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PCO License Training

There isn’t really any set pco license training or training providers for getting your PCO license but there are certain things you can do to make the process run a lot smoother and ensure you have a good chance of getting your license first time.

Requirements

First off make sure you fulfil the requirements for becoming PCO licensed (Age, Character, Medical fitness, Route finding skills, Driving ability) then the only training you will need to take is to help you pass the topographical skills assessment. This is for the ‘route finding’ requirement of the job as most of what you will be doing is driving, something which you will have probably been doing for quite a while.

Route Finding Skills

Private Hire Driver London MapYou can see the exact specification for the topographical skills assessment on the topographical skills specification list page which will give you an insight into what you will need to know and there are . This will give you an idea of the type of questions you will be asked and you can prepare for these buy buying an A-Z map and a Road Atlas. If you want more coaching and training then most approved testing centres will offer training and advice before your test although you will often have to pay for this service.

A list of accredited topographical testing centres can be downloaded here and this includes their details, costs, and also whether they provide training. Costs for your topographical test range from £25-£50 for a half-day session including training, the assessment, and the pass certificate.

Further Training

Apart from this there is no other formal training apart from when you get a job with a licensed operator who may have their own training and also your own personal training in order to keep to certain standards so that your customers get the best service.

Disabled Drivers

The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination and as such becoming a licensed Private Hire driver or Chauffeur is open to anyone and an employer must make reasonable adjustments for Licensed Disabled Drivers. You will still need to complete an application form like anyone else and still go through the same processes but there are some things to consider before sending in your application though.

Group 2 Medical Fitness

As with all PCO License applicants you will still need to meet the guidelines set out in the DVLA Group 2 medical standards by having a medical check-up with your GP. The examination takes around 30 minutes and you will be asked questions about the following topics:

  • cardiovascular
  • endocrine system
  • musculoskeletal
  • neurological
  • psychiatric
  • vision

medical examinationBased on your answers and the results of the tests your doctor will give their professional opinion as to whether you satisfy the DVLA Group 2 medical standards and they will complete the remainder of the PHV/204 form, sign it, and put their surgery stamp on it. If successful then you will need to send this form back with your PCO license application.

Although it’s important that everyone has the same equal opportunities there is also an aspect of public safety and safety of minicab/chauffeurs passengers and that means that there are some medical conditions that will mean you are not able to get licensed. These include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Insulin treated/insulin dependant diabetes
  • Monocular or poor vision
  • A progressive degenerative illness
  • A history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • A history of mental illness or severe mental handicap
  • A physical disability which might impair the ability to discharge the requirements of a vocational driver
  • Heart problems
  • Neurological or neurosurgical disorders (.e.g strokes, blackouts, head injuries)
  • Certain prescribed medications.

You can read more about the medical fitness examination on this page.

Application Form

You can either download an application form or you can get one posted direct to your home but if you require an application in a larger font size, please call 0343 222 4444 and a large text version can be sent out to you. Please feel free to contact us, we will ensure you get the best possible support and assistance. We are here to make your application a breeze!

Vehicle Modifications

It may be assumed that you may need some modifications made to your vehicle to ensure that you have full control over it and you will need to be assessed by a medical professional and driver assessor who will make recommendations as to what equipment may be needed. You can arrange this by contacting the Driver Licensing Team at Transport for London.

Some examples of vehicle modifications include:

  • Steering wheel ball
  • Hand operated braking controls
  • Hand operated accelerator control
  • Reconfigured foot pedal controls
  • Infra-red control panel for operating vehicle lights, indicators and horn

These will need to be installed and fitted by an authorised motability installer and you will need documentary evidence that this has happened. Before you do any of this though please get in touch personally with the Driver Licensing Team

Telephone: 0343 222 4444 (08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Fridays)
Email: tph.enquries@tfl.gov.uk

What’s stopping you?

Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes so don’t let them stop you applying today.

Buying a second hand Private Hire Vehicle

For those starting out in the minicab trade we usually recommend that you rent a minicab before you buy one so that you get used to the new job and to reduce the upfront costs that come with getting PCO licensed. Any vehicle you do use will need to be a licensed Private Hire Vehicle (PHV).

After a while you may decide to either use your own car or buy a new one, but from January 2012 new rules were bought into place which imposed vehicle age restrictions and these are:

  • Vehicles can be no older that 10 years from January 2012.
  • From April 2012 all vehicles that are new to licensing must be no older than 5 years old.
  • All newly licensed PHVs must meet the Euro 4 standards as a minimum.

