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.

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 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

PCO License Renewal

The PCO License renewal process is simple. The PCO License is valid for a period of 3 years, and every 3 years you will have to get it renewed in order to carry on working as a licensed private hire driver in London. Luckily Transport for London, who run the Public Carriage Officer (PCO), will send you your renewal forms before your current license expires. So all you need to do is remember to send them back.

Don’t leave it too late to renew your PCO license

It can take many weeks for PCO licence renewals to be processed. Don’t leave it too late otherwise your license may expire and you won’t be able to work. Coupled with this your insurance policy will be invalid too.

PCO Licence Renewal FormsIf you overlook the renewal of your licence make sure you don’t re-apply too late. If more than 3 months has lapsed from your licence expiry date before your renewal application will be refused.  In such a case you will be treated as a completely new applicant meaning you will have to go through the entire application process from the start.

What do I need?

As part of the renewal process, it is important that you follow these guidelines:

  • Read through thoroughly and sign the declarations
  • Send your renewal application form in before the expiration of your current PCO-licence
  • Remember to send both the Licence Fee and the Application Fee with your completed form
  • A new DBS (CRB) check is required (as they only have a validity of 3 months)
  • A new Medical Check is also required
  • The appropriate renewal payment

If you are required to send a medical form or a DBS form then these will be automatically included in your renewal application pack. If you wish to get your Medical Check done asap please call us on 020 3780 1055 and we’ll get you booked and seen asap.

Any Questions?

If you’ve got any questions regarding your renewal then please feel free to contact the PCO and Transport for London on:

Our office: 020 3780 1055

Tel: 0343 222 4444
Fax:  020 3054 5314
Email: TPH.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk

PCO Vehicle License

Need to obtain a PCO Vehicle License? Once you’ve got your PCO license then your next priority will be getting a job with an operator and also getting a vehicle so that you can start earning money. You have 2 choices when it comes to vehicles, you can either hire one or buy your own.

If you choose to buy your own vehicle or perhaps use one you already own then you will need to get the vehicle licensed by the Public Carriage Office before you can use it for your job and start taking passengers. Currently there is an age limit on any new vehicle being put forward for licensing. The vehicle cannot be more than 5 years old from the manufactured date. In addition to this, no vehicle can remain licensed beyond it’s 10th year from the manufacture date.

How old can my vehicle be?

January 2012 - Changes for PHVThe Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy has decided to put age limits on licensed taxis and private hire vehicles with a view to improving London’s air quality and environment and also providing improved safety for passengers and if your vehicle is too old then it won’t be licensed.

  • With effect from 1 January 2012 private hire vehicles that are 10 years old or older will no longer be licensed.
  • With effect from 1 April 2012 any new private hire vehicle that is more than 5 years old will not be licensed.

On a side note,  from 1 April 2012 any new private hire vehicle will, as a minimum, have to satisfy Euro 4 emission standards.

There are age exemptions in place and exempted vehicles can be licensed for an additional 5 years. Visit the TfL website for more information.

Where can I get it licensed? (0343 222 5555)

Currently, Transport for London have outsourced the private hire inspection service to NSL Ltd and there are six inspection centres located around the London area.

  • West – Heston – 20A Airlinks Industrial Estate, Spitfire Way, Heston TW5 9NR (map)
  • North – Enfield – Unit 2 Watermill Centre, Edison Road, Enfield EN3 7XF (map)
  • East – Crayford – Unit Q1, Acorn Industrial Park, Crayford, Kent DA1 4AL (map)
  • South – Coulsdon – Unit B5 Redlands, Ulswater Crescent, Coulsdon CR5 2HT (map)
  • Central East –  Canning Town – 1 North Crescent, Canning Town, E16 4TL (map)
  • Central West – Staples Corner – Unit 2 Aquarius, Staples Corner, Priestly Way, NW2 7AN (map)

To book an appointment to get your vehicle inspected and licensed call the NSL Call Centre on 0343 222 5555.

How much does it cost?

As of March 2013 it costs £114 for the licence process (application fee=£87 / Grant of Licence=£27) and these fees are reviewed on an annual basis. As of 2nd April 2013 these fees will be reduced to £100 (£65 application fee and £35 for the licence fee). If your vehicle fails the test, then you are given a free re-test and if your vehicle fails this then you can apply for a refund of the ‘Grant of Licence’ but the application fee is non-refundable.

What documents do I need?

