Can I get a new licence for a private hire car?

Yes, there are no limits on the numbers of private hire cars that can be licensed, so provided your vehicle meets our criteria you can obtain a licence.

How long is a private hire vehicle licence issued for?

Licences are normally issued for one year.

How much does a private hire vehicle licence cost?

Details of the costs of a new licence can be found on our Fees page.

How old can a car be when it is licensed?

From 1 January 2019 cars being licensed for private hire purposes must be less than five years old. There is no upper age limit for removing the vehicle providing that it:

  • remains in good condition
  • continues to pass the required Certificate of Compliance test vehicle inspection and
  • meets the current licensing conditions.

What sort of vehicle can be licensed for private hire purposes?

In general terms saloon cars, hatchbacks, estates or people carriers can be licensed providing they have four doors. Purpose-built London style hackney carriages are not permitted for licensing for private hire purposes. Licensing of unusual vehicles will be considered on a case by case basis.

How many passengers can a private hire car carry?

The maximum number of passengers that a private hire car can be licensed to carry is 8. The vehicle log book will specify the total number of persons that the vehicle can carry. The will be issued for this number minus the driver, to a maximum of 8.

Can I licence a left hand drive vehicle?

No, left hand drive vehicles are not permitted to be licensed on safety grounds.

How do I make an appointment to licence a private hire vehicle?

You will need to book a test directly with our approved garage (Adams Autos). Tests must be booked and paid for on line. Garage test fees can be viewed on the Fees page.

How long will a private hire vehicle test take?

Appointments take around an hour. It’s important that you arrive promptly for your appointment - if you are late we may not be able to see you. If you are 10 or more minutes late your appointment will be automatically cancelled and you will need to rebook.

What documents/notices/equipment do I need to bring to my appointment to licence my private hire vehicle?

  • You must bring your current vehicle insurance policy, that names the licensed driver(s) who is insured to drive the vehicle, or is a fleet insurance. The insurance certificate must detail that the vehicle is insured for private hire.

  • Previous Certificate of Compliance (if applicable).

  • The DVLA vehicle registration document. If you have recently bought the vehicle and don’t have the registration document you should bring the new keepers supplement and provide the registration document when you receive it from the DVLA.

  • No Smoking signs must be displayed on at least one near-side (passenger-side) and one off-side (drivers-side) window to be clearly visible to passengers before entering your vehicle.

  • A first aid kit suitable for use in vehicles, with the registration number of the vehicle permanently marked on it.

  • A 1kg (2.2lb) dry powder fire extinguisher must be provided, with the registration number of the vehicle permanently marked on it. The extinguisher should be secured within the vehicle.

  • Your vehicle must be taxed.

Once the vehicle has passed the test the garage will send the application and supporting documents direct to the Licensing Team and your application will then be checked. Once approved the plate and licence will be ready for collection and payment of the licence fee from our reception at Pathfinder House in 3 working days

What condition must my car be in for a licence to be issued?

  • Your car must be clean and in generally good condition.

  • Paintwork should be bright and well matched, vehicles with dull or mismatched paintwork won’t be licensed.

  • Vehicles should be generally free from rust, areas of rust or blemishes larger than 10mm x 10mm may result in the vehicle not being able to be licensed.

  • Dents over 40mm in diameter and over 2mm deep or scratches over 300mm long may not be considered acceptable.

  • Poor or unsatisfactory repairs or modifications aren’t acceptable.

  • The vehicle interior, including the boot, should be clean, not excessively worn and odour free.

  • Only equipment or tools that relate to the maintenance of the vehicle should be stored in the boot and should be securely stowed. Oil or petrol cans shall not be carried in any part of the vehicle. You must ensure you have appropriate equipment and/or tools to change or repair a punctured tyre.

Do I need to be able to provide receipts to customers?

Yes. You must offer and be able to provide for each journey undertaken pre-printed receipts or digital receipts to customers where you can add the date, the fare and the driver's badge number.

Does my vehicle need to be fitted with a meter to calculate the fare for each journey?

No, there is no requirement for a meter to be fitted in your vehicle. The fares you charge will be set by your operator, who allocates work to you, not by the council. If a meter is fitted it must be set and sealed to the HDC fare charts

Can I have a roof sign on my private hire car?

No, roof signs aren’t permitted on private hire vehicles.

Can I display advertising on my private hire vehicle?

Advertising can only be displayed on a private hire car with the written permission of the council. If you wish to seek permission for advertising you should email the Licensing Team at

Do I need a spare wheel?

You must ensure you have appropriate equipment and/or tools to change or repair a punctured tyre. These tools/equipment must be in good condition and must be securely stowed in the vehicle. Equipment or tools will be a spare wheel, a space saver wheel or a canister which fills the damaged type in order to affect a temporary repair to allow it to be driven to a garage for repair.

Is smoking allowed in a private hire car?

Smoking is never permitted in a licensed vehicle. Even when the vehicle is not being used as a private hire car and no passengers are present, smoking is not permitted. No smoking signs must be displayed on at least one near-side (passenger-side) and one off-side (driver-side) window to be clearly visible to passengers before entering your vehicle.

Are PDAs and sat navs allowed in private hire cars?

Yes, but the position of them must be approved by the council and should not obstruct driver or passenger movement, comfort or vision in accordance with road traffic regulations.

I have lost/had stolen my vehicle licence plate, what do I need to do?

If a licence plate and/or mounting bracket is lost, stolen or damaged you should advise the Licensing Team as soon as is reasonably practicable by email ( Stolen plates should be reported to the police on their 101 service and a crime reference number obtained. Upon receipt of an e-mail a member of the licensing team will make contact with you to arrange to provide you with a replacement. There is a charge for replacement mounting brackets and plates, details of which can be found on our web page

I have been involved in an accident in my vehicle, what do I need to do?

You must report any accident within 72 hours and complete an accident report form.

I have moved house/changed address, what do I need to do?

You should tell us about your change of address as soon as is reasonably practicable Please note that there is a charge for processing a request to change your address.