How to get a UK Taxi Licence
Written by Zego
Four steps to get your UK private hire licence
The UK taxi industry is experiencing a boom. Customer demand is above pre-pandemic levels and taxi firms and rideshare apps like Uber are recruiting drivers rapidly. Working as a UK private hire driver can give you good work independence and a steady income - factors that may tempt newcomers to join the rush. If you’re considering life as a taxi driver, you’ll need a private hire licence. This is how you get one:
Step 1: Are you eligible?
Before you can apply for a UK private hire licence, (PHL), you must meet the minimum requirements:
- You are 21 years old or more
- You have the legal right to work in the UK
- You have held a full GB or Northern Ireland driving licence - or a full EU driving licence - for at least 12 months
- You can provide proof of address and your National Insurance number
- You must also be a ‘fit and proper person’ - which means your background and character will be checked with the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
Step 2: Apply to your local council – or if you are in London, apply with TFL
Taxi licences are issued by local councils throughout the UK. In London, they are obtained from TFL. Depending on where you apply, there will be different rules to get your PHL. The issuing authorities will ask you for further information and you may also need:
- A medical examination
- To take a ‘knowledge’ test – to prove how well you know the roads where you will work
- To take a driving test – to be sure you are safe to carry paying passengers
- To take an English language test – to ensure you can communicate well with passengers
- To file a tax registration with HMRC to report earnings related to your private hire work
You will also need to pay for the application, medical, DBS check, knowledge test and English exam (in London). These fees vary across the UK. In London, they are currently £500 - £700 depending on the cost of the medical.
Step 3: Sign up with a registered private hire firm, or an app-based operator like Uber
Private hire drivers must be affiliated with a registered private hire company – known as a ‘Base’. Before TFL or your council will issue your licence, you must show that you are signed up and just waiting for your licence approval. Uber has their own process for this called Ignition. Zego PH insurance makes this process easy, seamlessly connecting the driver’s account to our many integrated work providers - including Uber, Ola, Bolt and more.
Step 4: Receive your licence and buy insurance
Once you have your PHL, you’ll need to register a suitable vehicle with your council and buy Private Hire insurance. Keeping control of your costs is an important part of being a successful taxi driver. The price of Private Hire insurance can vary enormously. Depending on your vehicle and personal circumstances, the price difference from one insurer to the next can add up to hundreds of pounds per year. Getting the best quote is essential.