Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing

Every part of England and Wales has Taxi’s.  In law these are divided into Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles (PHV).  Despite the division, in general the public view them all as ‘Taxi’s’.  Taxi’s and PHV’s are a vital form of transport.  They deliver a practical direct transport solution and provide an essential service to people living in rural  communities where other forms of public transport may be insufficient; the night-time economy; and passengers with disabilities as some examples.

It is important that Taxi’s and PHV’s meet regulatory standards and are able to convey passengers safely and comfortably, ensuring that the customer experience is a positive one.

From the 1st October 2023, Mole Valley District Council implemented the Licensing Policy for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire.  Please click here to view the Policy.  The aim of the Licensing process is primarily to protect the public as well as to ensure that the public have reasonable access to these services, because of the part they play in local transport provision.  It is important that the Councils Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing powers are used to ensure that licensed vehicles in the district are safe, comfortable, properly insured and available where and when required.



Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022

The above Act will require the local authority to maintain and publish a list of wheelchair-accessible taxis and PHV’s for our area.  The current list can be found here –

It also imposes new duties on drivers of vehicles that are not wheelchair-accessible to carry a disabled person and their mobility aid and “provide reasonable assistance”, without charging extra, for example if a wheelchair-user wants to transfer to the passenger seat and store their wheelchair in the boot of a vehicle.  The Act extends to England and Wales and is in force now.  The key changes include: –

  • Drivers are obliged to carry and provide fair service to all passengers, regardless of impairment, at no extra cost.  The Act extends existing laws to cover all disabled passengers, and imposes a fine of up to £1,000 for drivers who fail in their obligation to provide a fair, accessible service;
  • Drivers must provide as much mobility assistance as is reasonably required, including carrying mobility aids.  This may involve helping a passenger transfer to the vehicle, folding wheelchairs, adjusting seats, or any other reasonable modification to ensure the trip is safe and comfortable;
  • A new duty requiring that drivers assist disabled passengers to identify and find the vehicle they have booked, without making any additional charge for doing so.  This would be on the condition that the driver is made aware before the start of the journey that the passenger requires assistance to identify or find the vehicle.  This would be particularly helpful for visually impaired passengers and those with learning difficulties or cognitive impairments;
  • Local Authorities must keep a register of licensed wheelchair-accessible Taxi’s & PHV’s, and must make these available to the public

You will need to license the vehicle. Contact licensing@molevalley.gov.uk for an application form.

Click here for the appropriate fees for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing.


If the journey takes the taxi outside Mole Valley, the driver must still charge in accordance with the scales below unless agreed otherwise before the journey has started.

The driver for the cab is required to conspicuously wear an identity badge.

Mileage rates may only be charged from point of pick up.

The meter must be engaged at the commencement of the hire and the fare on the meter must clearly be visible to passengers at all times.

If a Hackney Carriage driver has refused to take you because the fare is too small, or if the driver or vehicle does not meet your expectations, you can report a problem with a taxi to us.

Rate 1: General effect

  • first 1/2 of a mile (880 yards) or part thereof: £3.90
  • each subsequent 141 yards or part thereof: +22p
  • each 41 seconds or part thereof: +28p

Example (does not include waiting times or extra):

  • 1 mile – £5.44
  • 2 miles – £8.08
  • 5 miles – £16.44
  • 10 miles – £30.08

Rate 2: Late evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday

1.5  x Rate 1

  • 11pm to 7.30am, Monday to Saturday
  • 11pm Saturday to 7.30am Monday
  • all Bank Holidays (except Christmas and New Year)

Rate 3: Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

2  x Rate 1

  • 6pm Christmas Eve to midnight Christmas Day
  • 6pm New Year’s Eve to midnight New Year’s Day

Extra charges

Each passenger in excess of two: 35p

Booking charge for hire involving a separate journey to pick up a hirer: +£1

Who’s taking you home tonight…….?

Licensed Taxi’s and PHV’s are generally a very safe way to travel, but is the car you are about to get into one of them?  Make sure your Taxi or PHV is legal – Using unlicensed vehicles puts you at unnecessary risk!

Why are they safe?

  • Vehicles are regularly tested and required to meet minimum standards and will have appropriate insurance checks
  • Drivers are tested (for medical and criminal issues) before being licensed to drive.
  • Drivers are tested in their local area knowledge and driving ability before being licensed to drive.

How do I know if a vehicle / driver is licensed?

Ask to see proof of Licensing:

  • A licensed vehicle will normally display a licence plate on the rear of the vehicle which will include the Licensing Authority, the number of passengers permitted to be carried, the licence number and the expiry date of the licence
  • A licensed driver will wear an identity badge, which will show the driver’s licence number and the Licensing Authority details.

Stay Safe!

