FOI request detail

Freedom of Information request - Unjustified Delay Issueing New Application

Request ID: FOI-1476-2223
Date published: 17 October 2022

You asked

Under Freedom of Information Act i would like you to request the following information. 1. How long does it take for a person to get a Private Hire License? 2. How many licenses has been issued from 13/12/2021 till date? 3. What is causing delay to TFL issueing the New PHV licences?

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1476-2223/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 21 September 2022 asking for information about Private Hire licences.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold some of the information you require. You asked:

1. How long does it take for a person to get a Private Hire License?

2. How many licenses has been issued from 13/12/2021 till date?

3. What is causing delay to TFL issueing the New PHV licences?

Given the volume of applications we receive, the fact that each one differs depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant, that aspects of the licensing process are outside of TfL’s control and that each application is considered on a case-by-case basis, there is no specific timeframe for processing an application.

We have issued 29,294 private hire driver's licences to persons who applied as of 13 December 2021 to date (29 September 2022).

Once we receive a private hire driver application an initial assessment takes place to ensure the required documents have been provided 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 UK, 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 an enhanced DBS check
  • The candidate successfully completing the required topographical skills and safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU) assessments

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

You can complain to us about the services we provide by sending an email to: [email protected].

I apologise that this process is taking longer than you anticipated and that you did not receive a more comprehensive response following your contact with us. Although information relating to your application is personal information, and therefore not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, I understand that we last wrote to you on 27 September confirming that we have received the additional medical information you provided which is currently being assessed by our medical team.

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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