Taxi vehicle licences
Any vehicle carrying eight or fewer passengers for hire or reward must be licensed, and can only be driven by a licensed driver. Both licences must be issued by the same council.
We license hackney carriage vehicles and private hire vehicles. Licences are issued for a maximum period of one year.
A private hire vehicle must receive its work from a licensed operator from the same council.
You must have a dual driver licence issued by us before you can drive a licensed taxi vehicle. Find out more about obtaining a taxi driver licence.
On this page:
Types of taxi vehicle licence
There are two types of taxi vehicle licences.
Hackney carriage vehicle
A hackney carriage vehicle, often referred to as a taxi, can be flagged down or hired at a taxi rank within the New Forest area. They can drive passengers anywhere for a fare.
They are recognised by an illuminated roof sign and a yellow council licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.
Hackney carriage vehicles require an MOT test when they are one year old and annually thereafter.
All new licensed hackney carriage vehicles must be fully wheelchair accessible.
For full conditions and specifications, download our Taxi Licensing Policy.
Private hire vehicle
A private hire vehicle is booked ahead of a journey. It cannot pick up passengers without being pre-booked first through a licensed operator. It also cannot use taxi ranks.
They are recognised by a white council licence plate on the rear of the vehicle.
Private hire vehicles require an MOT test when they are three years old and annually thereafter.
For full conditions and specifications, download our Taxi Licensing Policy.
Vehicle requirements and conditions
Due to the number of various vehicle models available on the market, we don't publish a list of suitable vehicles. A vehicle must meet our criteria in order to be licensed. Please ensure that you have read our Taxi Licensing Policy before purchasing a vehicle and submitting an application.
For reasons of public safety, we won't licence or renew a licence for a vehicle that has been written off by an insurance company, regardless of the category of write-off. Before purchasing a vehicle it is worth considering having a full HPI test done on the vehicle. HPI tests show if a vehicle is written off, stolen, how many previous owners, VIN number and if there is any outstanding finance on the vehicle.
If your current licensed vehicle has an accident and the insurance company write it off you cannot continue to use that vehicle for licensed work. Anyone trying to bring a write-off vehicle back into the trade will have the plates cancelled immediately.
Listed below are the categories insurance companies use to determine write-offs:
Category A - Cannot be repaired.
Category B - Cannot be repaired.
Category C - Can be repaired, but it would cost more than the vehicle's worth.
Category D - Can be repaired and would cost less than the vehicle's worth, but other costs (such as transporting the vehicle) take it over the vehicle's value.
Category N - Can be repaired following non-structural damage.
Category S - Can be repaired following structural damage.
Apply for a taxi vehicle licence
The application procedure for a taxi vehicle licence is the same for a hackney carriage vehicle or private hire vehicle.
We do not allow dual vehicle licences with us or other councils.
You must ensure that your vehicle meets our Taxi Licensing Policy before making an application.
To apply for a taxi vehicle licence, you will need to provide:
- a completed application form
- proof of vehicle ownership, usually the log book (V5)
- a valid MOT test certificate, if required
- a valid Insurance Certificate or Cover Note (stating suitable for taxi/public hire or private hire use).
For a private hire vehicle, if you are not a licensed private hire operator, we will also need a letter of contractual agreement from the operator.
You can download the required taxi vehicle licence application form below.
After you have applied for a taxi vehicle licence, you can book a Council Safety Inspection. Details on how to do this are provided with your application form.
Receiving your taxi vehicle licence
Once passed, we will contact you when your licence is ready to collect. Allow up to 48 hours for us to contact you.
Your licence will include the following:
- a paper licence with conditions, which you must take note of
- exterior rear council licence plate with an approved bracket and fixings
- internal council licence plate and display wallet.
You will need to securely fix a council licence plate to the exterior rear of your vehicle in an approved bracket and the internal front windscreen. They remain our property so must not be altered or defaced in any way.
The plates must be clearly visible at all times.
Your vehicle, all fittings and equipment must be maintained and kept clean at all times.
No alterations to your vehicle should be made without prior approval from us in writing or by email.
