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 minicab office.
Before a licence is granted the applicant must satisfy the Council that:
- they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence;
- they are medically fit;
- they have attained the age of 21 years;
- they have held a full driver's licence (not a provisional licence) granted to the applicant under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1972 authorising them to drive a motor car for at least twelve months prior to the date of the application;
- they can demonstrate adequate knowledge of the local area;
- they have 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.
- A Criminal Records Check - All new and existing drivers and required to obtain an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check from TaxiPlus (previously Personnel Checks). Once the driver has received their enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service certificate, they must supply it to the Licensing Department. All drivers must also sign up to the DBS Update Service upon receipt of their certificate and give consent to the Council conducting 6-monthly checks.
- Certificate of Good Character - Applicants who have been a resident of another country for six months or more, after turning 18 years old, will be required to provide a Certificate of Good Character from their embassy or home country.
- Knowledge Test - you may need to arrange to attend an exam testing your knowledge of the local area; you can do this by contacting the Licensing Department. The knowledge tests are held on one date per month, usually on a Tuesday afternoon.
- Driving Assessment - New applicants are required to pass a taxi driving assessment with the Blue Lamp Trust or DriveTech.
- Safeguarding Training - New applicants are required to undertake the classroom (not E-Learning) Safeguarding training course with the Blue Lamp Trust. This course is conducted virtually via Zoom; elearning courses will not be accepted.
- Disability Awareness Training - New applicants and current drivers are required to participate in a Disability Awareness Course with the Blue Lamp Trust. This course is conducted virtually via Zoom.
- 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 occasional basis.
- 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 - 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.
You can apply to renew your Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence for a period of 12 months or 3 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, or evidence that the driver is signed up to the DBS Update Service, every 6 months;
- 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)
We understand that due to financial recovery post 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.
The government has introduced new tax requirements for applications for certain licences. This is supported by a new digital service developed by HMRC. It helps people in the taxi and private hire industries complete a new tax check.
Most people are registered to pay tax and this is about ensuring everyone pays the tax they should, creating a level playing field for the compliant majority. HMRC are working with industry bodies to make this as straightforward as possible. The check should take a few minutes and is simply to confirm that someone is appropriately registered for tax.
You will need to complete a tax check when you renew your licence as a:
- hackney carriage driver
- private hire driver
- private hire operator
About the tax check
You will be able to complete this tax check on GOV.UK, through your Government Gateway account. You will only need to answer a few questions to tell HMRC how you pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade. If you do not already have a Government Gateway account, you can sign up on GOV.UK.
The tax check should only take a few minutes. There is guidance on GOV.UK and anyone who needs extra support will be able to complete the tax check by phone through HMRC’s customer helpline: 0300 200 3300
When you have completed the tax check, you’ll get a code. You must provide this code on your renewal application form. The licensing authority cannot proceed with your licence application or renewal until the tax check is completed and they have received the code.
The licensing authority will only receive confirmation from HMRC that you have completed the tax check, they will not have access to information about your tax affairs.
How to complete your tax check
Complete your tax check online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/complete-a-tax-check-for-a-taxi-private-hire-or-scrap-metal-licence
To carry out a tax check, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you start the check.
You’ll also need to know:
- when you first got your licence
- the length of your most recent licence
- how you pay tax on the income you earn from your licensed trade
You will not be able to complete the tax check if the information you give about your tax affairs does not match HMRC’s records.
Your tax check code is valid for 120 days. If you licence is due to renewal in April 2022, you may wish to obtain your tax check code now.
Registering for tax
You may have to pay tax through Pay as You Earn (PAYE), Self Assessment and/or Corporation Tax, depending on your circumstances. If you should have been registered to pay tax and have not been, HMRC will work with you to get you back on the right track. It is your responsibility to get your tax right, but HMRC are there to help.
If you’re an employee: Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Most employed people pay Income Tax through PAYE. This is the system employers use to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay wages.
See more information on PAYE online: https://www.gov.uk/income-tax/how-you-pay-income-tax
If you’re self-employed: Self Assessment tax returns
If you’re self-employed you’ll pay Income Tax and National Insurance through Self Assessment. You’ll need to fill in a tax return every year.
You must send a tax return if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), you were:
- self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and your annual gross trading income was more than £1,000
- a partner in a business partnership
See more information on registering for Self Assessment online: https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment
If you operate through a company: Corporation Tax
Companies need to register for Corporation Tax when they start doing business or restart a dormant business.
See more information on Corporation Tax online: https://www.gov.uk/corporation-tax
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. As stated above, the knowledge tests are held on one date per month, usually on a Tuesday afternoon. You will need to contact the Licensing Department to book your place on a knowledge test.
The knowledge test is an electronic test facilitated on touchscreen tablets, and is made up from multiple choice questions in five modules: Winchester, Surrounding District, Numeracy, Policy and Conditions, and Highway Code.
The pass mark for the Hackney Carriage knowledge test is 70% in each section to pass the test. If, for example, you get 70% in 3 of the sections and you get 60% in 1 of the sections, then you will have failed the test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do I need to bring with me to the knowledge test?
A: You will need to bring your DVLA driving licence; you will be unable to take the test without this.
Q: Am I permitted to use maps help me during the test?
A: No, you must not use a map, mobile phone or any other device with GPS or mapping capabilities. You also may not bring notes or drawings with you. The knowledge test will be sat in exam conditions with no communication between you and the other participant.
Q: How can I prepare for the test?
A: We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the geography of the district by using maps (either paper-based or online) and by driving to popular destinations such as pubs, restaurants, hospitals, GP surgeries and supermarkets. You might also have a friend or family member write down a list of locations and ask you to drive them to each one, taking the shortest route. Copies of the current Policy, conditions of licence and a map of the district can all be found on the Taxi and Private Hire section of the Council's website.
Q: What if I need help taking the test, i.e. I have additional needs?
A: Contact the Licensing Department to discuss your specific requirements and I we shall endeavour to assist. This may involve having an extended test period, questions being read aloud to you by an officer on a one-to-one basis, or having a larger screen provided.
Q: What happens if I fail the test?
A: We suggest reviewing your score and deciding whether you'd like to take the test again the following month, or leave it a couple of months so that you can better prepare. If you would like to book on to a knowledge test, please contact the Licensing Department to arrange this. Your first test fee is included in your initial application fee, and any re-test is charged at £30 thereafter.