FOI request detail

Private Hire licence applications

Request ID: FOI-0763-2223
Date published: 25 July 2022

You asked

I am requesting TFL to share with me and the public through this request, figures of private hire license applications, which were received and processed from March 2022. It would help me understand the time it takes and how applications are considered. I have sent multiple emails to TFL with regards to the processing of my license. This is a final attempt to find answers which I am unable to get directly from TFL. I request you to help me find the answers and provide with the contact details of TFL department which can provide me the information that I am looking for. It has now been 8 weeks since I successfully passed my topography test. My application is still pending and every time I contact TFL via email to find out when my application will be processed, I receive the same robotic response without giving me an actual answer. “Your application is with the real ent team and you will be contacted when processed”. I think TFL need to be transparent and let people know a timeframe for when their application for private hire will be processed.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-0763-2223/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 29 June 2022 asking for information about private hire license applications.

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 the information you require. You asked:

I am requesting TFL to share with me and the public through this request, figures of private hire license applications, which were received and processed from March 2022. It would help me understand the time it takes and how applications are considered.
We received and processed, 10,726 private hire driver applications between 6 March and 17 July 2022.

We received a number of applications and each one differs depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant, in addition aspects of the licensing process are outside of TfL’s control and each application must be considered on a case-by-case basis, therefore there isn’t a 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 assessment and a 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 have been impacted by nationwide COVID lockdowns) and the applicants 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. 

For example, the time required to process an application may increase as a consequence of:
  • Applications being submitted but found to be incomplete or inaccurate
  • Checking that an applicant meets the mandatory requirements for licensing, such as the right to work in the U.K, and that they hold the relevant driving licence and driving experience
  • Consideration of the applicant’s medical fitness and whether they meet the DVLA’s Group 2 standard of medical fitness to drive. This may include a full review of the applicant’s medical history by our medical advisors
  • Ensuring that the applicant’s character meets the required standard, including a review of the results of a DBS check
  • The candidate successfully completing the required assessments of their topographical skills and safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU)

Further information on the requirements for licensing can be found at the following location:

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are unable to comment on your application, as personal information is not covered by the Act, however, you can complain to our Taxi and Private Hire department about the services they provide by sending an email to: [email protected].

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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