Private hire licence

Private hire vehicles are pre-booked using a licenced private hire operator.

Unlike hackney carriages (taxis), private hire drivers cannot be hailed from the street and are not legally permitted to take passengers from a taxi rank.

If you want to drive a private hire vehicle, you will need:

  • driver licence
  • private hire vehicle licence

The person taking your bookings needs an operator licence.

To drive a private hire vehicle in Harlow, the driver licence, private hire vehicle licence and operator licence all need to be issued by us.

Driver licence

You can apply for a driver licence if you:

  • are 21 years or over
  • have held a full UK driving licence for at least a year

To apply for a drivers licence, you need to contact us. We will provide an application form, which you need to complete and return to us along with the fee and supporting documents.

For a drivers licence, the supporting documents you need are:

  • your Driving Licence card and online check code to allow us to view your DVLA licence history
  • your passport
  • your birth certificate
  • your National Insurance number
  • proof of your current address on two separate utility or credit card bills
  •  a completed Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) application and £44 fee - within 30 days from the date of issue of the DBS certificate you must sign up to the DBS Update Service, at a cost of £13 per year. If you do not sign up to the Update Service, you will need to apply for DBS check every three years, at a cost of £64.
  • proof of your right to work in the UK (passport)
  • a Certificate of Good Conduct, if you have lived anywhere other than the UK for six or more consecutive months in the last five years
  • the fee (one year £240, three years £405) – this is paid in two parts, £120 must be paid at the initial appointment, £120 on the granting of the licence

Once you have made an application, we will review your documents to make sure you are a ‘fit and proper’ person.

If you have criminal convictions or serious driving endorsements, your application may be referred to the Licensing Sub-committee for a decision.

For more information, read our criminal convictions policy (pdf)

If we do not grant your licence, you can make an appeal to the Magistrates court.

If you are considered ‘fit and proper’, before the driver licence is granted you also need to:

Once these have been successfully completed, we will grant the driver licence.

Your driver licence will be valid for either one or three years from the date we granted it.

Renew your driver licence

To renew a drivers licence, you need to contact us. We will provide an application form, which you need to complete and return to us along with the fee and supporting documents. 

To renew a driver licence, the supporting documents you need are:

  • a DBS certificate, less than three years old on the expiry date of the licence you are applying for (if you are using the DBS Update Service, you just need to make sure you have paid your annual subscription fee, we will check your certificate)
  • a Harlow Council Group 2 medical certificate - not more than five years old on the expiry date of the licence you are applying for
  • the fee (one year £124, three years £295)

You will need to provide a Harlow Council Group 2 medical certificate every five years until you are 65 years old.

Once you are 65 years, you will need to pass a Group 2 medical assessment every year.

Private hire vehicle licence

To apply for a vehicle licence, you need to contact us. We will provide an application form, which you need to complete and return to us along with the fee and supporting documents. 

For a vehicle licence, the supporting documents you need are:

  • a valid insurance certificate, which must include ‘on risk’ cover for private hire use
  • a current MOT and Compliance test certificate for the vehicle, at a cost of £50
  • the registration document showing the registered keeper’s name and address or proof of vehicle ownership
  • the fee £298

Once we have checked that your application and paperwork is correct, we will issue your vehicle licence.

Your private hire vehicle licence will be valid for one year from the date we granted it.

Renew your vehicle licence

To renew your vehicle licence, you need to contact us. We will provide an application form, which you need to complete and return to us along with the fee and supporting documents. 

To renew a vehicle licence, the supporting documents you need are:

  • proof of motor insurance
  • an MOT and compliance certificate
  • the fee £298

Operator licence

If you accept bookings for private hire vehicles, you will need an operator licence.

To apply for an operator licence, you need to:

  • provide a completed application form
  • complete a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check
  • provide a scale drawing of the premises
  • provide evidence of your - and any other applicant's - right to work in the UK (passport)
  • pay the fee

Private Hire Annual Operator Licence

Fee

1 year licence

£297

5 year licence

£870

 

After we have received your application, we will give our Planning team a copy of your application - they can check the correct planning permission is in place. 

If you have criminal convictions, objections have been raised or the premises are not suitable for use, your application may be referred to the Licensing Sub-committee for a decision.

If we do not grant your licence, you can make an appeal to the Magistrates court.

If we grant the licence, it will be valid for either one or five years.

Renew your operator licence

To renew your operator licence, you need to:

  • provide a completed application form
  • pay the fee
  • complete a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check

Once we have received your application, we may:

  • inspect the premises
  • check your previous bookings

Fares

We do not regulate the fare you can charge your customers. You need to agree the fare with your customer when they make the booking.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Drivers of wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles have a legal duty to carry wheelchair passengers.

Please see the wheelchair accessible vehicles list (pdf) for more details.

All private hire drivers have a legal duty to carry passengers with assistance dogs.

The only circumstance when a driver can refuse to take a wheelchair passenger or a passenger with an assistance dog is if they have an exemption notice.

The only grounds for exemption are medical, or that a physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a driver to comply with this duty. 

To apply for an exemption, you need to complete an application form for wheelchair or assistance dog exemption (pdf)