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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.

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.

The application pack is only available in paper form. To request a pack, use the general enquiries online form.

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

To be eligible for a licence, you must also:

  • complete our ‘knowledge and suitability interview’, where an officer will assess your demeanour and ask you questions based on the licence rules
  • provide proof you have completed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) taxi assessment test (a practical driving test) or an equivalent test

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.

Completing and submitting the application form

The pack will contain:

  • the licence application form
  • questions for Medical Adviser form
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form
  • list of ID documents suitable for DBS form
  • DBS privacy policy form

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.

There is a guide to filling in the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application form on Gov.uk website.

As well as submitting the forms, you will need to provide a recently taken, passport sized photograph of you and pay the application fee. The cost to apply for a 3 year licence is £265.

Once you’re ready to send in your application you must get in touch with us to arrange an appointment. You’ll have to provide us with at least three documents prove your identity, which we will photocopy. This is part of the DBS process but also to check you are legally able to work in the UK. The list of suitable ID documents you receive in the application pack 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.

We won’t accept your application if you haven’t brought enough ID, can’t pay the fee or haven’t completed the forms.

When we get a full application, we’ll send off your DBS form. It can take 2-10 weeks to get the results. You can track the progress of your Disclosure using your DBS form reference number. You will receive a paper certificate from the DBS which you must send or bring to us.

Once we have your forms, DBS certificate and proof you have completed the taxi assessment test, you will be invited to attend the ‘knowledge and suitability interview’. Once you have passed this interview, we will make a decision.

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 three years. We’ll contact you about 2 months before the licence runs out to remind you to renew it.

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.