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Applying for a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licence

To use a vehicle as a hackney carriage (taxi) or private hire vehicle within Dacorum, you must be granted a vehicle licence by us. This page sets out details of how applications can be made, and how we will consider and determine applications for licences.

Pre-licensing criteria

In order to ensure the suitability of vehicles for use as taxis or private hire vehicles, we have adopted a number of criteria which vehicles must meet. Before applying for a licence, you should ensure that the vehicle you intend to licence satisfies these criteria.

 Hackney Carriage vehicles - licensing criteria (PDF 85KB)
 Private Hire vehicles - licensing criteria (PDF 84KB)

In particular, any new hackney carriage must be able to safely carry passengers in wheelchairs, having been designed and built for this purpose (existing licensed saloons and MPVs may be replaced with a non-wheelchair vehicle, providing the licence has been continuously maintained for non-accessible vehicles).

After-market modifications to vehicles are not permitted, unless they have been formally approved through an IVA test at a DVSA test station (known as a 'voluntary basic IVA test').

If you are considering a vehicle that does not comply with the above criteria, we strongly recommend that you contact us to discuss your options before you make a commitment to purchase the vehicle. We accept no liability for losses arising as a result of the refusal of a licence application.

Applying for a licence

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  • MOT and compliance test

    Before making an application for a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle licence, your vehicle must pass an MOT test and a compliance test at our nominated testing station to ensure that it is roadworthy, safe, mechanically sound, of suitable appearance, and provides the comfort level expected by paying customers.

    Please contact the test station directly to book an appointment. You will also need to pay the test station the £52 test fee when you attend for the test.

    MOT test stations
    Primary test station  Alternative test stations 
    Ed's Treads Hemel Hempstead
    Orchard Street, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9DT
    Phone: 01442 244027 
    Ed's Treads Watford
    25-27 Harwoods Road, Watford, WD18 7RB
    Phone: 01923 250083
      Ed's Treads Aylesbury
    Unit 2A Broadfields, Aylesbury, HP19 8BU
    Phone: 01296 339996

    During the test, vehicles will be assessed against:

    If the vehicle satisfies all of the above standards, both an MOT certificate and a compliance certificate will be issued. The vehicle must have received both of these certificates before it will be licensed.

    When renewing a current vehicle licence, vehicles can be tested up to one month before the current licence expires. If the vehicle has not passed both parts of the test by the time the licence expires (for example, if it needed repairs which have taken time to arrange), the proprietor will be allowed to re-licence the same (or a similar) vehicle up to 28 days after the expiry of the previous licence. However, the vehicle cannot be used for taxi or private hire work without a current licence in force.

  • Make a licence application

    Download and complete the vehicle licence application form below.

     Hackney carriage / private hire vehicle licence application form (PDF 451KB)

    Completed application forms should be sent to us by post, or handed in to the reception desk at The Forum in Hemel Hempstead..

    Forms must be accompanied by:

    • a copy of the vehicle's V5C registration certificate (or if you have only recently purchased the vehicle, the V5C/2 new keeper's slip or similar evidence of ownership, such as a receipt or bill of sale)
    • a copy of a certificate of insurance for the vehicle, which includes taxi/private hire use (ordinary motor insurance, or motor trade insurance, will not be acceptable)
    • a copy of the MOT and the Compliance test certificates, issued by our nominated test station within the last month
    • for new hackney carriages, a taximeter calibration certificate
    • if the vehicle is owned by someone else, their written consent to the vehicle being licensed
    • payment for the application fee (please see our Fees and charges page for current amounts), either as a cheque payable to 'Dacorum Borough Council', or a request to contact you for credit or debit card payment

    If all required documents have been supplied and everything is satisfactory, we will process your application and issue a licence and plates within three working days. We will contact you when these are available for you to collect.

  • Licence conditions

    Any vehicle licences we issue will be subject to the appropriate standard licence conditions below, breaches of which could result in the licence being suspended or revoked.

     Hackney carriage vehicle licence - standard conditions (PDF 43KB)

     Hackney carriage - byelaws (PDF 45KB)

     Private hire vehicle licence - standard conditions (PDF 27KB)

    In certain circumstances, we may allow hackney carriages to display external advertising, subject to the advert being approved by licensing officers and complying with the following policy. This policy does not apply to door signs bearing the details of a company providing bookings to the vehicle. We do not permit private hire vehicles to carry any advertising other than an operator's door sign.

     Hackney carriage advertising conditions (PDF 16KB)

  • Stretch limousines and novelty vehicles

    We licence a number of stretch limousines and other types of novelty or specialist vehicles as private hire vehicles, and we apply special considerations to these vehicles when we consider whether to issue licences. Please see the document below for further details.

     Stretch limousine policy and conditions (PDF 52KB)

  • Right of appeal

    If we refuse your application for a vehicle licence, you will have a right of appeal to the courts against our decision. Full details will be sent to you with the notice setting out the decision.

    You may also appeal to a magistrates' court against conditions attached to a vehicle licence.

Maintaining the licence

Once the vehicle has satisfactorily completed both parts of the test, and we have seen evidence of an appropriate insurance policy, a licence will be issued allowing the vehicle to be used for up to 12 months as a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, as applicable. We will also issue a set of licence plates which must be displayed on the vehicle at all times.

While the licence is in force, the licence-holder must inform us in writing of:

  • any change to their address,
  • any accidents or incidents involving the vehicle, or
  • any change to the details of the vehicle (an administration fee is payable for changes relating to personal number plates, or the vehicle's colour, structure or capacity).

Licence-holders must notify us if they sell the licensed vehicle (the new owner will also be required to apply for a new licence in their own name, using the above application form). It is not possible to sell or retain the 'plate' (licence) on its own - it must be transferred to the new owner with the vehicle to which it relates.

If it becomes necessary to change the vehicle which is licensed during the period of the licence (for example, if the vehicle is damaged in an accident), any replacement vehicle will be required to go through the process set out above. A lower fee will be payable if the licence-holder wishes to substitute the vehicle for the remaining period of the previous licence - otherwise the full application fee will be payable, and a 12-month licence will be issued.

Renewal applications can be made prior to the expiry of the licence, following the same process and application form as set out above. If a renewal application is not made before the expiry date, the licence will lapse and any continuation rights will be lost.

Vehicles over 10 years of age will be required to undergo a second MOT and Compliance test half way through the licence period. The licence-holder will be responsible for arranging this test directly with our test station, including payment of the appropriate test fee. Failure to complete this test may lead to suspension of the licence.

Vehicles may be periodically stopped and inspected by licensing officers or the police, to ensure that they are being maintained correctly and are complying with both road laws and our licensing conditions.

More information

For more information on applying for a vehicle licence, please call 01442 228225 or 228487, or email licensing@dacorum.gov.uk.