If you’ve booked your vehicle in for it’s licence then please make sure you bring the following documents with you:

  • The existing PHV licence (if applicable).
  • V5 DVLA Vehicle Registration Certificate or the new Vehicle Automotive First Registration & Licence (AFRL) scheme certificate issued by the selling dealership.
  • MoT certificate for vehicles over 12 months old at the date of inspection. The MoT must have been issued not more than 30 days from the date of the licensing inspection.
  • Certificate of insurance or insurance bond for vehicles insured under a group cover.
  • Valid Tax Disc.
  • Confirmation of appointment/booking letter.
  • Any other relevant documentation relating to the vehicle, where appropriate, such as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA), evidence of vehicle modification or adaptation etc.

What does the PCO Vehicle Licence look like?

PCO Vehicle LicenceLicensed vehicles must have the licence badges displayed in both the front and rear windows of the vehicle and if the vehicle isn’t displaying these then it is probably not licensed and is breaking the law. The badges list the licence number, the vehicle registration, and also the expiry date.

CRB Check for PCO License Application

As of January 2012 you must apply for an enhanced DBS check before you send off your PCO licence application. You will need to include a DBS reference number in your application. The DBS Check searches your details against criminal records and other sources, including the Police National Computer and will reveal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. Previously this type of check was referred to as an enhanced CRB check. It’s now known as a DBS check.

The PCO needs to be sure that you are safe, honest and trustworthy, and that you are the type of person who they want as private hire drivers. This DBS check will help them make their decisions and decide whether you are eligible for the PCO Licence based on this information.

You can either apply online or by post and this must be done through Onlinedisclosures.co.uk, which manages taxi and private hire DBS checks on behalf of the PCO. Once you have applied for your DBS check and had your identity verified, you will be given a reference number and this must be included on the application form.

The DBS check is only valid for 3 months so make sure you send off your application as soon as you get this reference number. If you leave it too long then you may be forced to get a new CRB check.

Apply Online

Online applications are not entirely online. To start the online DBS application click here. You will be able to download a guide to help you through the process. However, all you need to do is:

  1. Complete personal details online.
  2. Select ID for verification using the online help tool and print off the the form which will contain a unique barcode token.
  3. Verify your identity at the Post Office by taking your unique barcoded sheet plus three original documents that prove your identity (Eg Driving License, Passport and Bank Statement). To locate your nearest Post Office Offering the ID verification Service please click Post Office Locations tab here.
  4. Pay for the DBS application at the Post Office (£56.85)

You will receive your E reference number (required on the PCO Licence Application Form) within 3-5 working days via email.

If you prefer you can request a paper application pack by contacting Onlinedisclosures.co.uk on 0845 251 5000 or emailing tphcrb@tmgcrb.co.uk. The paper application costs £58.85 plus £7.15 ID checking payment.

Please note with effect from 17/06/2013 only one disclosure certificate will be sent out to the applicant (prevously 2 were sent out, one to TfL and one to the applicant) – in the event TfL are informed that the DBS has disclosed information to the applicant you will receive a letter asking  you to forward your original certificate. This process will be undertaken on behalf of TfL by their service provider.

Applicants must respond to any correspondence from Onlinedisclosures.co.uk. Failure to do so could result in them not being licensed. TfL cannot process any applications until a result has been received on your DBS check.

A copy of the disclosure certificate will then be sent to TfL before returning it to the driver. TfL will then destroy their copy once a licensing decision has been made and nobody will retain any copies.

What if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record doesn’t instantly disqualify you from getting licensed but if you do have any previous convictions then they will be assessed on a case by case basis using the following criteria:

  • Nature of the offence(s)
  • Circumstances in which any offence was committed
  • Circumstances of the individual concerned
  • Subsequent periods of good behaviour
  • Overall conviction history
  • Sentence imposed by the court
  • The applicant’s history as an “existing private hire driver” (if any)
  • Any other character check considered reasonable (e.g. personal references)

Please note that sexual and violent offences will most definitely rule you completely out from getting your PCO Licence although it is still possible to have a drink-driving charge but still be eligible to get a PCO Licence.

What if I have points on my driving licence?

Having points can’t stop you from applying and getting your PCO licence as it depends what the conviction was for, the sentence imposed and how long ago it was. If the points are for minor offences then you may find that there is no problem with your application but there is no clear yes/no for offences and you may only find out once you’ve applied. Be aware though that points on your licence could effect your insurance premiums.

I’ve already had a DBS Check, do I need a new one?

Even if you  have had a DBS check from your previous employment you will still need to complete a new Enhanced Disclosure Form as you need a new DBS check for every new job you apply for.

