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Become A Taxi Driver

Become A Taxi Driver

Experienced drivers have many options in order to become a taxi driver so they can utilise their driving skills for both personal and commercial gain. Choosing to become a taxi driver is an option which will allow individuals to exploit their skills for this purpose.

There are two main types of taxi services. Firstly, the private hire vehicles must be booked in advance, whilst the hackney carriages can be hailed on the street or wait for passengers on a taxi rank.

The licensing requirements for taxi drivers vary from one local authority to another. Each interested individual must contact their own local council to determine the rules and regulations to become a taxi driver.

Local Council Requirements

Each local council will need drivers to provide:-

  • a medical check, including an eyesight test
  • a Criminal Records Bureau check
  • a current driving licence
  • a fee for the licence
  • Proof of taxi driving test -which covers driving ability and knowledge of the local area

The life of a taxi driver provides an opportunity to meet a wide range of people, and as a consequence certain minimum etiquettes need to be fulfilled:-

  • good manners and politeness
  • calmness under pressure, such as when traffic is poor or when a passenger is difficult
  • ability to handle money awareness of local geography

Majority of taxi drivers are self-employed, with flexible working patterns and hours.  A typical salary of a taxi driver can vary from £8,000 – £35,000 a year.

The primary role of a taxi driver,  is to ensure passengers are delivered safely, efficiently and comfortably to their destination. A full service needs to provided to customers such as helping them in and out of a taxi and helping with luggage.

Professional drivers must drive with due care, attention, courtesy and become role model drivers for other road users.

Each driver needs a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle.

The application procedures for a taxi licence vary depending upon whether a driver will operate outside or inside London, whilst there is a different process for Northern Ireland.

Councils Outside London

A driver needs to apply council for a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV).

To apply you must:

  • Be able to work legally in the UK
  • Have held a full GB, EU or Northern Ireland driving licence for at least 12 months
  • Undertake a ‘fit and proper person’ of your background and character (an enhanced criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)).
  • A medical examination
  • A ‘knowledge’ test
  • To take a driving test
  • Payment of suitable fees
  • Find out about renewal details

Councils Inside London

The process and requirements include:-

  • A driver needs to meet the requirements for and apply to Transport for London (TfL) to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV).
  • Ability to renew your licence before it expires otherwise you won’t be able to work as a taxi or PHV driver.
  • Passenger pickups – taxis can be hailed in the street and asked to go anywhere, so drivers need a thorough knowledge of London.
  • Meet Character requirements
  • Fulfill Medical requirements
  • Pay application fees
  • Equal opportunities
  • Ensure convictions and exemptions are checked and verified

There are new updated online application processes in place which makes registration, applying and renewing taxi and private hire licences quicker and more efficient

A driver who wants to apply, can request an application pack by email/telephone, or register online and start the electronic application. Details of the criteria to be met include :-

  • You will be asked to provide some personal details so we can create an account for you and allow you to complete your online application or request an application pack.
  • If you have lived in a country other than the UK for one or more continuous periods of three months or more within the last three years, please download the ‘Living and working abroad’ form and submit this with your application.
  • The time it takes to become a licensed driver depends on whether you choose to learn the All-London Knowledge or a Suburban sector.

Requirements for A License

To apply for a licence, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old at the time of applying (although you cannot be licensed until you are 21 years old)
  • The person must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland, or other European Economic Area state driving licence
  • You must have the right to live and work in the UK
  • You must meet our medical requirements
  • The individual must meet our character requirements – to undertake an ‘enhanced’ criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has an online subscription service that lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date.
  • Payment of application fee – these can be made via all major credit or debit cards by completing the appropriate section in the application form. Other payment options are available via the Post Office ‘Check and Send’ service.

The table below highlights examples of a typical cost of an application. However, some costs may vary.

  • DBS disclosure application £56.85 (online)  £58.85 (paper)
  • Licence application fee (non-refundable) £120
  • Grant of licence fee £180
  • Knowledge of London written examination (All London only)              £200
  • Knowledge of London appearance (One off payment)          £400
  • DSA Hackney Carriage driving test (payment to DSA)  £92.94 (normal hours)   £112.34 (evenings and Saturdays)
  • £50 (wheelchair test only)
  • Post Office Check and Send £7.15
  • Medical assessment

(Payable to your GP who can advise you of the cost)               £80 (approximately)

Becoming a licensed taxi or private hire driver is open to all. If you’re a disabled person and interested in becoming a driver, there are some things to consider.

Vehicle Modifications

Some licensed taxis and private hire vehicles have modifications made to them to enable people to drive them, such as:-

  • Steering wheel ball
  • Hand-operated braking controls
  • Hand-operated accelerator controls
  • Reconfigured foot pedal controls
  • Infra-red control panel for operating vehicle lights, indicators and horn

Drivers who use vehicle adaptations will need to be assessed by a medical professional and driver assessor. They will recommend what adaptations are needed and exactly what equipment must be fitted to ensure the driver has full control of the vehicle at all times. The recommended adaptations and equipment must be fitted by an authorised motability installer. Documentary evidence that the installer is authorised is required. Before you have any equipment fitted or adaptations made to your vehicle, you should first contact our licensing team.


Applicants are exempt from completing a medical form as part of their application if they:

  • Hold a DVLA Group 2 licence (full or a provisional licence issued since January 1998)
  • Have an active application with us, have completed our medical and are under the age of 45
  • Active applicants or existing licensees must have a medical exam if over the age of 45 and the last medical was done more than three years ago, or you’re subject to providing an age-related medical.

To apply for any of the above exemptions please send an email stating the exemption you wish to apply for and submit the appropriate form.


If you have any of the following convictions, it’s unlikely that your application will be successful. Before submitting an application, please consider:

  • Any conviction for a major violent offence (murder, manslaughter etc)
  • Whether you have more than one conviction of any type of violent offence in the last 10 years
  • If you are still serving a custodial sentence, even if you have been released early on licence or the sentence was suspended
  • If you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for a serious sexual offence (rape, indecent assault, trafficking, possession of indecent images etc)
  • Whether you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for more than one sexual offence of any type, irrespective of age
  • Whether you are listed on either the Children’s or Adults’ barred list
  • If you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for touting in the last 12 months or have more than one penalty for touting in the last five years

Licensing decisions are made on a case by case basis.

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