Private Hire Driver's Licences

A licence is required before any person can drive a Private Hire Vehicle. Private Hire Vehicles cannot ply for hire in the street or at taxi ranks. Journeys must be pre-booked, normally by phone, via an app, or in person at a cab office.
Before a licence is granted the applicant must satisfy the Council that:

  • he/she is a fit and proper person to hold a licence;
  • he/she is medically fit;
  • he/she has attained the age of 21 years;
  • he/she has held a full driver's licence (not a provisional licence) granted to the applicant under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1972 authorising him/her to drive a motor car for at least twelve months prior to the date of the application;
  • he/she can demonstrate adequate knowledge of the local area;
  • he/she has the right to work in the UK
  • How to apply

    Please complete the online application form. You will need a credit/debit card to pay the application fee of £117. Within 14 days of submitting your application, you will need to book an appointment with the Licensing Department. You will need to bring the following documentation to the appointment:

    • your DVLA Driving Licence (original - not a photocopy)
    • proof of Right to Work in the UK (in some cases a person’s status will be verified with the Home Office)

    Applications will not be accepted without production of the above.

    New drivers will also be asked to undertake the following processes. We advise drivers to begin these processes after their initial appointment with a Licensing Officer, as we do not wish applicants to incur unnecessary costs should their application be refused for any reason. 

    • Driving Assessment - New applicants are required to pass a taxi driving assessment with the Blue Lamp Trust.
    • Safeguarding Training - All new drivers are required to undertake safeguarding training. To book your place please click here.
    • Wheelchair Assessment - All drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles must undertake this assessment with the Blue Lamp Trust. This includes any driver who has used of a wheelchair accessible vehicle on an occassional basis. 
    • Knowledge Test - you may need to arrange to attend an exam testing your knowledge of the local area, depending on the type of Private Hire work you are intending to carry out. You can do this by calling the Licensing Department on 01986 848 188. The knowledge tests are held on one date per month, usually the last Thursday of the month.
    • A Criminal Records Check - All new and existing drivers and required to obtain an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check from Personnel Checks. Once the driver has received their enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service certificate, they must supply it to the Licensing Department.
    • Certificate of Good Conduct - Applicants who were born outside the UK and have lived in the UK for less then 10 years will also be required to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from their embassy or home country. You are not required to provide this if you have lived in the UK for more than 10 years. 
    • A Medical Assessment - All new drivers are required to undergo a medical assessment with a medical practitioner to ensure that they meet the criteria for Group 2 vocational drivers licence. The medical practitioner undertaking the assessment must have full access to the patient's medical records. IMPORTANT Regarding Medicals - we strongly advise drivers not to undergo their medical assessment until all other criteria have been met. This is because your medical could expire while waiting to complete all application requirements. A medical report must be no older than 28 days from its date of issue when seen by the licensing authority, the medical will only be viewed after all other application criteria has been met and received by The Licensing Department.The Medical Report form is available to be downloaded on the right-hand side of this page. 

    Documentation proving that the above processes have been undertaken must be seen by the Licensing Department prior to the issue of a Licence. If an applicant has not fulfilled all of the above criteria within 12 months of submitting their application, the application shall be refused.

    A guidance document for all new applicants is available to download on the right-hand side of this page. 

  • Renewals

    We understand that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be a difficult time for licence holders to pay their renewal application fees. To try and support you during this time we now have the option for renewal fees to be paid in four equal instalments. The online application forms have been amended to include this payment option.

    If you have any further queries or concerns about your licences, please contact the licensing office licensing@winchester.gov.uk or tel: 01962 848 188.

    You can apply to renew your {rivate Hire Drivers Licence for a period of 12 months or 3 years (provided that you have already held a licence for 3 consecutive years). Renewal applications can be made using the online application form. You will need a credit/debit card to pay the application fee of £86 (one year) or £245 (3 years).

    Renewal applications must be accompanied by the following documents: 

    • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate (required every 3 years)
    • Medical Report from your GP or other medical practitioner (required every 5 years until age 65, and then every year thereafter)
    • Annual Diabetes Assessment (required annually if you have been diagnosed with diabetes which is managed other than by diet alone)
    • Safeguarding Awareness certificate and/or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Training certificate
  • Knowledge Test

    You may be required to undertake a knowledge test, depending on the type of Private Hire work you are intending to undertake. You can discuss this requirement with a Licensing Officer at your initial appointment. Knowledge tests are held on one date per month, usually the last Thursday of the month. You will need to contact the Licensing Department on 01962 848 188 to book your place on a knowledge test.

