The application process for taxi driver licences is the same for both hackney carriage and private hire.

Licences are issued for a maximum period of 3 years, but we may grant licences for a shorter period if deemed appropriate.

The following information gives guidance on how to apply for a new driver licence.

How to apply for a new driver licence

In order to apply for a new hackney carriage or private hire taxi driver licence, you need to have held a full driving licence for 12 months, be over 18 and have the right to work in the UK.

If you have an EC/EEA driver licence, it must be presented with a current DVLA counterpart (DP9). For information on applying for a DVLA counterpart please visit GOV.UK - driving in Britain on a non-GB licence.

Your EC/EEA driver licence will be accepted for two years from the date of residency in the UK. After two years a UK driving licence must be produced.

If you have criminal and/or motoring convictions you may contact the Licensing office on 01772 906910 to discuss their relevance and receive advice on whether to proceed or not.

If you comply with the above requirements but do not possess the VRQ qualification (see below) you need to make an appointment to attend an Induction Course which are regularly held at the Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL. 

Please ring 0333 023 7450 to find out the date of the next Preston Induction Course and to book yourself a place. 

You will need to provide your National Insurance number when making this booking.

Before making an appointment, if you are concerned about issues regarding criminal or motoring convictions, you can find more information in the hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy - the relevance of convictions (Appendix E). 

If you already have your VRQ qualification then please see What if I already have my VRQ Qualification?.

What will I need to bring to the Induction Course?

  • UK, EC or EEA driving licence
  • passport or birth certificate or biometric residence permit
  • Debit or credit card

What will happen at the Induction Course?

At the Induction Course you will:

  • Receive a presentation
  • Complete English and math assessments
  • Receive fee and funding information
  • Receive instruction to obtain medical records
  • Receive medical report form.
  • Receive information on the Council's knowledge test
  • Enrol on the 5 day VRQ course
  • Receive DBS privacy policy document

What is the VRQ course?

This Council requires applicants to pass the BTEC Level 2 course - Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver. 

This is a 5 day course covering the following modules and a practical assessment of loading and unloading wheelchair passengers:

  • Health and Safety
  • Road Safety
  • Customer Service
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Inspections
  • Regulatory Framework
  • Passenger Assistance
  • Routes and Fares
  • Transporting parcels, Luggage and other Items
  • Transporting Children and Young Persons

You will also receive training on how you can assist with identifying incidents of Child Sex Exploitation (CSE).

There will be multiple choice tests for all modules and the pass mark for each module is 70%.

What happens when I have passed the VRQ qualification?

Once you have completed the Induction Course, and successfully passed your VRQ qualification, you will need to complete an application form and pay the required fee of £120. 

The fee is payable when you complete the form so please ensure you have your credit or debit card with you. 

Once you have completed the form and made your payment, you may then book a place on the Knowledge Test.

Apply for a taxi drivers licence

What if I already have the VRQ qualification?

You will not be required to attend the Induction course.

You will need to complete an application form and pay the required fee of £120.  The fee is payable when you complete the form so please ensure you have your credit or debit card with you.  Once you have completed the form and made your payment, you may then book a place on the Knowledge Test.

Apply for a taxi drivers licence

Local Knowledge Test 

Once you have your VRQ qualification, have completed the Taxi Driver Licence application form, and paid the £120 fee, you may book a place on the local knowledge test course.  You will be required to pay a fee of £33 at the time of booking so please have your debit or credit card with you when you book.

We are currently building an online booking system, so you can book and pay for an appointment straightaway.  In the meantime please call 01772 906910 to book and pay the fee of £33 for the Local Knowledge Test. 

Before taking the Local Knowledge test you are advised to attain a good knowledge of Preston and surrounding areas through publication's such as an A to Z of Preston.

To assist you we have produced a list of routes from which the Knowledge Test questions will be selected. You can view a copy of the Knowledge test routes here.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Once you have passed the knowledge test, you should then book a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) appointment. 

We are currently building an online booking system, so you can book and pay for an appointment straightaway.  In the meantime please call 01772 906910 to book and pay the fee of £44 for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) appointment. 

At this appointment you will be required to bring the following:

  • VRQ certificate
  • Completed medical certificate (you may hand this document in at reception at a later date if it is not available on the date of your DBS appointment)
  • Driving licence (to enable us to check on any offences)
  • Passport or birth certificate or biometric residence permit
  • Utility bill showing your home address that is less than 3 months old
  • National Insurance number
  • Debit or credit card

At this appointment you will complete an application for a criminal record check with the Council who will submit it to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).  The fee is £44.

You will also have your photograph taken which will be used for your driver badges.

When I receive my DBS certificate what should I do?

The Council does not receive a copy of your Enhanced certificate from the DBS, so it is important that as soon as you have received it you bring it to reception at the Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL.

When do I receive my hackney carriage or private hire driving licence?

When we have received the following documents we will prepare your licence and badges:

  • VRQ certificate
  • Medical form
  • DBS enhanced certificate

You will receive an SMS message when your licence and badges have been issued so you may collect them from the Town Hall reception desk during office opening hours.

How much is this going to cost?

The largest outlay is the cost of the VRQ course.  However, applicants who use our training provider Antrec Limited to undertake the Induction Course and VRQ may be eligible for funding towards some or all of the cost of the course.

For applicants who are unemployed and receiving benefits, and those working and earning less than £16k per annum, the VRQ course is free

In addition applicants may also receive funding towards other costs such as Council licence fee, DBS fee or knowledge test fee. 

Applicants who earn more than £16k in existing employment will only have to pay 50% for the VRQ course. The current training providers charge £300 for the VRQ course.

Our training provider can also arrange for Group 2 Medicals, for those who are unemployed or earning less than £16k, free of charge.  For applicants earning more than £16k they can offer this service for £54.  This is subject to applicants allowing access to their medical records.

Applicants who wear glasses will need to provide their prescription details.

The application fee (3 year licence)£120
The local knowledge test fee£33
The DBS disclosure application fee 

£44

The National Register of Taxi Licence Revocations and Refusals

We participate in an initiative to help strengthen the taxi and private hire trades for the benefit of both passengers and responsible drivers.

The initiative is a National Register of Taxi Licence Revocations and Refusals.

Applications for both taxi and private hire driver licences will be checked on the register which will include information on persons refused an application or persons having had a taxi or private hire driver's licence revoked by another Council.

Please note that where an applicant's details are flagged on a register search, this will be followed up separately between Councils.

Any such request in relation to your record will be responded to in accordance with our policy in respect of requests for information, disclosure of information and use of information as a result of an entry of NR31.

Request for information and disclosure policy

If there are concerns about your criminal and/or motoring record, then the application will be referred to a hearing before the taxi committee.

Map address Preston Town Hall

Preston City Council, Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL.