Taxi licensing

Government guidance on coronavirus and taxis

Covid-19

The licensing office is now closed. All correspondence can only be received by email to licensing@reading.gov.uk. This is being monitored and all correspondence will be dealt with as soon as is possible.

For the latest guidance and information from the Department for Transport, please look under ‘Driving and transport in the UK’ on Gov.uk.

If you require guidance on the financial support available to businesses due to Covid 19 restrictions you can find them on the Additional Restrictions Grant page.

Taxi drivers can download and print our poster for face coverings in taxis. 

Please note:

We are not accepting any new driver licence applications until further notice.
Any renewal applications will need to be applied for online.

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 us 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.

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

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

The system of issuing temporary replacement vehicle plates has changed.

You must follow the process described above for licensing a vehicle for temporary use whilst another vehicle is off the road due to an accident or mechanical fault.

Vehicle plates are no longer produced or held by Reading Borough council. This means the temporary plate you apply for may take longer to reach you than previously. Plates will now be sent to the licence applicant via post rather that made available at the Civic Offices for collection by the driver.

This also means that once you have completed the rental agreement because the damaged vehicle is ready to return to the road 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. Any suspension in place on the damaged vehicle will only be lifted once we have received the temporary vehicle plate and photos or a garage report of the vehicle repairs – these should be emailed to licensing@reading.gov.uk

Any suspension of the damaged vehicle licence will remain in place until the licence holder has received an email from this office confirming of the suspension has been lifted.

A refund will then be arranged for the remaining licence period (max 6 months) on the temporary replacement vehicle licence. We no longer have the facility to hold the licence plates until they are requested again. This means we are no longer able to provide the same day service for the release of temporary plates and you will be required to make a new vehicle application each time a temporary vehicle is required. 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

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.
  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.

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.

List of licensed drivers

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 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  – Section 1 of the operator’s licence application form has a question for private hire operators
  • 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 £1,245
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.