Vehicle licences for taxis or private hire vehicles

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Outside London

You must get your taxi or private hire vehicle inspected and licensed by your local council.


Contact your local council to apply for a vehicle licence.


You must get a licence for each vehicle. The vehicle must have no more than 8 passenger seats.

Inspections and insurance

The council may check your vehicle to make sure:

  • it’s roadworthy
  • it’s comfortable and clean
  • the taximeter works properly
  • the doors are safe and secure

You’ll also need insurance that:

  • covers you for hire and reward
  • includes you as the named driver

The council decides how often it tests vehicles but can’t test more than 3 times in a year.

You must fix any problems within 2 months of failing a test. You can lose your vehicle licence if you don’t.


The council can attach conditions to vehicle licences. These might include:

  • the colour scheme of your vehicle
  • the use of roof signs
  • use of a taximeter

Refusals and appeals

The council can refuse your application if:

  • your vehicle doesn’t meet certain criteria
  • you don’t accept conditions it gives you
  • it wants to control the number of taxis in the area

When the council makes its decision it will explain your right to appeal if:

  • your application for a vehicle licence has been refused
  • the licensing authority has suspended, revoked or refused to renew a vehicle licence

You appeal to a crown court about a taxi licence decision or to a magistrates court about a private hire vehicle decision.