So be aware of the above as if you are buying a car which already has a PHV license then it will only have a certain amount of life left in it as a minicab if it is approaching it’s 10th birthday, so a car on an ’05 plate could only be licensed until 2015.

If you’re buying a car that doesn’t have a current PHV license then that must be less than 5 years old and also meet the minimum Euro 4 emissions standards.

With the above rules, currently in 2013, it makes sense to  buy a second hand car that already has a PHV license and is registered with the PCO and has held the registration since before 2012. This will allow you you buy a cheaper car and allow you to re-register the car until it is 10 years old. However, purchasing a brand new car will give you the full 10 years use as a Private Hire Vehicle (so long as you get it licensed every year). You will no doubt clock up a fair bit of mileage so the resale value of a new vehicle will decrease dramatically. Logically, all older vehicles will be phased out and all PHV’s will fall in the new desired age bracket of being no more than 5 years old. But we recommend using the current window of opportunity to it’s advantage.

Where to buy from

The operator you are working for will probably have some contacts for buying second-hand minicabs, but if you do decide to buy a car then TheVehicleSite.co.uk is a great place to look. Below is a list of current minicabs for sale on eBay that are still currently registered with the PCO. Work out whether the car has enough life left in it to justify the cost.

Advice for buying a minicab on eBay

Before you commit to buying don’t be afraid to ask questions of the seller and if possible check out the car in person and also get a car insurance quote for the vehicle so you know you can afford to insure the car if you win the auction. Most importantly make sure you see the correct paperwork to prove that the car is currently licensed with the PCO and get details so you can check it out on the Private Hire Licence Checker on the Transport for London website.

PCO Topographical Skills Specification & Training

The Following is the complete topographical skills specification list and this should prove helpful as anyone wishing to obtain a PCO “London Private Hire Drivers Licence” will need to undergo a Topographical Skills Assessment Test before their PCO Licence can be granted. With this information you should be able to study for your test and have the confidence to pass first time and continue your journey of getting your PCO Licence. Please note, not only do we carry out the topographical skills  assessment test but we also provide fully tailored topographical training packages which guarantee to get you PASSED the first time round. Please read our site for more information.

Part 1 – Overview

1. Introduction and background

2. Assessment structure

3. Module/Unit descriptions

4. Guidance on structure

5. Guidance on delivery – instruction/assessment methods

6. Recording evidence

Part 2 – Topographical Test: Module/unit structure

Part 3 – Detailed assessment criteria

Module/Unit 1: Ability to comprehend a map index, read a map and locate streets or places on a map

Module/Unit 2: Route selection (Local)

Module/Unit 3: Route selection (Intermediate)

Module/Unit 4: Route selection (Long distance)

Module/Unit 5: General Topography

 

Part 1 – Overview

1. Introduction and background

1.1 The PCO award in private hire topographical skills has been designed to meet the needs of private hire drivers wishing to work within the Greater London area. To fulfil the statutory requirement the Licensing Authority requires applicants to show to the authority’s satisfaction (whether by taking a test or otherwise) that they possess a level of:

(a) knowledge of London or parts of London, and

(b) general topographical skills, which appears to the authority to be appropriate.

1.2 In consultation with the private hire trade associations in London, and following widespread public consultation in July 2002, this specification has been developed and is considered to represent the appropriate standard of topographical skill that a private hire driver in London needs to demonstrate in order to become licensed.

2. Assessment structure

2.1 The assessment comprises five specific units or modules, which are:

Module 1 – Map reading ability

Module 2 – Route selection (Local)

Module 3 – Route selection (Intermediate)

Module 4 – Route selection (Long distance)

Module 5 – General topography

2.2 Paragraphs 2.3 to 6.1 below are intended to give practical guidance examples as to how an applicant can be assessed. These examples should not be regarded as prescriptive or necessarily appropriate to every applicant, but should be used as a framework for assessing each applicant in accordance with the detailed examples contained within Part 2 of this document entitled

‘Module Unit Structure’.

2.3 Module 1

The fundamental topographical skill of being able to understand how to use a map, index and grid reference system is assessed in Module 1.

2.4 Modules 2, 3 & 4

Each route selection module requires the applicant to identify the location of the start and finish points, demonstrate the appropriate route between the two points and answer a question related to the selected route.

It is considered appropriate that candidates can demonstrate the ability to use maps of different scales depending on the type of route to be planned. This can be achieved by requiring candidates to demonstrate a variety of route types. By asking for a broad range of skills, the assessment remains fitted to all types of private hire driver in all areas of London.

It is proposed that the assessment system would allow a candidate to select the area of the start points according to personal preference e.g. borough, postcode etc. of their home address or operating centre.

This allows the system to be designed to meet the needs of individual candidates, with questions based on the area in which they choose to operate. By tailoring the questions in this manner, not only are applicants demonstrating topographical skills but also applying their personal knowledge of London.

2.5 Module 5: General Topography

Whilst Modules 1, 2, 3 & 4 are assessing the fundamental topographical skills required of a private hire driver, Module 5 is designed to assess their more general knowledge of London and, as such, it should be assessed without reference to a map or other aid.

It is suggested that the subjects of questions 5D to 5I (as set out in Part 2) would relate to major locations e.g. airports, towns, cities etc. outside the Greater London area.

3. Module/Unit descriptions

3.1 Module/unit 1 is designed to assess the fundamental topographical skill of being able to understand how to use a map index and grid reference system. Module/units 2,3 and 4 require the applicant to identify the location of the start and finish points, demonstrate the appropriate route between two points and answer a question related to the selected route.

3.2 Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to use maps of different scales depending on the type of route to be planned. This can be achieved by requiring candidates to demonstrate a variety of route types.

3.3 It is proposed that the assessment system would allow a candidate to select the area of the start and finish points according to borough, postcode etc of their home address or operating centre. This would allow the system to be bespoke to the needs of individual candidates, with questions based on the area in which they choose to operate. By tailoring the questions in this manner, not only are applicants demonstrating topographical skills but also applying their personal knowledge of London.

3.4 Module/unit 5 is designed to assess the more general knowledge of London and as it should be assessed without reference to a map or other aid. It contains a series of questions on the general knowledge of London in relation to routes and motorways radiating outwards from central London. It may also

 

be relevant, for example, to include, where appropriate, the locations and routes to such places as major stations or transport hubs, famous tourist sites, points of local interest in the applicants chosen area, or locations relevant to the nature of the private hire operation the applicant intends to join.

4. Guidance on structure

4.1 The assessment is written in terms of learning outcomes, assessment requirements and underlying content. The learning outcomes summarise what candidates need to do to successfully achieve each unit. Each outcome is

then translated into concise bullet points of assessment requirements indicating what candidates need to demonstrate as their assessment for the unit. The content section of the specification details the underlying knowledge that candidates need in order to meet the assessment requirements.

4.2 The content will provide trainers with the coverage required by any training programme. Assessments should be designed to meet all assessment requirements. At the end of each unit there is a guidance section giving advice on assessment, delivery and available resources.

5. Guidance on delivery – instruction/assessment methods

5.1 The method of delivery is not prescriptive. The service provider will select an instruction/assessment method, or combination of methods, tailored to best meet the needs or requirements of individual applicants.

5.2 It is expected that the service provider will be able to take account of an applicant’s preferred method of learning and to tailor the assessment so as to maximise the performance of the applicant.

5.3 The delivery of each module should be structured in such a way that the instructor/assessor has enabled the applicant to:

  • learn effectively
  • demonstrate understanding
  • prove understanding.

6. Recording evidence

6.1 For each applicant, a record of the assessment and standard achieved must be retained and presented for inspection on request by the PCO or the applicant.

 

Part 2 – Topographical Test: Module/unit structure

Requirement Implementation Achievement Standard
Module 1Comprehension Ability to read English (or any other language specified by the Licensing Authority) Mandatory
Module 1Ability to read a map A:Understand index reference: A1: Understanding alphabetical indices Mandatory
A2: Understanding of page reference Mandatory
A3: Understanding of grid reference. Mandatory
B:Location identification: B1: Identification of correct page Mandatory
B2: Identification of correct grid square Mandatory
B3: Identification of location Mandatory
C:Location identification: C1: Identification of correct page Mandatory
C2: Identification of correct grid square Mandatory
C3: Identification of location Mandatory

 

Requirement Implementation Achievement Points
Module 2Local Route Selection Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 2A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
2B: Using an atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
2C: Name the nearest station to each of the pick up and drop addresses
Module 3IntermediateRoute Selection Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 3A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
3B: Using atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
3C: Identify ‘n’ postal districts, post towns or postal localities this route travels through.
Module 4Long DistanceRoute Selection(Routes to major locations in south east England) Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 4A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
4B: Using atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
4C: Name a minimum of2 motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the drop address.

 

Requirement Implementation Achievement Standard
Module 5General TopographicalQuestions To be answered without the use of an atlas or mapping tool. 5A: Name and draw the4 primary compass points Mandatory
5B: Name 4 counties bordering London
5C: Name 4 motorways which radiate from the M25 Mandatory
5D: From central London, which direction is XXX? Mandatory
5E: From central London which motorway would you use to reach 5D? Mandatory
5F: From centralLondon, which direction isXXX?
5G: From central London, which motorway would you use to reach 5F?
5H: From central London, which direction is XXX?
5I: From central London, which motorway would you use to reach 5H?

 

Part 3 – Detailed assessment criteria

Module/Unit 1: Ability to comprehend a map index, read a map and locate streets or places on a map

Description of unit

This is the fundamental topographical skill. It is important for a driver to be able to understand how to use a map, index and grid reference system.

Summary of outcomes

1) Ability of the private hire driver to read and understand a map index and map grid referencing.

2) Ability to apply grid references of specific streets or places. Locate their positions and map pages.

Content

1) Ability of the private hire driver to read and understand a map index and map referencing.

2) Ability to read a map this includes, understanding an index reference and identifying a location.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to read map indexes and references Understand alphabetical indicesUnderstand page references
2) Ability to apply map indexes and references Understand applied map indexes and references
3) Location Identification Identify the correct pageIdentify the correct grid squareIdentify the location

 

Module/Unit 2: Route selection (Local)

Description of unit

Using experience gained in unit 1, the candidate is expected to locate the start and finish points of a route (less than five miles), and show an appropriate route between these two points.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points by writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For local routes

1) Find start and finish addresses. (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to plot and demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Demonstrate a variety of route types and ability to use maps of different scales.

4) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses

 

Module/Unit 3: Route selection (Intermediate)

Description of unit

This unit requires the candidate to locate start and finish addresses. Use an atlas to plot the routes (between five to thirty miles) and to identify the postal districts, post towns or localities the route travels through.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For intermediate routes

1) Find start and finish addresses (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

4) Identify an unlimited number of postal districts, postal towns or localities a specified route travels through.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses
4) Identify an unlimited number of postal districts, towns or localities a specified route travels through Recognise an unlimited number of postal districts, towns or localities a specified route travels through

 

Module/Unit 4: Route selection (Long distance)

Description of unit

This unit requires the candidate to locate start and finish addresses and the nearest station to them. Use an atlas to plot the routes (over thirty miles) and to demonstrate a variety of route types. Finally to name two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the finish addresses.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For Long distance routes

1) Find start and finish addresses (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to plot and demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Demonstrate a variety of route types e.g. the quickest route, the shortest route or the route avoiding motorways.

4) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

5) Name a minimum of two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the drop address.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses
4) Demonstrate a variety of route types • Show knowledge of different route types
5) Name a minimum of two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used to reach the finish addresses • Know at least two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used to reach the finish addresses

 

Module/Unit 5: General Topography

Description of unit

Unit 5 is designed to test the candidates’ general knowledge of London and as such it should be tested without reference to a map or other aid. The candidate has to answer a series of questions about routes and motorways radiating outwards from central London.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must know the compass points and develop a good sense of direction.

2) Learn the major motor ways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25.

Content

1) Know the primary compass points and develop a good sense of direction.

2) Learn the major motor ways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25.

3) Learn the counties surrounding London.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) The candidate must know the primary compass point Know the primary compass points and be able to apply this knowledge
2) Learn the major motorways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25 Learn the major motorways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25
3) Learn the counties surrounding London Learn the counties surrounding London

 

Lost PCO License

The simple fact is that if you’ve lost your PCO badge/license then you are not allowed to work as a private hire driver. It’s what marks you out as someone who has completed their training and got their PCO License. You must display your license in your vehicle at all times as this shows that you’re an official minicab driver and not a tout or illegal cabbie. If you have somehow lost your PCO License, it’s so important to get this sorted out so that you can continue working and earning your living.

