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Private hire operators are individuals or businesses who are licensed to accept bookings for journeys by private hire drivers using private hire vehicles. 

Operators must hold a licence before they can accept bookings. Licensed operators can accept bookings up to a maximum of eight passengers. 

A private hire operator licence will only be granted where the applicant demonstrates to be a fit and proper person. This is in accordance with the Local Government (miscellaneous provisions) Act 1976

Private hire operators should be familiar with the conditions they must comply with.

Tax check

Licensed private hire operators who are due to renew their licence must complete a tax check with HMRC.

Preparing to apply for a licence

Criminal record check

Before applying for a private hire operator licence, you'll need a copy of your current basic or enhanced DBS check. You should apply and pay for a DBS in advance of your licence renewal.

Private hire operator premises

If you intend to operate your business from a private dwelling, you'll need to:

  • ensure that this does not require planning permission
  • inform Council Tax and business rates that you're running a business from home.

If you intend to operate from a commercial premises, you'll need to provide the following evidence with your licence application:

  • you must ensure that you have the correct planning permission in place before you submit a licence application
  • if your premises has access to the public, you will need public liability insurance
  • if you employ anyone, you'll need employers liability insurance.

Vehicle signage

Any private hire vehicles working for you must display signage with the name of your operating business and be approved by our licensing service prior to use.  The signage must meet the following requirements:

  • all letters, numbers and logos must be between 4cm and 7cm tall
  • you cannot use the words 'taxi' and/or 'for hire'.

You'll need to post a physical copy of your signage to our licensing service.

Operator policies

Operators are required to adopt, implement, review, update and submit the following policies with your licence application:

  • safeguarding policy
  • customer service and complaints policy, which includes conduct of drivers and the timeframe for responding to complaints
  • equality policy (Equality Act 2010), including disability awareness and the carrying of assistance animals
  • data protection policy
  • recruitment and suitability policy.

Motoring offences

You must declare any motoring offences on your application.

Motoring offences are any activity that have resulted in your DVLA licence being endorsed, for example; speeding, failing to stop at a red light or failing to provide the details of a driver at the time of an alleged road traffic offence. 

Apply for a private hire operator licence

You can apply and pay for a new private hire operator licence online. You may also use the online form to renew and pay for an existing operator licence, as long as it's not expired.

Applications must be submitted with any relevant supporting documents and information as described on this page. 

If your application is successful, we'll send your licence to you within 20 working days.