Hackney carriage and private hire

Guidance for applicants for a driver's licence


Under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and Immigration Act 2016 a Local Authority shall not grant a licence to drive a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle unless:

  1. they are satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a driver's licence,
  2. the applicant has held a full driving licence for at least 12 months, and
  3. the applicant has the right to work in the UK.


The following forms must be completed in full and submitted to the Licensing Authority with the relevant fee:

Application form for licence to drive

The application must include a passport type photograph and the applicant's DVLA licence. A maximum of six penalty points are permitted upon first application. All applicants must be at least 19 years of age.

Medical form

The medical form must be signed by the applicant's own GP or a medical practitioner who has access to the applicant's medical records. There will be a charge by the GP for this medical examination as to the applicant's fitness to hold a hackney or private hire driving licence. Persons who hold a current LGV or PCV driving licence will be required to submit to a medical every three years in line with every other applicant. From 70 years of age onwards, the medical will be required annually.

Driving assessment

All new applicants for a licence to drive Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicles must pass a driving assessment to ensure that they have a high degree of driving competence. The test lasts for approximately 45 minutes and arrangements for the test, including payment of the fee, should be made directly with the Council's approved training provider, Blue Lamp Trust. New applicants may be exempt from the requirement to pass the driving assessment if their DVLA licence entitles them to drive large vehicles, minibuses or buses.

Knowledge test

All new applicants must pass Eden District Council's Knowledge Test. Arrangements to take the test should be made with the Licensing Team - this can be done at the same time as the criminal records check. The written test, which applicants will be given 30 minutes to complete, consists of five parts: (i) locations and premises; (ii) villages; (iii) routes; (iv) rules and regulations; (v) fares and meter. Applicants to drive private hire vehicles will only be required to take part (iv) of the test.

Disclosure and barring service (DBS) criminal records check

The applicant will be required to obtain an enhanced DBS check from the Disclosure and Barring Service. This check, along with a self declaration, is mandatory for all new drivers and every three years on renewal of licence. In the intervening years, a statutory declaration, completed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths or a Solicitor, must be provided unless the driver subscribes to the DBS Update Service, in which case a self-declaration will be sufficient as long as the driver has given consent for an online certificate status check to be made. A new DBS check will only be required if an online check reveals that the status of the certificate has changed. DBS application forms, together with guidance notes, may be obtained by calling the Licensing Team.

Consideration of convictions

The Licensing Authority will consider all convictions on their merit having regard to its own Statement of Policy (PDF: 42Kb 4 pages) and the advice offered by the Department of Transport Circular 2/92 and Home Office Circular 13/92. A person with a current conviction for serious crime need not be permanently barred from obtaining a licence, but should be expected to remain free of conviction for three to five years, according to the circumstances, before an application is entertained. Some discretion may be appropriate if the offence is isolated and there are mitigating circumstances. However, the consideration should be the protection of the public.

Immigration Act 2016: Provisions to prevent illegal working in the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Sector

With effect from 1 December 2016, immigration checks are a mandatory part of the licensing regimes for taxis and private hire operators under section 37 and Schedule 5 to the Immigration Act 2016. This means that, as a licensing authority, we are prohibited from issuing driver and operator licences to anyone who is illegally present in the UK or not permitted to work in this sector.

Your right to work in the UK will be checked as part of your licence application. You must provide a document or document combination that is stipulated as being suitable for this check. The list of acceptable documents is below. You must provide the original document(s) such as your passport or biometric resident permit so that the check can take place. The document(s) will be copied and the copy retained by us and the original(s) returned to you. Your application will not be considered valid until all the necessary information and original document(s) have been produced.

If there are restrictions on the length of time you may work in the UK, your licence will not be issued for any longer than this period. In such circumstances, the check will be repeated each time you apply to renew or extend your licence. If, during this period, you are disqualified from holding a licence because you have not complied with the UK’s immigration laws, your licence will lapse and you must return it to the licensing authority. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

The Home Office has developed an online right to work checking service, which enables us to check the current right to work of a person who holds either a biometric residence permit (BRP) or biometric residence card (BRC), or who holds online immigration status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme. The system works on the basis of the individual first viewing their own Home Office right to work record and providing us with the ‘share code’ issued to them by the online service to enable us to access their current right to work details.

Changes for taxi and private hire licence applications from April 2022

With effect from 4 April 2022, the rules are changing for any individual, company or partnership applying for a taxi, private hire or private hire vehicle operator licence.

If you are:

  • renewing a licence
  • applying for the same type of licence you previously held, that ceased being valid less than a year ago
  • applying for the same type of licence you already hold with another licensing authority

you will need to complete a tax check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

If you:

  • have never held a licence of the same type before; or
  • had a licence of the same type that ceased to be valid a year or more before making this application

you will not need to complete a tax check but you should follow the 'confirm your tax responsibilities' guidance.

You must carry out the tax check yourself.  You cannot ask a tax agent or adviser to do this on your behalf.  The licensing authority will be unable to consider your application to renew your licence if your tax check is not complete.  You must undertake the tax check before you submit your application to renew.

See complete a tax check for a taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence on GOV.UK for all the information on how to register and undertake your mandatory tax check.

Application forms

Please note that the Council is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and, to this end, may use the information provided in making a licence application for the purposes of preventing and detecting fraud. For the same purposes, it may also share the information with other public bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds. For further information, see the National Fraud Initiative page on our website or contact a member of the licensing team.

Conditions/guidance notes

Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Under the Equality Act 2010 ("the Act"), local authorities are permitted to maintain a list of wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles. Please see our list of wheelchair accessible vehicles designated for the purposes of S165 of the Act. If you notice any apparent error or omission in the list, please contact a member of the Licensing Team.

Licensing register

We are required by law to maintain a register containing details of various licences issued. This register can be viewed online or can be viewed at the Town Hall, Penrith during normal office hours.

View the online Licensing Register.

If you notice any apparent error or omission in the register, or if you have any query about it, please contact a member of the Licensing Team.

Authorised vehicle test centres

The following vehicle test centres are authorised to test hackney and private hire vehicles. For information on how to become an authorised vehicle test centre, please contact the licensing team.

List of Authorised Vehicle Test Centres
Name Post Town Telephone Number
AB's MOT Test Centre Penrith 01768 867513
Arnold Clark Penrith 01768 861500
Ballantynes Garage Penrith 01768 881223
Castle Garage Penrith 01768 890030
Chambers Garage Ltd Penrith 01768 863075
Cowperthwaites Garage Penrith 01768 891188
D & H Auto Care Penrith 01768 891891
Eden Garage Penrith 017683 61212
Frank Allison Ltd Kirkby Stephen 017683 41328
HQ MOT Centre Penrith 01768 862376
Intercars of Penrith Penrith 01768 840111
Jim Walton (Penrith) Ltd Penrith 01768 864555
Johnstones Garage Kirkby Stephen 017683 71246
Lakeland Commercials Ltd Kirkby Stephen 017683 72627
Mark Johns Motors Kirkby Stephen 017683 71223
Sammy Lees Motors Ltd Appleby 017683 53238
Ullswater Road Garage Penrith 01768 864546
Last updated: Wednesday, 24 April, 2024.