Met PoliceIt could be that you’ve simple lost it, it’s been damaged, or it’s been stolen. If your badge or licence has been lost in a public place or stolen you must report this to the Police, who will provide you with a ‘Lost in Streets’ or Crime Reference’ number.

Complete the PCO license replacement form

Private hire drivers should download and complete the ‘Application for Replacement Badge and/or License Form‘, mark it for the attention of ‘Private Hire Driver Licensing’ and return it to TFL at the following address:

TFL – Taxi and Private Hire
Palestra
4th floor (Green zone)
197 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ

On this form you will have to include your badge/license number so ensure you always keep a copy of this, along with your contact details, why you need a replacement, and you must also sign a declaration to state that no one else has knowingly got your license.

You will then be sent a replacement badge by Recorded Delivery post and your license will be updated with your new badge number.

If you have any questions telephone the PCO Office direct on 0343 222 4444.

PCO License Jobs

Looking for Private Hire Driver Jobs? If you want to work as a private hire driver in London then you will need to get your PCO License. Without this then you will not be able to work and you won’t be able to earn so get your license application sent off as soon as possible.

Most people who get their PCO license are looking to work as a minicab driver, and there is still plenty of demand for minicab drivers as more and more people are ditching their own cars in favour of public transport, but there are other possibilities too such as working as chauffeurs, or in airport transfers. Having a PCO license opens up a lot of doors in times work is often hard to come by.

Minicab Drivers

As a minicab driver you will have the greatest flexibility in deciding when you want to work and the hours you put in. Most of your journeys will be short and can involve waiting for a call from the office with details of your next fare. If you enjoy driving, meeting new people, and getting out of the office, then becoming a minicab driver could be the job for you.

Being a chauffeur has the same license requirements as a minicab driver but there are several differences:

  • Booking far in advance – Where as minicab drivers will get bookings minutes in advance, a good chauffeur will often be booked up weeks in advance due to the demands of the client who may wish to have use of a chauffeur all day. Time-keeping is especially important in this instance.
  • Dress Code – A chauffeur should always be dressed smartly and this will usually involve wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a conservative tie.
  • Newer Vehicle – If you are working as a chauffeur and using your own vehicle then it must be a fairly new model and also be a high-end make e.g. Mercedes, BMW, etc. It is also essential that the car is kept clean both inside and out.

    If you don’t mind motorway miles then working for an airport transfer company is another good job for someone with a PCO license. You will put in a lot of miles in the job and it will require a car with plenty of boot space, but due to the time/distance you will always have a well-paid fare and tourists will often give you a big tip too.Yet again, these fares are all pre-booked some time in advance.

PCO License Check

Check a Private Hire Driver, or Vehicle

Need to carry out a PCO License check? Contact Transport for London to check whether a private hire driver, operator or vehicle is licensed.  This is useful for if you are an operator checking on a potential driver’s license, if you are a driver checking up on a potential employer, or perhaps even if you are using a vehicle and want to ensure that it’s licensed. Alternatively, please use the on-line check below:

Private Hire Vehicle Private Hire Driver

Find A Licensed Private Hire Operator

Another tool that may be of use is ‘Findaride’ service where you can find licensed minicab offices and other private hire operators in your area. This is quite useful if you are looking for employment and trying to find someone to work for. Obviously companies advertise for new drivers but it’s usually good to take the initiative and go directly to them.

Operators License Checker

Why is licensing important?

Licensing and regulation gives passengers the confidence that when they use a licensed private hire operator, licensed driver, or licensed vehicle that they are dealing with an honest, professional organisation with reliable drivers and safe vehicles.

PCO Operators License

If you want to take bookings or supply drivers for hire then you will need a PCO Operators License, this could be a minicab office on the high street or even if you are offering a one-man chauffeur service, either way you need to be licensed.

Types of license – Small & Standard

There are two types of operator’s license and you need to decide which best fits you:

  • ‘small’ operator’s license – These may only have a maximum of two private hire vehicles available for use at any one time.
  • ‘standard’ operator’s license – You can have any number of private hire vehicles on a ‘standard’ license.

Once you’ve decided which best describes you and have got your license there is no way you change change it without gong through the entire application process so think of what your plans are for the future (next 5 years) and whether you are thinking of expanding your business. This only difference in these applications are the price, with a ‘standard’ license costing double what a ‘small’ license costs.

