There are many different kinds of operator including:

  • A minicab office on a local high street
  • Those who only cater for social events such as prom, hen and stag nights and corporate events
  • One person operations offering a chauffeur service
  • Individuals whose principle work is as a tour guide
  • Operators who only do contract work, for example school runs for a local council

Whatever type of private hire service you intend to provide you will need to be licensed by us before you start operating. Anyone who receives payment for taking bookings or supplying drivers for hire without an operator's licence is breaking the law and may be prosecuted.

Before you begin

To support the completion of your application, it is important that you read and fully understand the Private Hire Operator - Licensing Guidance Notes (PHV/102) before completing the forms. The PHV/102 notes provide important guidance relating to:

  1. Key definitions in London PHV legislation
  2. Who the operator is
  3. Fit and proper person criteria
  4. Operator drivers
  5. Exemptions
  6. Operating centres and offices
  7. Fees and how to select the correct tier
  8. Duration of licence
  9. Record keeping requirements

In addition, there is further information in the PHV/102 notes relating to:

  1. The Private Hire Operator application forms
  2. How your application forms will be assessed
  3. A checklist to use to submit your application
  4. Next steps

We have the statutory discretion to decide how long an operator's licence should last, up to a maximum of five years, based on the circumstances of each individual case. We take into account all the circumstances of an application, including the possibility of future regulatory changes, when considering the length of any licence issued.

How to apply

Once you have read the guidance notes and believe that you can meet all of the required criteria, you can request an application pack by calling us on 0343 222 4444 (TfL call charges) or emailing us at tph.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk to request an application pack.

You will be asked to provide some personal details in order that we can create an account for you and issue you with the required pack.

An application pack contains the following items:

  • A covering letter with details about the application process
  • A PHV/101 application form;
  • A PHV/103 personal declaration form; and
  • A PHV/108 operating centre information form

To submit an application to us, it must contain

  • A completed PHV/101 application form
  • A PHV/103 personal declaration form completed for each individual associated with the application
  • A PHV/108 operating centre form completed for every operating centre
  • The full application fee for the appropriate tier, based on the number of vehicles available to you at any one time
  • Evidence of planning permission for every proposed operating centre(s)

How much will my application cost?

We have introduced changes to the structure and level of fees for London private hire operators. These changes are to ensure that we cover the costs of regulatory, licensing and enforcement activities associated with private hire operators, including both pre- and post-licensing costs and to ensure that the fees reflect the regulatory, licensing and enforcement costs generated by operators of different sizes.

The licence fee comprises two parts:

  • an application fee: applicants must pay the application fee, in full, when submitting their application. There is no option to pay the application fee by instalments and applications are not processed until full payment has been received.
  • a grant of licence fee: If their applications are successful, operators with up to 20 private hire vehicles (PHVs) are required to pay the licence grant fee in full before a licence can be issued.

This is the fee structure, along with associated fees:  

Fees

You will need to pay a fee when you apply for a licence, depending on the expected size of your operation.

Number of
vehicles
5 year fee (£) Licence fee as an
average annual cost (£)
Application Grant of licence Total
0-10 400 1,600 2,000 N/A
11-20 1,200 4,800 6,000 N/A
21-50 3,800 15,200 19,000 3,040
51-100 6,000 24,000 30,000 4,800
101-500 30,000 120,000 150,000 24,000
501-1,000 70,000 280,000 350,000 56,000
1,001-10,000 140,000 560,000 700,000 112,000
10,001+ 580,000 2,320,000 2,900,000 464,000

* The grant of licence fee due will be the fee at the time the licence is issued.

Which tier?

We are asking applicants to confirm the number of PHVs which they will have available at any one time. This should be for the duration of the 5 years (or shorter period) from the point of the licence being granted. Applicants should consider any changes to the number of PHVs which will be available to them during this period.

We will discuss any applications received with you at the time of submission. We will offer support and guidance by providing an opportunity to discuss the application at the pre-licensing inspection stage and again prior to any grant of licence fee being taken.

If you have any questions prior to submitting your application, please contact us at tph.operator@tfl.gov.uk.

Send completed applications to:
Transport for London
London Taxi & Private Hire
PO Box 177
Sheffield
S98 1JY

Premises and planning permission

Before you apply for a licence, you must have:

  • At least one 'operating centre' in London. This is the premises where you will take bookings. Your operating centre could be an office, a unit in the high street or your home address. For addresses outside Greater London, you must obtain a licence from the local council.
  • Proof of planning permission or a certificate of lawful use for your proposed premises from your local authority. Where planning permission isn't required, you must provide written confirmation (email or letter) from the local authority. The document must be clearly linked to the address of the proposed premises. Any breach of planning legislation could lead your council to take enforcement action against you.
  • If the operating centre's primary use is for another business, you'll need to provide further information about the operating centre.*
  • A fixed landline telephone number for bookings. A licence cannot be issued without this.

*We are currently carrying out a review of our policy on shared venues' private hire operator licences. Until this review is carried out, applications to add a shared venue may not be accepted. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. However, where the proposed centre is shared with a third party which provides a separate service and public access for the purposes of that service, the application is unlikely to be accepted: a typical example would be a nightclub or bar.

Further information is available under the Review of 'Shared Venue licence policy' below.

Review of 'Shared Venue licence policy'

PDF 180KB

Application to add or remove a centre

More information on adding and/or removing a centre can be found under the existing licensee section.