Private hire guidance and information
Please note that Cheshire West and Chester Council now issue a three year Dual Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence. Please use the links in list below most relevant to your enquiry:
Dual drivers licence
- Applying for a new dual drivers licence
- Applying for a Criminal Records disclosure
- Making an appointment
- Organising a medical examination
- Knowledge test
- Renewing your dual drivers licence
- Required driver documents
Private hire vehicles
- Applying for a new / renewing a private hire vehicle licence
- Organising a vehicle test
- Making an appointment
- Required vehicle documents
Dual drivers licence
Applying for a new dual drivers licence
A Licensed Driver is in a position of great responsibility, you are entrusted with the safety of your passengers, you will often be working with young children and vulnerable adults and very often will be the first impression of the area many visitors receive upon arrival. It is for these reasons and many more that all Licensed Drivers are required to undergo an extensive vetting process before they can be allowed to transport the fare paying public.
You will need to apply for a Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure, undergo a Medical Examination, provide references, obtain the BTEC Transporting Passengers By Taxi and Private Hire qualification, pass a knowledge test and you must have held a full UK/EU Drivers Licence for at least 12 months.
You can obtain an application form by visiting the Application Forms page or by contacting your local Licensing Team.
Renewing your dual drivers licence
You must renew your Licence every year, although we will make every effort to send you a reminder before your licence expires - It is your responsibility to ensure you make application to renew your licence before it's expiry. Once your licence expires, it cannot be renewed and you must apply for a brand new licence (Including a Criminal Records Disclosure, Medical Examination and provide References).
All Dual Drivers must submit a new Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure every three years, you must also undertake a Medical Examination with your GP every 6 years from the age of 45, until you turn 65, from this point on you must undergo a Medical Exam every year upon renewal of your licence.
Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosures are required from all Dual Licensed Drivers upon initial application and every three years thereafter. This is an important part of the vetting procedure required for a position affording this level of trust and responsibility.
The Licensing Team can accept an enhanced disclosure requested through Cheshire West and Chester Council Integrated Transport Service in connection with a White Badge. This is provided that the applicant agrees we can accept it and that the disclosure is submitted to the Licensing Team less than three months since the date of issue.
Please contact the Licensing Team to obtain an application form for a enhanced disclosure. Do Not Send it Back to CRB, you must bring this with you to your appointment together with a cheque or postal order made payable to Cheshire West and Chester Council or cash. We will send it to the CRB on your behalf.
Important! Whenever you are due to undergo a CRB check, you must bring with you documentation to prove your identity and address, please look at the list below for examples of what may be required.
- Bank / Credit Card / Store Card Statement (Under 3 Months Old)
- Birth Certificate
- Driving Licence (Full UK or EU)
- Marriage Certificate
- Utility Bill / TV Licence / Council Tax Bill (Under 3 Months Old)
Organising a medical examination
Before you can be Licensed to drive a Private Hire Vehicle, you must first be declared medically fit to do so. To achieve this you must take one of our Medical Examination Forms, which can be found in the Applications Forms section, to your GP for them to complete.
The examination must be performed by your own GP or by another Doctor at the same practice. It must be performed at your regular practice so as to ensure that the doctor performing the examination has access to your medical history records.
Your GP may well charge a fee for this service, the cost of which must be met by the applicant and cannot be reimbursed by the Council. It is also important to note that there may be a waiting period involved so it is useful to book the exam within plenty of time before your appointment with the Licensing Team.
A Medical Examination must be performed before your Licence can be granted and every 6 years following your 45th birthday. After your 65th birthday you must undergo a Medical Examination every year.
All new applicants for a Dual Drivers Licence must provide two positive references, one of which must be from current or previous employer. Cheshire West and Chester Council will contact these people and verify the information you have provided.
Making an appointment
It is important to note that the Licensing Teams for Cheshire West and Chester Council operate an Appointment Only system. If you arrive at the office without an appointment you will not be seen until the next available appointment time.
To book an appointment either to make your application, or just to discuss becoming a Private Hire Driver or Licensing your Vehicle, please call your local Licensing Team.
