Taxi operator licence

A private hire operator licence (taxi operator licence) is required to accept bookings and to dispatch a licensed private hire vehicle. 

All dispatched vehicles must be licensed by the council that issued the operator licence. The drivers of those vehicles must also be licensed by the same council.
 
An operator's licence is issued for five years.

Find out more about taxi driver licences and taxi vehicle licences.

Who can apply for a licence

Consideration must be given to the location of any proposed business, to prevent any disturbance to neighbours.

You must have an operating address within the New Forest District Council area to apply for an operator licence.

You must also:

  • be at least 21 years of age
  • have a right to work in UK
  • have planning permission, if required.

We consult with the relevant planning authority with all applications. Therefore, you need to check whether you need permission to operate this type of business.

If planning permission is required, you must obtain this before a licence will be issued.

Check which planning authority you need to contact by using our online postcode lookup below.

Apply for a taxi operator licence

To apply for a taxi operator licence, you will need to submit to us:

  • a completed private hire operator application form
  • the fee
  • contact details of two business referees
  • a five-year business plan
  • evidence of planning permission, or evidence that you do not require planning permission.

You may also need to submit the following.

  • Evidence of public liability insurance, if members of the public will be able to visit to book a journey or wait for a vehicle.
  • Proof of your right to work in the UK, if you or another applicant is not already a licensed driver with us.
  • A basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check which is less than one month old, if you or another applicant is not already a licensed driver with us.

You can apply for a basic DBS check using the GOV.UK online form below.

Further guidance is provided with the application form. You can download the Private Hire Operator Application Form below.

Icon for pdf Private Hire Operator Application Form [188.85KB]

Receiving your licence

Once we receive all the required documents, there is a four-week consultation period with the relevant planning authority.

Providing no concerns are raised in this time, we can issue you with your taxi operator licence. This will be posted to you.

You must take note of all the conditions applied to the licence.

Business name restrictions

We have certain restrictions on what you can name your taxi operator business.

You cannot use the same or similar name as another taxi operator within our area. We keep an online public register of current operators.

You cannot use the same name that has previously been used within our area and has been registered with Companies House.

You must not include the word 'taxi', 'cab' or any word of a similar meaning or appearance, unless you also have a hackney carriage vehicle licensed by us.

You can contact us to check your business name is acceptable.

Fee

The fee for a taxi operator licence is £509.

Buying an existing business

A taxi operator licence is not transferable.

If you buy an existing business, you need to apply for a new licence and pay the full fee of £509.

The holder of the existing licence must notify us immediately in writing or by email of changes affecting the licence.

Operator responsibilities

You are responsible for both:

  • the general condition and roadworthiness of the vehicles you use
  • ensuring that their drivers are familiar with all relevant conditions, legislation and by-laws.

It is a licence condition that the details of all journeys are recorded by you, including any bookings sub-contracted to or from another operator.

The Licensing Compliance Officer will periodically check your records, and may also visit in response to complaints received about your business or your drivers.

For further information on your responsibilities, download our Taxi Licensing Policy below.

Icon for pdf New Forest District Council Taxi Licensing Policy [171.2KB]

Sub-contracting

A taxi operator accepting a booking can sub-contract it to another operator, wherever they are based. In this case, the second operator, the vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle must all be licensed by the same (second) authority.

The liability remains with the original operator, and full records of the booking must be retained by them.

The original operator must inform the customer when their booking has been sub-contracted to another operator. They must also provide the customer with the name and contact details for that operator.

Changing your operating address

If you change your address during the period of your licence, you will need to let us know. You can download the Change of Business Address form below.

Icon for pdf Private Hire Operator Change of Business Address Form [85.94KB]

Your new operating address must still be within the New Forest District Council area.

There will be a four-week consultation period with the relevant planning authority before a new licence can be issued.

The fee will be worked out based on how much of the five years are left on your current licence. We will contact you to advise what the fee is when we receive your form.

Public registers

We maintain public registers of the following taxi licences:

  • wheelchair-accessible vehicles
  • hackney carriage vehicles
  • private hire vehicles
  • taxi drivers
  • operators.

View a register of all our licensed private hire operators using the link below.

Contact details

You can contact us if you have any questions about taxi operator licences.

Email: licensing@nfdc.gov.uk

Phone: 023 8028 5505

Licensing Services
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

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