Private Hire Vehicle Licence

Private Hire Vehicles cannot apply for hire in the street or at taxi ranks. Journeys must be pre-booked, normally by phone or in person at a cab office. Failure to do so is an offence and invalidates the vehicle's insurance cover. Fares for private hire vehicles are not regulated by the Council - the cost of a journey will normally be based on a rate per mile or should be agreed with the company before the journey.

Private Hire Vehicles licensed by the Council must display a blue plate on the rear and a smaller internal plate. Roof signs are not permitted. Private Hire drivers must also wear an ID badge issued by the Council, which includes his/her photograph.

There are many different laws affecting proprietors and vehicles but the main Act of Parliament covering the licensing of Private Hire Vehicles is Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Vehicles to be licensed must be mechanically suitable. The mechanical condition is to be conformed by a detailed inspection undertaken at the expense of the proprietor at the Council's designated testing stations; details of which can be found below.

Your car must be insured for private hire work.

Throughout your application, you must be honest in supplying information to us and must not, under any circumstances, make a false statement at any time to obtain your vehicle licence. This is a serious offence.

  • Technical specifications for private hire vehicles

    There are many different makes and styles of vehicle on the road today. Not all vehicles would be suitable for use as a private hire vehicle and the Council will assess your vehicle to decide whether or not it is suitable for use as a private hire vehicle.

    To help us consider your application it is our policy for you to show us:

    • that the proprietor (or company) making the application has an operating base within the City Council's area.
    • that the proprietor making the application holds a private hire driver's licence issued by this authority.
    • that your vehicle is mechanically suitable. Your vehicle must pass an inspection by one of the following testing stations. The vehicle will also be subject to a visual inspection carried out by an authorised Licensing Officer of the Council. 
  • Testing stations

    All vehicles must be tested at one of the following testing stations:

    • BEST Autocentres Ltd, Unit 8 Winchester Trade Park, Easton Lane, Winchester, SO23 7FA / Tel: 01962 866 977
    • Citroen Freeborn Winchester, Unit 1 Barfield Close, Winchester, SO23 9SQ / Tel: 01962 840 888
    • Paul Dunnings, 2 Bottings Industrial Estate, Botley, SO30 2DY / Tel: 01489 787970
    • W. J. Heard Motor Repairs, Shore Lane, Bishops Waltham, Southampton SO32 1DY / Tel: 01489 895 607

    The testing fee of £65 will be payable by you directly to the garage at the time of the test. The testing stations are permitted to charge for re-tests and missed appointments. The fee for a re-test is £22 if re-tested within three working days and £60 for all other re-tests.

  • Items required

    Under the Health Act 2006, licensed vehicles must be smoke free at all times and must display the international no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter.

    You will also need to produce the following:

    • vehicle registration document or proof of purchase.
    • MOT Certificate from one of the above testing stations.
    • Mechanical Inspection checklist from one of the above testing stations.
    • certificate or cover note of insurance covering the vehicle for hire and reward for Private Hire use and Social Domestic and Pleasure purposes for you and your drivers
    • proof of purchase of vehicle tax.
  • How to apply

    To make an application for a Private Hire Vehicle licence, please complete the application form found below and book an appointment with Licensing. Please ensure all of the documents above are at the appointment, with the fee of £173. A licence will not be issued without these.

    If you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact us by email or telephone 01962 840 222 and ask for Licensing Department.

    Application forms are available to download on the right-hand-side. Please note that if you wish to fill the form in electronically, you can do this by downloading the Word documents. A signature is required for all applications. To fill the form in manually, please download the adobe versions.