Need help with completing your DBS/CRB ? If you need any help and support with your DBS application you can contact us for assistance or simply contact the DBS administration team on 0845 251 5000 between 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday with a 24-hour messaging service or email tphcrb@tmgcrb.co.uk

Medical Fitness Examination for the PCO License

As part of your application to become a PCO licensed minicab driver you will have to prove your fitness by undergoing a medical examination with a GP who will give you the same medical check as that required of drivers of large goods vehicles (LGV/HGV), buses and coaches (PCV/PSV) which is the DVLA Group 2 standard.

Please note, this cost is not covered under the NHS and you will be required to pay yourself. We have access to independent GP’s who can carry out your Medical Check on-sight. They charge a respectable rate of £80 for the full Medical Check + Eye Test. Please give us a call on 020 3780 1055 and we can facilitate an appointment within the same week.

If you have any medical condition(s) and are unsure as to whether or not you will get licensed, please book an appointment and make this your first priority. It’s advisable to make the PCO Medical examination your priority so if a problem does arise and you fail the medical then you will not have wasted time and money on the other elements of the application process. Please click here for our Medical Check Package and Costs.

What does the medical examination involve?

PCO Licence Medical Declaration FormOnce you’ve booked your appointment take along your PHV/204 form which is included in the application pack and head to your chosen GP’s surgery. You should already have filled out the first section of this form marked ‘to be completed by you’. You will be required to give a urine sample as they will be testing for diabetes so best to drink a pint of water before you leave the house. The examination will only take around 30 minutes and you will be asked questions about the following topics:

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

Based on your answers and the results of the tests your doctor will give 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. You will then need to send this form back with your PCO license application.

What medical conditions could effect my application?

There are no definitive yes or no’s to what what medical conditions could prevent you from passing this examinations but if you have any of the ailments listed below then it’s highly likely that your PCO license application will be refused:

  • 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.

Please be aware that if some of your conditions are in the past then you may still pass this examination e.g. if you have had a stroke over a year ago and as long as there are no residual impairments you may be ruled fit but each case is dealt with on an individual basis so it’s worth consulting your GP about this and undergoing the medical fitness examination if you still really want to be a minicab driver.

PCO License Requirements

Before you apply, you’ll need to meet all the following PCO License requirements:

Age

To be a licensed driver you must be at least 21 years of age and there are no exceptions to this rule. There is no upper age limit though, provided you meet the other licensing requirements, so you can look forward to a long career in the private hire business.

Character

To ensure that the drivers it licenses are safe, honest and trustworthy you will have to undergo an Enhanced Disclosure check from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)  before being licensed. Having a record won’t necessarily prevent you from being licensed though as it depends what type of offence it was for and how long ago it was. The PCO will also look at your driving license to see if you have any driving convictions but again this won’t necessarily discount you from the application process.

Medical Fitness

Private hire drivers are professional drivers carrying passengers for hire and reward and so the PCO requires that you will need to have a similar medical check-up to those required for drivers of large goods vehicles, buses and coaches. These standards are based upon DVLA Group 2 you will need to book an appointment with your GP for this examination.

It is difficult to cover all possibilities, but certain conditions such as epilepsy, poor eyesight, insulin treated diabetes and serious heart problems could result in an application being refused. If possible make this section your priority as soon as you get your application form as an underlying condition could mean there is no point continuing with the application process.

Route Finding Skills

Buy your A-Z now
You won’t need the same knowledge and skills as a taxi driver because private hire journeys are pre-booked so journeys can be planned but you will still need to demonstrate skills which allow you to plan a journey including map reading and route selection.You will have to provide evidence of your topographical skills from an accredited topographical testing centre when sending back your application form.

Driving Ability

You must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland or European Economic Area (EEA) state driving license and must have had the license for at least 3 years. If you hold an EAA license then you must also obtain a GB counterpart before you can apply. If you haven’t held these for the required amount of time then there will be no point of applying.

English Language Requirement

All applicants must prove with documentary evidence, that they are able to speak, listen, read and write in English. There are many qualifications which are satisfactory forms of proof. For further details please give us a call and we can discuss your options.

PCO License Application

To make a PCO License Application you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Undergo a DBS Check
  3. Undergo a Medical Examination + Eye Test
  4. Demonstrate sound Topographical Skills
  5. Have an ability to Speak, listen, read & write in English

Please also visit our sister website at www.pco-licence.com

TfL are continuously enhancing the PCO License Application procedure.  Rest assured we are London’s Experts and will ensure our services continue to meet all the latest changes.

