1 February changes are as follows:

  1. Full and complete application must be submitted at least six weeks before expiry of current licence
  2. Drivers must sign up for the DVLA online check and submit the check code with this application
  3. Immediate change - you no longer need to contact the DBS for a disclosure application. Instead, once we receive your drivers' application, we will start the process online. You will then receive an email with a link and a password which will give you access to the part of the form that you have to complete. When you have done this and submitted the form, we will do the rest.
  4. Once you receive your completed Disclosure Certificate, you will need to apply for the DBS Online Update Service. Make a note of your check number because you will need to give that to us on your next renewal.

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

Taxi licensing

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.

pdf icon Apply for the pre-application consultation service [63kb]


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.

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 or download a copy of pdf icon the vehicle licence application form [331kb] and bring it, all supporting documents (originals) and the fee into the Civic Offices.

We can only licence certain vehicles so you should check your vehicle meets pdf icon vehicle specifications [53kb].

A vehicle licence lasts 12 months - you must reapply at least four 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

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

If you are applying to licence a vehicle for the first time as a temporary replacement vehicle, you will need to follow the process described above for licensing a vehicle. 

Once ready, the temporary plate will be released in exchange for the licensed plate from the damaged vehicle. You will be able to apply for a refund of up to six months of the licence once the damaged vehicle has been repaired and you have returned the temporary vehicle plate. Alternatively, we can place the temporary plate on hold until you need it again for another damaged vehicle. There is a release fee of £48 whenever this is done (not for the first application). 

Temporary replacement vehicle request

Once the damaged vehicle has been repaired, please call 0118 9373762 to arrange an inspection by a Licensing Officer. The temporary vehicle plate must be returned to us in exchange for the repaired vehicle plate. 

If you need a refund on the remainder of the licence, please put this in writing when handing back the plate, or by email to licensing@reading.gov.uk once the temporary vehicle plate has been returned.

Disabled access vehicles and driver responsibilities (Equalities Act 2010)

excel_file icon Hackney Carriage Vehicles - all are wheelchair accessible [43kb]

excel_file icon Private hire vehicles - wheelchair accessible vehicles [12kb]

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 

How to apply

You must complete a pdf icon vehicle driver's licence application [205kb] and bring it, supporting documents (originals) and the fee to the Civic Offices.

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

You will need to:

Driver Knowledge and Location Test

pdf icon Pre-test pack for Hackney carriage drivers [268kb]

pdf icon Pre-test pack for private hire drivers [308kb]

Practical Test

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

Mann Fleet Solutions

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.

pdf icon List of licensed drivers [207kb]


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. 

Vehicle operator's licence

You must complete an pdf icon operator's licence application form [165kb] if you want to run a taxi or school transport company.

You can find more in our pdf icon Private Hire Operator Standard Conditions [240kb] and pdf icon School Transport Operator Conditions [83kb]. 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 pdf icon operator's licence application form [165kb] 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 - grant1 year5 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£245.00£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
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