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Taxi and private hire vehicle driver licence

Anyone who drives a hackney carriage (more commonly called a ‘taxi’) or private hire vehicle must hold a hackney carriage/private hire vehicle drivers licence, issued by us.

Although Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council has come together to form a new council: Somerset West and Taunton, there are currently still two separate taxi and private hire licensing areas, with separate policies, licence conditions and fare tariff. You can apply for a licence for either area or make two applications for both.

Knowledge Test

Please Note - Before making your application for a hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence, you must first pass the Knowledge Test. See the Knowledge test page for details of how to book onto the knowledge test.

It is only once you have passed the knowledge test that you can then make an application with us.

Applying for a licence

If you’re applying for a licence in the former Taunton Deane Borough Council area, you must read our TDBC policy handbook. It explains how we deal with applications, in particular from people with criminal convictions.

For licences in the former West Somerset Council area, you must read the policy and WSC policy handbook to make sure you fully understand the requirements relating to drivers.

In deciding whether you are suitable to be granted a licence or not, we will take into consideration:

  • your health
  • any endorsements or convictions on your DVLA driving licence
  • any convictions, reprimands or cautions you have ever received
  • your attitude and demeanour

Completing and submitting the application form

You will need to submit:

  • Licence Application Form
  • Medical Advisor Form
  • Driving Assessment Certificate
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form, this is completed online
  • 3 x ID documents suitable for DBS check (including proof of your right to work in the UK)
  • Passport sized photograph
  • Application fee

You must fill in all the forms except the 'Questions for Medical Adviser'. You must arrange a medical examination with your GP or another doctor, who will complete this part of the form.

You can apply for a 1, 2 or 3-year licence. The cost of a 1 year licence is £192, 2 year £222 and 3 year £251.

To complete your Driver Assessment:

We are working in partnership with Somerset based driving instructor/examiner Bryan Booth so that an equivalent to the DVSA taxi assessment test is available locally. For more information or to book a test, please contact Bryan on 07970 857027.

You will be sent a link from the Licensing Department for the DBS to complete the application online, via the U Check system.

Please see the list of suitable DBS ID documents, this will tell you about the types of document we can accept. We only accept domestic bills relating to the address and show that you are the bill payer. These include gas, electric, water, landline phone and council tax bills. You cannot use your driving licence as proof of your address.

We won’t accept your application if it is incomplete.

When we get a full application, we’ll complete your DBS ID check with you at the Council Offices, We will also need to check you are legally able to work in the UK.

It can take 2-10 weeks to get the results. You can track the progress of your Disclosure using your DBS reference number. If you receive a paper certificate from the DBS which you must send or bring to Licensing for checking.

If we grant you a licence, we’ll aim to give you a paper licence and badge within 14 days of reaching a decision. If we do not to grant you a licence, we will send you a notice and you can appeal the decision.

You’ll get a licence document and badge. The badge must be worn at all times when you’re working. The licence will last for the duration of the licence as granted. We’ll contact you about 2 months before the licence runs out to remind you to renew it however, the responsibility for renewing your licence in time will remain with you.

This licence will allow you to drive both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles in the area you choose. You will need to apply for a hackney carriage vehicle licence or apply for a private hire vehicle licence for any vehicle that you drive.

Laws and regulation

Licences to act as the driver of a hackney carriage/private hire vehicle are issued under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and Town Police Clauses Act 1847.