Taxis and private hire vehicles

Apply for a taxi or private hire vehicle licence

All taxis and private hire vehicles need a vehicle licence that allows the holder to work anywhere in the South Somerset District Council area.

The licence is valid for 12 months. We will remind you about renewing the licence a month before it expires.

Separate vehicle licences must be held by anyone who wants to use a vehicle as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle. A licence must be held for each vehicle used.

Hackney carriage vehicle licence

A hackney carriage vehicle licence (white plate) allows you to:

  • work anywhere in the South Somerset area
  • undertake work that starts or ends outside South Somerset
  • work from the ranks or be hailed on the street
  • undertake private hire work

You can only use ranks in South Somerset.

Private hire vehicle licence

A private hire vehicle licence (yellow plate) allows you to:

  • work anywhere in South Somerset, taking pre-arranged bookings only
  • undertake pre-arranged bookings that start or end outside South Somerset

Private hire vehicles cannot:

  • work from the ranks
  • be hailed on the street

All private hire vehicles must also work under a 'Private Hire Operators licence'.

All licensed vehicles will be provided with an internal and external plate. In addition to this, all Private Hire Vehicles licensed by us will be given two side door panel licenses, clearly displaying their Private Hire Status.

A South Somerset District Council badged driver can only drive a South Somerset District Council plated vehicle.

  1. Do I need a vehicle licence?

    You will need a vehicle licence for every vehicle you use to transport passengers for hire or reward.  

  2. How much is a vehicle licence?

    The fee for a vehicle licence is:

    • £311.00 for a Hackney Carriage
    • £286.00 for a Private Hire licence

  3. How do I apply for a vehicle licence?

    To apply for a licence, you will need to:

      • Vehicle registration document
      • Bill of sale if the vehicle has been purchased recently and the change of registered keeper is being processed
      • EC certificate of conformity for purpose built wheelchair accessible vehicles
      • Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) for the fixings of wheelchair restraints for converted wheelchair accessible vehicles
      • Valid Motor Insurance
      • Valid Public liability insurance
      • Valid MOT
      • Additional wheelchair accessible certification (if wheelchair accessible)
      • Certificate of meter calibration (Hackney carriages only, at point of first application and where the meter rate has changed)
    • Make a payment

  4. What happens next?

    A case officer will review your application and will contact you if any other information is needed.

    If no further information is required, and the application is valid, we will let you know and notify you to book in a vehicle test at our Lufton site.

    If we believe that the hackney carriage is to be used entirely or predominantly remotely from South Somerset District Council's area on a pre-booked basis, then the application for a licence will normally be refused.

  5. The duration of vehicle licences

    We will normally grant a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licence for 12 months. This is the statutory maximum duration.

  6. Acceptable vehicles for use as hackney carriages and private hire vehicles

    Providing it meets the eligibility criteria and application standards, we will normally disregard the age of your vehicle when deciding whether to grant or renew your private hire vehicle licence

    Vehicles which have not been plated before must be under 5 years old (from the date of first registration) and wheelchair accessible.

  7. Testing a vehicle

    To check safety, roadworthiness and suitability, we normally require your vehicle to be tested before we grant or renew your hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licence. This inspection will take place at our Lufton depot in Yeovil.

    We will also require all vehicles to have a valid MOT certificate.

  8. Number of passengers

    The number of people carried in a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle can impact on public safety and determine the licensing regime for that vehicle.

    The total number of passengers that may be carried in a vehicle will be stated in the licence plate and conditions.

    We will normally only grant licences to vehicles that can carry between 4 and 8 passengers. This is the statutory maximum number of passengers before a public service vehicle licence is also needed.

    However, the actual number of passengers that can be carried by a vehicle will normally be decided by the following:

    • the manufacturers recommendations
    • the number of passenger seats specified on the DVLA vehicle registration document V5
    • the number of available seats and suitably fitted seat belts
    • the vehicle specification

  9. Failure to comply with conditions

    A breach of conditions and any requirements may result in advice, warnings, suspension, revocation or refusal to renew a licence.

    Example Offences

    • Giving false information on Hackney carriage application = Maximum of 12 penalty points
    • Failure to notify the transfer of a vehicle licence = Maximum of three penalty points
    • Concealing or defacing a vehicle licence plate = Maximum of six penalty points
    • Failure to return a plate after notice has been given following expiry, suspension or revocation = Maximum of 12 penalty points 
    • Failure to report an accident within 72 hours = 6 penalty points
    • Failure to produce insurance upon request = maximum 6 penalty points

    If you get 12 or more penalty points on your licence in one year, you will have to go before the licensing committee, who will decide if further action will be taken against you.

    For a full list of all offences and the relevant penalty points view our Taxi Licensing Policy.

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