a consultation period before your application goes to the Licensing Committee. The process can take over 12 weeks.
You must not operate until you have received your licence.

The licence lasts for one year and you must reapply at least six weeks before your licence runs out.

If you are an existing private hire operator who wants to start running school transport vehicles and:

  • your licence needs renewing
  • your licence doesn’t need renewing – contact us to apply to increase the number of vehicles you operate. (Note 14 gives you our contact details)
Private Hire Operator – grant 1 year 5 years
Each additional applicant £245 £245
1 – 3 vehicles £806 £2,125
4 – 10 vehicles £1,292 £3,150
11 – 40 vehicles £2,572 £8,020
41 – 100 vehicles £4,314 £15,241
101 + vehicles £5,181 £18,851
Private Hire Operator – renewal    
Each additional applicant £185 £185
1 -3 vehicles £561 £2,065
4 – 10 vehicles £892 £3,092
11 – 40 vehicles £1,977 £7,917
41 – 100 vehicles £3,583 £15,191
100 + vehicles £4,333 £18,730
School transport operator  – grant    
Each additional applicant £245 £245
1 – 3 vehicles £445 £1,245
4 – 10 vehicles £836 £2,324
11 – 40 vehicles £1,727 £4,955
41 – 100 vehicles £2,251 £6.763
100 + vehicles £3,141 £10,351
School transport operator  – renewal    
Each additional applicant £145 £145
1 – 3 vehicles £345 £1,145
4 – 10 vehicles £570 £2,058
11 – 40 vehicles £1,132 £4,620
41 – 100 vehicles £1,153 £6,333
100 + vehicles £2,290 £9,890

Miscellaneous payments

If you need to make part payments, for example if you change your vehicle mid-licence, you can use the miscellaneous licensing payment form.

Refund policy

  • If you withdraw or are refused your application before any process has been carried out, we will levy a fee of 15% or £70.00 whichever is greater.
  • If you withdraw or are refused your application after the process has started, we will levy a fee of 30% or £140.00 whichever is greater.
  • If your application progresses to a Committee hearing, but is unsuccessful we will levy a fee of 50% or £280.00 whichever is greater.
  • 3 year driver licences surrendered before expiry will attract a pro rata refund based on whole months left to run, to a maximum of the cost of the licence minus £140
  • Charges made in accordance with the refund policy will be subject to an overall maximum of £500
  • All other refunds, will incur a £33 administration charge from the total refund amount unless you choose to hold the full credit against your record.