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Taxi operator licences

Business person with plus registration

Any person who wishes to operate a taxi private hire service must apply to the council for a private hire operator's licence.

Operator's licences are issued for a period of five years.

Please note that all operating addresses must be within Preston.

For further details on the responsibilities of a private hire operator please visit the private hire operator's licence conditions page.

Important Information - Changes for taxi and private hire licence applications from April 2022

The rules are changing if you're an individual, company or any type of partnership applying for a licence as a:

  • taxi driver
  • private hire driver
  • private hire vehicle operator

If you make an application on or after 4 April 2022 you'll need to complete a tax check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you're:

  • renewing a licence
  • applying for the same type of licence you previously held, that ceased being valid less than a year ago
  • applying for the same type of licence you already hold with another licensing authority

You must carry out the tax check yourself. You cannot ask a tax agent or adviser to do this on your behalf.  If a tax check is not completed, the licensing authority will be unable to consider your application to renew your licence.

You can find all the information you need on how to register and undertake your mandatory tax check at GOV.UK - Changes for taxi, private hire and scrap metal applications from April 2022.  There is also a GOV.UK - Tax Check Factsheet to assist you with this process.  The tax check MUST be undertaken before you submit your application for renewal.  

First-time applicants must give confirmation on their application form that they are aware of the guidance about their tax obligations and have read and understood the requirements which can be viewed at GOV.UK - Confirm your tax responsibilities when applying for a taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence

If you do not confirm that you are aware of the guidance, you will not be issued with a licence.

Why is an operator licence needed?

The reason for licensing private hire operators is for the safety of the public, who will be using operator's premises, vehicles and drivers, arranged through the operator.

A private hire vehicle should only be sent to a customer by a private hire operator who holds an operator's licence.

An operator's licence allows the operator to invite or accept bookings for a private hire vehicle.

A private hire operator must ensure that every private hire vehicle is driven by a person who holds a private hire driver's licence that has been issued by the same local authority.

How to apply for a new or renewal operator licence

You can apply for a new or renewal operator licence by completing the following online form:

Apply or renew a taxi operator licence application

How much is a private hire operator licence?

For taxi fees please visit the taxi licence fees page.

Please note: once you have had your operator licence for nearly 5 years, we will remind you, in writing, to renew your licence before it expires.

What will I need to include in my application?

You will need to include a copy of the following documents:

  • Criminal Record Check Certificate at basic level*
  • Evidence of Public Liability Insurance certificate**
  • Evidence that you have the right to work in the UK.  (More information on the right to work in the UK can be found at GOV.UK - Prove your right to work to an employer.)

* A Criminal Record Check is only required if you do not have a private hire drivers licence with us.

** Public Liability Insurance is only required for operators with a public waiting area.

Please note: if you are applying for your licence online and do not have a digital copy of the relevant documents, you can post, or hand these documents in at the Town Hall reception.

You can also email these documents to us at

How do I get a Criminal Record Check Certificate at basic level

You can apply online for a Basic Disclosure Certificate from the GOV.UK - Disclosure and Barring Service, if your current address is in the UK and you have been living at this address for at least 12 months.

When will I receive my new or renew operator licence

Your licence will be available for collection from the Town Hall reception no later than 5 working days after we have received the following:

  • Private hire operator licence application form
  • Public Liability Insurance (only required for operators with a public waiting area)
  • Criminal Record Check Certificate at basic level (only required if you do not have a private hire drivers licence with this authority)
  • Proof of your right to work in the UK

Please note that you will be contacted by a Licensing Technician when your licence is ready for collection from the Town Hall.

Current private hire operators

To view the list of current private hire operators in Preston please visit the public registers -┬áprivate hire operators register.

Please note that this list also includes those that have wheelchair accessible vehicles available.

Map address Preston Town Hall

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

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