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You will need a private hire vehicle licence if you own or drive a private hire vehicle (minicab).

Customers must book private hire vehicles (minicabs) in advance, and can't hail them on the street.

You also need a driver licence, and the person taking your bookings needs an operator licence.

The same authority needs to issue the private hire vehicle licence, the driver licence and the operator licence.

To operate in Chelmsford, all three of the licences need to be from us. Therefore, if you have a private hire vehicle licence from us, you will also need a driver licence from us. You can only accept work from an operator with an operator licence from us.

When you licence your vehicle for the first time, it must be less than four years old. When you renew your licence, your vehicle must not be more than twelve years old.

When you licence your vehicle for the first time, it must:

  • pass a mechanical inspection test
  • comply with Euro 6 emissions standards
  • be less than four years old when first licensed (or if your vehicle is exempt)
  • be less than six years old when replaced (unless your vehicle is exempt)

To apply for a private hire vehicle licence, you will need to:

  • complete the online application form
  • complete a basic DBS check for each owner (unless you already have a driver licence and signed up to the DBS update service)
  • provide the supporting documents (we've listed these below)
  • pay the application fee of £327

Supporting documents

For a private hire vehicle licence, the supporting documents you will need are:

  • a completed proprietorship requisition form
  • proof of a completed basic DBS check
  • a copy of the certificate of your insurance cover, which much include cover for public hire
  • mechanical inspection certificate
  • your log book or bill of sale for the vehicle
  • a certificate of calibration (if your vehicle is fitted with a taximeter)

You need to submit these supporting documents as part of the application form.

What happens next

Once we receive your application, we will:

  • acknowledge it within three days
  • contact you to take the fee, if you have chosen that option
  • check that your application and supporting documents are correct
  • arrange to view the vehicle (if necessary)
  • notify you of our decision within five working days after you have submitted your application and met all requirements
  • issue your licence

Your private hire vehicle licence will be valid for one year from the date we granted it.

You need to apply for a new licence every year, before the current licence expires.

To renew your licence, you will need to:

Supporting documents

For a private hire vehicle licence renewal, the supporting documents you will need are:

You need to submit these supporting documents as part of the application form.

What happens next

Once we receive your renewal application, we:

  • may arrange to view the vehicle
  • will notify you of our decision

The application fee for a new licence is £327. The cost to renew a current licence is £318.

You can pay by phone or bank transfer. 

We don't store your payment details when you contact us to make a payment. You will need to have your card details available each time you contact us to make a payment.

By phone

You can pay the application or renewal fee by calling our Licensing team on 01245 606606.

By bank transfer

You can pay by bank transfer. Our bank details are:

  • Account name: Chelmsford City Council
  • Sort code: 60-05-13
  • Account number: 55600018

You need to include the vehicle licence number (for example, PH001) as the reference when you pay by bank transfer.

Hackney carriage or private hire vehicles must meet Euro 6 emissions standards if:

  • your vehicle remains licensed past 31 March 2024
  • your vehicle is being licensed for the first time
  • you replace your current licensed vehicle after 31 March 2020

Euro 6 is a set of standards introduced by the European Commission to reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhausts.

Your vehicle needs to:

  • have an initial mechanical inspection, and then one every six months
  • pass an MOT after three years, and then annually

You can  book a taxi inspection or MOT for your vehicle at our Freighter House test centre.

You should get your vehicle checked before submitting it for inspection.

If you replace your private hire vehicle due to accidental damage or major repairs, you need to tell us. You will also need to pay the fee of £91.

When replacing a vehicle on a hackney carriage licence, the supporting documents you will need are:

You need to submit the supporting documents to us within the online application form.

We will only issue the new licence if we receive your application and supporting documents.

We do not regulate the fare you can charge your customers. The fare should be agreed between the operator and the customer when the customer makes the booking. 

Private hire vehicles fitted with a taximeter must charge the agreed tariff. You can view our hackney carriage fares.

You can request replacement items for your private hire vehicle.

The law only requires hackney carriage vehicles to have a taximeter. However, where a private hire vehicle decides to have a taximeter fitted, they must be calibrated to the adopted tariff.

A specialist service calibrates the mechanism against a current list of charges and you then receive a certificate.

You can get a taximeter calibration and certificate via Andy Ashton by calling 07973215655 or by emailing andyashton@ntlworld.com.

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