Request ID: FOI-0523-2223 Date published: 27 June 2022
Please I would like to know, as freedom of information, how many applicants that have passed their exams are waiting on the license, and how many licenses are being issued a day.
Our ref: FOI-0523-2223/GH
Thank you for your request, received on 7 June 2022, asking for information relating to your application to become a private hire driver.
I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the service you have received.
Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold some of the information you require.
Given the number of applicants that apply and that each one may differ depending on their own individual circumstances, and the fact that each application is therefore considered on a case-by-case basis, there is no specific timeframe for processing an application.
Once we receive a private hire driver application an initial assessment takes place to ensure the required documents have been provided in support of an application and that the mandatory requirements for licensing are met. This stage also includes ensuring an enhanced DBS check has been undertaken by the applicant, which is undertaken by a third party and is outside of the applicant’s or TfL’s control. At this stage there may also be a process of requesting and receiving any missing materials until the application is deemed to be fully complete.
An applicant is then invited to apply for a topographical skills and safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU) assessment (for applications submitted from 1 October 2021). The time taken to complete the assessments depends on a number of factors, including how quickly an applicant books an assessment, the availability of assessments (which were impacted by nationwide COVID lockdowns) and the applicant’s ability to meet the required standard, or whether any retest of an assessment is required.
The licence application process is complex, multi-staged and often iterative, which can involve requests for further information or clarity from applicants. There are also a number of elements in the licensing process that are outside of TfL’s control, such as the completion of a DBS check and submission of any required medical information. Therefore, there is no target for when licensing decisions are taken and this depends on individual applications. In each case we need to ensure that an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to ensure the continued safety of the travelling public.
The number of private hire driver applicants who passed the topographical assessment between 20 January 2022 and 1 June 2022, is 2,727. The department that holds this data does not record whether these applicants have since been successful in obtaining a private hire driver’s licence. However, as of 1 June 2022, we have issued 22,840 private hire driver licences to persons who applied on 12 October 2021 and onwards.
I am pleased to confirm that your licence was issued on 21 June 2022 for the full 3-year term. If you have not received your licence within 10 working days, please get in contact with us so that we can investigate the matter and issue a replacement licence, where applicable.
I hope this answers your query with regards to the criteria used to assess private hire applications. If this is not the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact me.
If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
FOI Case Officer FOI Case Management Team General Counsel Transport for London