Requirements

PCO Operators LicenceFit and Proper Person

All applicants must show they are a ‘fit and proper’ person by completing the PHV 103 Personal Declaration Form where you show that you have complied with other legal requirements connected with running a business. The form will ask you about any previous criminal convictions, if you have ever been declared bankrupt, etc, but please ensure you fill the form in correctly as also false information could lead to the removal of your license and legal proceedings against you.

Premises

Before you can apply you must also have at least one provisional ‘operating centre’ in London where you will be taking bookings and this could simply be a high street office or even your home address but ensure that you have the relevant planning permission to do this from these premises.

How much does the PCO Operators License Cost?

The total cost of the license depends of which type you apply for with the ‘Standard’ costing twice as much as the ‘Small’ license.

Small Operators License (valid 5 years)

  • License Application Fee = £703
  • Grant of License Fee = £550
  • Total = £1,253

Standard Operators License (valid 5 years)

  • License Application Fee = £703
  • Grant of License Fee = £1,707
  • Total = £2,410

You will need to send these fees in a single payment with your application form, and please note that the application fee in both instances is non-refundable so if your operators licence application is rejected then you will only receive the grant of license fee back.

How do I apply for an Operators License?

All the forms for your application are available to download below, and you will need:

Completed applications should be sent to:

PHV Operator Licensing Section
London Taxi and Private Hire
Palestra
4th Floor (Yellow Zone)
197 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ

Private Hire Insurance

If you are using your own PCO licensed vehicle then you will need to have your own private hire insurance and as with insuring any car this doesn’t come cheap and you will need to shop around for a good deal. If you are under 25 then you will also find that premiums can be very high, with some companies not even offering insurance to those in the 21-25 age bracket.

Can I use my existing car insurance?

Due to the nature of the job you will need a policy that will cover the use of carrying passengers for hire or reward, and most standard car insurance policies do not include this. It may be worth checking with your provider as to whether they offer this ‘upgrade’.

How much does minicab insurance cost?

Typically a years insurance will cost around £2,000-£2,500 for fully comprehensive insurance on a standard saloon car, but there are a variety of factors that can effect this, but remember that not all insurance companies offer the same prices so shop around. If you feel that you can’t commit to paying this amount then you will find that most insurance companies will offer 3 month and 6 month policies as well as the standard 12 month, but the downside is that you will not be able to build up your no claims bonus with a short policy.

Private Hire Insurance PolicyHow can I reduce the cost of my insurance?

Buying a private hire insurance policy is just like getting insurance for your own private car so think of what you look for when getting that.

Levels of cover

You can choose from three levels of cover: comprehensive, third party fire and theft and third party only. Your choices for this will depend on the age and value of your vehicle. Fully Comp insurance will obviously cover everything but you will pay more, where as third party insurance will only protect your customers and other vehicle involved if you have an accident so you will be responsible for costs to your own vehicle, but it will bring down insurance costs closer to the £1,000 mark.

No claims discount

The no claims discount will only apply if you have no claims from another private hire insurance policy, you cannot normally transfer  NCD from your personal car to your minicab, but it is worth mentioning anyway as you could get some sort of discount. If you do build up your no claims you will get a substantial discount on your private hire policy ranging from 20% up to 60%. Having a clean driving license with no offences will also reduce costs.

Voluntary Excess

Adding extra voluntary excess on to your policy can save you money off your private hire insurance in the short term, but if you do increase the excess and have to make a claim then any savings will be lost. Compulsory Excess will normally start at around £250, so get quotes for increasing the level as see what the difference it.

Where can I get cheap private hire insurance?

There is no definitive answer to this as it’s not a straight-forward cost and depends many factors, so the best advice is to get as many quotes as you can. This may take a few hours longer but could end up saving you hundreds of pounds, so it’s well worth it. If you find that insurance costs are too high then you may consider renting a vehicle from your operator which will normally cover insurance and all other costs for about £35 a shift, which in some circumstances may prove cheaper than using or buying your own vehicle and having to insure it.

Replacement vehicles – a final note

If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in an accident and your car needs to be repaired then it means you are not working and you are not earning, so it might be worth looking for an insurance policy that offers breakdown cover and replacement PCO licensed vehicles so you can still work. Costs for this will vary and so may not be an option, but when shopping for policies ask for a quote with this added and you may be surprised at how little extra it costs (or how much more!)