Private Hire operator licensing

Private hire vehicles and drivers may only be despatched by a licensed private hire operator. A person can apply for an operator's licence to operate from premises within the borough. The operator's premises will usually contain a telephone system and some means of recording bookings as they are taken. More modern offices will have comprehensive IT booking and recording systems. They must apply for a licence from the local authority in whose area they plan to do most of their private hire work. This does not exclude them from taking bookings for journeys starting and finishing outside the borough boundaries.

Drivers who carry out the journeys for an operator are mostly self-employed and will usually pay a 'circuit fee' to an operator for the benefit of being given the bookings and will be required to work under that operator's licence and telephone number only. Operators must have a base and facility to take phone calls and record bookings. This can range from a commercial office to the back bedroom of domestic premises. Operators are required to keep records of all their bookings in a format and level of detail determined by the council. This may include paper logs or computer records.

Fares should be agreeable in advance and at the time of booking provided detailed journey information is given. Operators remain responsible for a booking once made although they may sub-contract work but only to licensed operators in the same area licensed by the same local authority. They will however remain responsible for that booking despite sub-contracting it. They must also keep a record of each sub contracted booking. Operators are only permitted to despatch drivers and vehicles licensed by the same local authority as them.

Contact details

Licensing team

01256 844844

New applications

If you wish to apply for a new private hire operator licence you can download a guidance and application pack below. The guidance pack outlines the procedure that must be followed in order to apply for a new private hire operator licence and includes all relevant application forms and fees.

Renewal applications

If you are an existing licence holder you will be sent a renewal reminder by the Licensing Team between 4-8 weeks before your licence is due for renewal. Renewal application forms are not available to download online. If you have not received your renewal reminder within this timescale please contact the Licensing Team to request a renewal reminder pack is sent to you by email or by post.

Making a change to an existing licence

Further guidance is also available below for existing licensed operators who need to notify the Licensing Team of a change of their name or address details.

All private hire operator licences are issued subject to compliance with the standard private hire operator licence conditions which are available below for your information