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 where they plan to do most of their 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. They will usually pay a 'circuit fee' to an operator for the benefit of being given the bookings. They 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 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 may subcontract bookings to other operators both within and outside the borough of district in which they are licenced. The operator remains contractually responsible for the initial booking. They must ensure that the operator to whom the booking is subcontracted holds all the necessary operator, vehicle and driver licences from the authority in which that operator is located. 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.

Operator licences are granted for a period of five years. A one year licence may be granted if the authority thinks it is appropriate and the applicant provides justifiable reasons to request a one year licence.

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 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 between 4 and 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.

Making a change to an existing licence

Guidance is available below for existing licensed operators on notifying the Licensing Team of a change to their name or address.

All private hire operator licences are issued subject to compliance with the standard private hire operator licence conditions below.

Contact details

Licensing Team


Application forms are currently being up dated, please contact licensing team if you require a specific application.

PDF document New Operators Application Pack and Guidance 2024(PDF) [335 kb]

PDF document Private Hire Operator licence conditions(PDF) [151 kb]

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