A list of taxi vehicle fees can be found below.
- Hackney carriage licence (including plate): £142
- Private hire vehicle licence (including plate): £142
- Vehicle test, under eight years old: £55
- Vehicle test (two a year), eight years old or over: £110
- Re-test: £55
- Replacement plate: £12
- Replacement bracket: £12
- Rear stepped bracket (to fix behind your number plate): £25
- Private plate registration: £51 plus £12 for a replacement plate
The fares for hackney carriage vehicles are set by us. They are displayed on a taximeter fitted in the vehicle.
The fare shown is the maximum that can be charged. If the journey takes the vehicle outside our area or it has been pre-booked, then a different fare may be agreed before the journey begins.
You can download our current taxi fares below.
Fares for private hire vehicles should be agreed with the operator before starting a journey.
All vehicles must have a vehicle test before a licence is issued. This test, carried out at one of our two garage facilities at Totton or Lymington, assesses the overall suitability and safety of the vehicle to be licensed as a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle. Details on how to book an inspection are provided once you have made the vehicle application and paid for it.
Vehicles under eight years of age require one inspection a year.
Vehicles over eight years of age require two inspections a year.
Details of what is checked during the inspection can be found in our Taxi Licensing Policy. In addition, our document has been produced to inform you of the mechanical areas that will be checked at the test, together with the standards that must be met.
A re-test fee of £55 is payable if you:
- fail an inspection
- do not turn up for an inspection
- turn up late for an inspection
- do not wear a hi-visibility vest/jacket (this is a Health and Safety requirement for the sites)
- cancel or rearrange a booking with less than two clear working days notice.
The most common vehicle failures are:
- dirty vehicle or upholstery
- tyres not in good condition or tread less than 2mm
- faulty bulbs or cracked lights
- missing fire extinguisher or not the correct type
- no spare wheel or approved repair kit.
Once the vehicle has passed, the test result is valid for six weeks.
The Equality Act 2010 requires us to identify all vehicles that are fully wheelchair accessible. This means that a passenger can travel in the vehicle while seated in their wheelchair.
A new licensed hackney carriage must be fully wheelchair accessible at all times.
To drive a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, you will need to have undertaken a Wheelchair Assessment in addition to having a taxi driver licence.
We keep an online public register of all wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The drivers of these vehicles have a legal duty to provide additional assistance to passengers at no extra cost.
The decision to install a safety partition screen in your vehicle is your own decision. It is not a mandatory requirement by us.
Due to the wide variety of vehicles licensed and the different types of safety partition screens available, it is not possible to offer specific purchase or installation advice. However, any screen installed should meet our safety guidelines.
You must contact us in the first instance prior to the fitting of the screen to enable us to approve the installation. This may include providing us with information from the manufacturer.
You must also agree the installation with your insurance company.
Following installation the vehicle will be inspected by us and you must sign a declaration providing details of the screen, manufacturer and date of installation.
You need to remove the screen if requested by us.
Renew a licence
Renewing your licence is the same as applying for a new licence, including the fee.
You can renew up to six weeks in advance of your licence expiry. You need to renew before your licence expires. Allow plenty of time to book your Council Safety Inspection as spaces are limited, particularly at the end of each month.
We will send you a renewal pack, usually six weeks before your licence expires. You will need to contact us if this is not received.
Notify us of a change
You must notify us in writing or by email within seven days of any:
- changes to your name
- changes to your address
- motoring convictions, including speeding points
- criminal convictions
- other details that could affect your licence.
You must also notify us of any damage or faults with your vehicle.
This is part of your licence conditions.
Selling or transferring a vehicle
If you sell or transfer your vehicle, you and the new owner will need to complete a transfer application form. You can download this form below.
The form and requested documents need to be submitted within 14 days.
There is no fee payable.
We maintain public registers of licences of the following taxi licences:
- wheelchair-accessible vehicles
- hackney carriage vehicles
- private hire vehicles
- taxi drivers
For full conditions and specifications, download our Taxi Licensing Policy document below.
You can contact us if you have any questions about taxi vehicle licences.
Phone: 023 8028 5505
New Forest District Council