For your initial application appointment, you will be required to present the following documents:
- Full UK or EU Driving Licence (Both the Card and Paper Sections)
- Completed Application Form (Must be signed by a Private Hire Operator licensed by Cheshire West and Chester Council)
- Completed Medical Examination Form
- Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure Application Form (Including the required documentation to prove your identification and your address - for more details, see the Criminal Records Bureau section above)
- Cheque, Postal Order or cash for the appropriate fee. Cheques and Postal Orders made payable to Cheshire West and Chester Council
For an appointment to renew your Licence you will need:
- Full UK or EU Driving Licence
- Completed Renewal Application Form
- Your old badge
- A medical examination if required
- Every 3 years you must submit to a new Criminal Records Bureau check. For your appointment your will once again need to supply the application form and documentation to prove your identification and address even if you have not changed address since your last CRB Disclosure.
In accordance with current legislation the Licensing Team reserve the right to request any additional information or documentation that they deem necessary. This may include a DVLA check of your Driving history. Any additional costs incurred by these or other checks must be met by the applicant.
Cheshire West and Chester licensed driver qualification
The Cheshire West and Chester Licensed Driver qualification is compulsory pre-requisite for new drivers applying for a licence. It has been developed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and West Cheshire College and forms part of the BTEC 'Transporting Passengers By Taxi and Private Hire'. Whilst not compulsory, at the present time, for existing licensed drivers, the Council would encourage existing drivers to obtain the qualification. Elements of the qualification include:
- Key local locations,
- CW&C driver and vehicle conditions and local bye laws,
- Local and tourist information,
- Customer Service,
- Equality and Diversity,
- Disability Awareness,
- Passenger Safety,
- Carriage of Luggage,
- Map Reading and Route Planning,
- Taxi and Private Hire legislation and enforcement issues,
- Practical sessions to deal with the health and safety of self and others and assisting clients who may have disabilities.
Details of the qualification can be obtained from: West Cheshire College 01244 656555.
Private hire vehicles
Applying for a new or renewing a private hire vehicle licence
For a vehicle to be Licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle, it must undergo extensive testing and vetting to ensure it is suitable to transport members of the public.
To apply for your vehicle to be Licensed you must first organise a a Vehicle Test at one of the Council Approved Testing Stations (See Below). Once the Vehicle has passed this test you must telephone the Licensing Team and arrange an appointment to Licence the Vehicle. Be sure to bring all the required documents (See Below) to prevent your application being delayed.
To obtain an application form to renew an existing Licence, please visit the Application Forms section.
Organising a vehicle test
All Private Hire Vehicles must undergo a thorough mechanical and cosmetic examination to ensure it is both safe to carry members of the public and is in good condition. Under the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1976, Local Authorities are given the power to set a higher standard of Test and insist that Vehicles conform to these requirements in order to be Licensed.
The Council has approved 7 garages within the Chester District, along with the Council's Testing stations in Vale Royal and Ellesmere Port as Approved Vehicle Testing Stations. You will need to contact one of the stations to arrange an appointment for them to test your vehicle before you arrange an appointment to Licence your Vehicle.
Ensuring Public Safety is the Council's highest priority when Licensing either Vehicles, Drivers or Operators. Therefore the Council's Vehicle Tests are to a very high standard, higher than that of a standard Vehicle MOT. Once your vehicle has passed it's test, the Garage will issue you with a Test Certificate.
The fee for a Vehicle Test is set by the testing Garage. The Council have set a maximum fee that can be charged as the current MOT fee plus 50%. It will be the choice of the Garage to decide their own fee either below or at this maximum level.
You can download a list of the approved testing station and a breakdown of the testing standards employed during the test by clicking the appropriate link in the list below. (Please note that you will need Adobe Reader Software to view these files. You can download this software free of charge.
Guidelines for vehicle testing
- Council vehicle inspection guidelines (PDF, 136KB)
- List of City Council approved testing stations (PDF, 10KB)
It is very important to note that your Vehicle Test Certificate will only be valid for One Month. You must apply for your Vehicle Licence before this period expires.
Once your vehicle has passed it's test, you will need to bring certain documents with you to your appointment with the Licensing Team.
- Completed Private Hire Vehicle Application Form
- Vehicle Test Certificate
- Your old plates
- Vehicle Registration Document (V5 - This must be in the Applicant's name and current address)
- Valid Insurance Certificate or Cover Note
All documents must be originals - photocopies and faxes will not be accepted.
If you have any queries that are not answered by the above guidance, please contact the Licensing team.