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Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle and driver licences

Guidance for applicants for a driver's licence

Legislation

Under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 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, and
  2. the applicant is 19 years of age or over and has held a full DVLA licence for at least 12 months.

Application

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 two passport type photographs and the applicant's DVLA licence. A maximum of six penalty points are permitted upon first application.

Medical form

The medical form must be signed by the applicant's own GP. 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. At 70 years of age the medical requirement will be an annual event.

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) 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 when renewing the licence. 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 of 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, which may include the licensing authority checking your immigration status with the Home Office. We may otherwise share information with the Home Office. You must therefore 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.

Applicants are reminded that, to operate a private hire vehicle, they must first be licensed as a Private Hire Operator. Before submitting such an application, they must contact the Planning Department with regard to the change of use of the property.

Application forms

Please note that we are 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 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 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 by Eden District Council to test hackney (taxi) and private hire vehicles.

Name Post Town Telephone Number
AB's MOT Test Centre Penrith 01768 867513
Arnold Clark Penrith 01768 861500
Ballantynes Garage Penrith 01768 881223
Chambers Garage Ltd Penrith 01768 863075
Cowperthwaites Garage (Newlands Close) 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
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
NBM Hire Penrith 01768 890030
Ullswater Road Garage Penrith 01768 864546