  Speed up your your PCO License Application and get Licensed within 3 to 6 weeks. Please click here and read about our Platinum Package.

What will I get sent in the PCO License application pack?

PCO Licence ApplicationIf you request a PCO Licence Application Pack, once it arrives you will find the following:

  1. Envelope – This is to send your forms back but also has a handy checklist on the back make sure you’ve included all the right forms before you pop them in the post.
  2. PHV/203– This is the actual application form.
  3. PHV/204 – This is the Medical Declaration form which needs to be initially completed by you and then completed and stamped by a GP when you have your medical check. Please see our Packages page for further info. We have TfL approved GP’s and can get your PCO Medical Check + Eye Test done on-sight.
  4. Payment details –The outlines the fees and payment methods for your application.
  5. Topographical Test Information Sheet– This details what you need to do for your topographical test.
  6. Post Office ‘Check and Send’ Service – If you’re sending your application from a post office in the Greater London Area then you can pay £7.50 at the desk and they will check over your application. PLEASE NOTE:  The Post Office do not work for TfL and do not know all the Licensing rules/requirements . This can result in processing delays. However, if you wish to Fast Track your application and make sure it’s 100% correct please give us a call on 020 8214 1055. We can get you licensed within 3 to 6 weeks.
  7. DBS Disclosure Form – This must be completed and will detail any criminal convictions you may have which could affect your application for the PCO License. You can make a paper application or make the application partly online and partly at the Post Office. Once again, we provide full support and assistance in this area too. Just call and ask for our Platinum Package.
  8. English Language requirement detail sheet

What needs to be sent back to TfL?

Here’s a general list of things you’ll be required to send:

  • PCO License application form (PHV/203) including your DBS reference number.
  • Medical form (PHV/204) signed and stamped by a GP (doctor)
  • Application Fee ( £250)
  • A photocopy of your DVLA driving licence or EEA driving licence and GB counterpart
  • A photocopy of your passport or other proof to show you have the right to live and work in the UK (Dependant on your Passport type)
  • A photocopy of the certificate showing you have passed the topographical test
  • Passport photograph for your new license
  • Any further relevant details

How long does it take to get my PCO License?

If you have sent your PCO License application to TfL remember, it can take up to 16 weeks for it to be processed and it’s worth noting that renewal applications are always processed before the existing license expires so there is no definite timescale to how long it takes. Just make sure that you’ve completed the forms as best as you can so that there are no hold-ups just because you didn’t fill in part of a form. Other delays can be put down to the wait for your DBS Check as it’s not only minicab drivers who need to be checked, but teachers, nurses, etc.

Why not opt for our professional services? We can complete your entire PCO Application Forms, arrange for your PCO Medical Check + Eye Test, get you trained for the Topographical Test and do your DBS check all in one day! Please call 020 3780 1055 and ask for our Platinum Package.

Where are my PCO License application forms? Where is my license?

If you have waited 10 working days and still not received your PCO License application forms or if you sent your completed forms off months ago and want to keep track and know how your License application is proceeding then please contact Transport for London using the details below:

Telephone: 0343 222 4444 (08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays)
Fax: 020 3054 3160
Email: TPH.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk

If you opted for our Platinum Package, we take care of everything. Just give us a call on 020 8214 1055 and we’ll update you.

What happens if my PCO License application is refused?

If you have met all the PCO licensing requirements, and completed your application form correctly, you will hopefully soon be the recipient of your PCO license, but if this is not the case and your application is refused then you will be informed of this in writing by Transport for London (TfL) and the letter will include:

  • Confirmation that your license application has been refused.
  • The reason for the refusal.
  • Your right to appeal the decision which includes what you need to do to appeal and the time in which you have to do it.

You may simply have filled in your application form incorrectly but it could also be something more serious like something showing up on your DBS Check. Read through the reason(s) for the refusal and if you think you think this is the wrong decision then make sure you use your right of appeal, and make sure you do this as soon as possible.

All applicants coming though our doors will be fully advised prior to submitting their application if they are likely to get a PCO Licence or not. Speak To London’s Experts!

Refund of license application fees

If the refusal is upheld then you will only get a refund for the portion of your fee relating the to the ‘grant of license’ which is £100 of the total £250 as the application fee and the DBS fees are non-refundable.

Want to know more?

All the information you need to complete your PCO license application is on this website so please explore the rest of the site using the menu at the top of this page. Alternatively, pick up the phone and give us a call 020 3780 1055