Private Hire Operator Licence

NEW Applications for Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Drivers and Private Hire Operators 

Anyone who acts as a private hire operator (that is, anyone who invites or accepts bookings for private hire vehicles, including 'booking agent' businesses which accept bookings and then sub-contract them) must be licensed by us. Private hire vehicles cannot lawfully carry out any journey which has not been pre-booked through an operator, and may invalidate their insurance if they were to do so.

For licensing purposes, it does not make any difference how a booking is made - companies providing booking offices, telephone booking lines, websites or app bookings must all be licensed. It also, does not make a difference whether the booking is for a one-off journey to be paid in cash, or a regular booking under a contract. Vehicles provided as part of a commercial package (for example, courtesy car pick-up from a hotel) may also need to be licensed, as will the hire of 'novelty' vehicles, such as stretch limos and party buses, or chauffeur-driven cars (although wedding and funeral car services are exempt from licensing).

Operators are responsible for arranging and fulfilling bookings, employing and vetting licensed drivers and vehicles, responding to customer complaints, and maintaining records of every booking they receive. As they are responsible for the care of their customers, some of whom may be vulnerable, it is vital that we can be satisfied that operators are 'fit and proper persons'.

Before applying it is advised that you read our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy: 
Please note: Applicants for operator licences cannot use the same  (or similar) name as any private hire firm currently operating within the district or any previously used within the district and registered by the operator at Companies House

Sub-contracting bookings
If a prospective operator intends to receive and accept bookings at a premises in Three Rivers, they must apply for, and be granted a licence by us. That operator can then only delegate jobs to private hire vehicles and drivers who have also been licensed by Three Rivers, or sub-contract bookings to other licensed operators, either in the Three Rivers District or elsewhere.
It is against the law for an operator to pass bookings directly to a private hire vehicle or driver who is not licensed by the same council as that operator.
Operators with offices or bases in multiple council areas (for which they will need licences from each authority concerned) can pass bookings between their offices/bases, but cannot give jobs directly to drivers licensed by the other licensing authorities. The operator be required to maintain separate records for each council area that details every booking which has been sub-contracted to or from another office.
Private hire operators may also sub-contract jobs to hackney carriage proprietors, although this must remain a minority part of the overall work undertaken by that hackney carriage vehicle.
Where jobs are sub-contracted to another operator, we strongly advise that the customer is made aware of this to avoid any confusion.

If an application is made by a registered company or partnership, all details relating to directors of that company or all partners must be provided in order to determine if the operator is fit and proper to hold such a licence.

In order to obtain an operators licence for Three Rivers your operating base (that is where the telephone is answered and bookings are actually taken) must be within the district of Three Rivers. Please note: Applicants for operator licences cannot use the same (or similar) name as any private hire firm currently operating within the district or any previously used within the district and registered by the operator at Companies House.

Private Hire Operators can operate from either their home address (1-2 PH vehicles maximum) or from offices open to the public.

How to apply
Step 1 - The Application Form
The first step in applying for an operators licence is to complete an application form and submit this to the council along with all required documents and the fee. Please download the application form here 

All applications must be accompanied by:

  • Passport style colour photo for each applicant (see photo guidance)
  • Current valid passport and proof of right to work in the UK for each applicant (If you are on a time limited visa, any licence which may be issued will expire when your visa expires. If, at any time, your entitlement to work in the UK is removed, your licence will be revoked.)
  • Valid DVLA licence photo card and valid DVLA online check code for each applicant
  • Valid Basic Disclosure certificate for each applicant, and every director of the company. This certificate must be less than 3 months old at the time of submission.
  • Taxi safeguarding course pass certificate for each applicant
  • Certificate of public liability insurance and employers liability insurance (only applicable if you are applying for a public office or you are employing staff)
  • Proof of correct planning permission for proposed operating base (You may need planning permission to use any premises (either your home address or an office) as a booking office.)
  • Property owner's letter of permission (if proposed premises is rented/leased)
  • List of proposed vehicles and drivers Private Hire drivers and vehicle list
  • Payment for the appropriate application fee. Please note only card payments are accepted and payable by calling customer services on 01923 776611. Please see our list of fees (pdf)

Step 2 - The Knowledge Test

All applicants for a private hire operator licence must also sit a knowledge test. Please find all information here

Step 3 - Operating Base Inspection

In order to ensure that you will be operating from a base within Three Rivers, a Licensing Officer will inspect your operating base to ensure that this requirement is met. They will also request to see how bookings will be taken and records kept. The private hire operator may only operate from an address within Three Rivers, this address must be the premises where all records are kept and where bookings are made.

Step 4 - The Licence

Once all the relevant paperwork has been received, validated and processed, the knowledge test has been passed and the inspection completed, a licence will be issued for a maximum period of five years. During this period each licence holder(s) is required to submit an annual basic disclosure certificate (or if already licensed as a driver then we will accept their enhanced disclosure certificate). Failure to provide this may result in a suspension of the licence. 

Contact us

For more information on operator licences, please use our online form