    Please note that when being asked to describe a route it must be the shortest route, not using the motorway.

    If you fail the test, you will be given the opportunity to re-take at a later date; you must contact the Licensing Department if you wish to re-take the rest. All re-tests will incur a fee of £30.

    The knowledge test is an electronic test and is made up from multiple choice questions in 9 categories. The categories are as follows:

    1. Identify missing roads from routes within Winchester – you must name a missing road following the shortest route within Winchester, e.g. what road is missing from the following shortest route when driving from The Broadway to Simonds Court? The Broadway, High Street, Eastgate Street, Friarsgate, Upper Brook Street, and St George's Street, Jewry Street, ______ , Worthy Road, Russell Road , Chaundler Road.
    2. Identify buildings that you would pass on a route – you must name the road that particular buildings may be found on, e.g. Which road is the Winchester Police Station on when driving the shortest route from Winchester Kebab House to Thurmond Crescent?
    3. Identify missing roads from routes in the surrounding district – starting at Winchester train station you will need to identify the missing road following the shortest route to a destination in the surrounding Winchester district, e.g. What road is missing from the following shortest route when driving from Winchester Railway Station to West Meon? Station Road, Station Hill, City Road, North Walls, Union Street, Eastgate Street, High Street, Bridge St, Magdalen Hill, Alresford Road, A31 Petersfield Road, A272, South Downs Way, Wheely Down Road, _______, Church Lane, West Meon.
    4. Identify where buildings are located – you will need to be able to identify the roads that certain buildings are located on, e.g. which road is Twyford Surgery on?
    5. Identify which is the correct route – you will need to identify the shortest route between two named destinations, e.g. which is the shortest route from Peter Symonds College to The Royal Hampshire County Hospital?
    6. Identify the location at the end of the route (for the City centre, Littleton and Kings Worthy) – starting at Winchester train station you will need to identify the road in the City you would arrive in when following a route described, e.g. What will be the destination when you start a journey at Winchester Railway Station, and follow the route: Station Road, Gladstone Street, Sussex Street, Romsey Road, St James' Lane, St Cross Road, St Swithun Street, Symonds Street, Great Minster Street, and turn right?
    7. Identify the location at the end of the route (for the surrounding district) – starting at Winchester train station you will need to identify the area of the district you would arrive in when following a route described, e.g. Which village will you arrive at when you start a journey at Winchester Railway Station, and follow the route: Station Road, Gladstone Street, Sussex Street, Andover Road, Andover Road North, Christmas Hill, Downs Road, Wrights Close, first left?
    8. Numeracy – you will need to be able to calculate how much change a passenger would receive, or how much a fare would be, e.g. the fare on the taximeter amounts to £6.20, the passenger gives you £10. How much change should you give them?
    9. Hackney Carriage and Private Hire policy and conditions / legislation – you will need to be familiar with the current Council Policy and Conditions of licence as well as the relevant legislation for Taxi licensing, e.g. what is the minimum legal limit for tyre tread depth?

    For each question there will be 4 possible answers and you will need to choose one answer from all the options available. You will need to have a comprehensive knowledge of the roads and buildings in the Winchester district (including the City Centre, Littleton and Kings Worthy, and the surrounding district) that a customer may ask you to take them to. Examples of buildings are, churches, schools, wedding venues, conference venues, pubs, historic landmarks etc. All applicants should familiarise themselves with the legislation under Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, Part II, as well as the Council’s current Policy and conditions of licence.

    Copies of the current Policy and conditions of licence and a map of the district can be found on the right-hand side of this page.

    You must bring your DVLA driving licence with you when you attend the test. You will be unable to take the test without this.

    The pass mark for the Private Hire knowledge test is 50% in each section to pass the test. If, for example, you achieved 50% in 3 of the sections and you achieved 40% in 1 of the sections, then you will have failed the test.

    If you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact us by email licensing@winchester.gov.uk or telephone 01962 848 188.