  • Make a note of the number plate and the driver’s licence number and if uneasy text them to a friend / family member;
  • Sit in the back of the vehicle;
  • Keep your mobile phone where it is easily accessible;
  • Report any concerns to the Licensing Authority

Do not use a Taxi / PHV if:

  • The driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • The driver does not seem to know the local area;
  • The vehicle seems too old for use as a Taxi / PHV;
  • The vehicle is in a state of disrepair;
  • You are uneasy for any reason.

Taxi Safety Hints

Mole Valley has a good reputation for providing a quality Taxi/PHV service and every day hundreds of journeys take place through the area.  These also include School Contracts where licensed drivers are employed by contract with Surrey County Council (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/schools/transport/contracts-and-updates/provider)

However, we are aware that some people can feel nervous about using Taxi’s/PHV’s  and whilst incidents involving these vehicles are extremely rare we have set out below a few tips to help you feel safer: –

  • Always use a licensed vehicle and driver
  • Record the licence number from the plate of the registration number of the vehicle before you get in, perhaps text the details to a friend or family member
  • if you have a camera phone take a picture of the vehicle and forward to a friend or family member
  • Check the drivers identification badge before getting in the vehicle and make sure the photograph is of the driver of the vehicle and the licence is current by looking at the expiry date.  If it has expired DO NOT GET IN!
  • If the driver is not wearing his ID Badge or cannot produce one DO NOT GET IN!
  • Check that the vehicle plates (rear of the vehicle and front window) are displayed and that they have not expired.  If either have expired DO NOT GET IN!
  • If you have pre-booked the vehicle from a Private Hire Operator make sure that the correct operator is named on any advertising on the vehicle
  • When booking a Taxi/PHV with a Private Hire Operator ask for details of the vehicle and driver, for example, the vehicle make, registration number and the driver’s name.  When the vehicle arrives make sure you check these details are correct before entering the vehicle
  • Make sure you have enough money for the journey or agree arrangements to pay with the driver or operator before the journey commences
  • Make sure that the internal window licence is displayed and that it is not expired.  If it has expired DO NOT GET IN!
  • If you do not feel safe, ask to be let out in a well lit area with people nearby
  • Never flag down a vehicle which does not have an illuminated sign or is a PHV as you will not be insured
  • Sit in the back of the vehicle
  • If you have any doubts at all about either the vehicle or driver do not get into the vehicle

If you suspect a driver and/or a vehicle are illegally being used for hire or reward OR if you suspect a Taxi driver of overcharging, please take down the relevant details and report it to licensing@molevalley.gov.uk



The legislation relating to Taxi/PHV driver’s is contained within the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.  In addition to complying with the general legislation, the drivers are also required to comply with the Licensing Policy and any conditions attached to their licence.

Mole Valley District Council issue a Dual Drivers Licence covering Taxi’s and PHV’s.  Every driver of a licensed vehicle must have the appropriate driver’s licence.

Applicants must have held a full DVLA driving licence for a minimum of 12 months prior to submitting an application.  A Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence lasts for 3 years.

New Applicants

You must read all of the following information carefully before completing any section to ensure you can fully complete the application.

Before submitting any part of the application, you must read the Council’s “Licensing Policy for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire” – https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/taxis-and-private-hire-vehicles/

If you have any criminal history regardless of age, you should refer to the relevant section of the Council’s policy and discuss this with the Licensing officer prior to applying.

If you have any medical condition, you should refer to the relevant section of the medical condition in the document ‘Assessing fitness to drive’ to see if you meet the Group 2 standard of driving – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessing-fitness-to-drive-a-guide-for-medical-professionals

If you do not meet any of the criteria in the Council’s policy or the ‘Assessing fitness to drive’ documents, your application will be referred to the Licensing Committee and you may not be granted a licence, you should email or call to discuss any issues you are aware of prior to applying.

You should note that the application must be fully completed within 4 months of the initial application date.  Any application that is not completed within 4 months will be treated as withdrawn. All fees are non-refundable.  To drive a licensed Private Hire vehicle you must hold a Private Hire Drivers Licence and work for a licensed Private Hire Operator, with all three licenses being issued by the same Authority i.e. Mole Valley District Council.

The following is required to apply for a licence:

Independent of the Council:

  • Certificate of good conduct
    If you have resided outside of the UK for more than 6 months at any time since the age of 18 years old, you must obtain a certificate of good conduct from the embassy/embassies of every country/countries you have resided in.  Further information on where to access these can found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants
  • Taxi Driver Assessment with Blue Lamp Trust or Drivetech (Practical driving)
    You should book and complete the practical driving test with either the Blue Lamp Trust or Drivetech. You can do this online here: https://www.bluelamptrust.org.uk/taxiassesments/ or https://www.drivetech.co.uk/global-business-fleet-solutions/training-product/taxi-test/  You will need to provide the certificate showing that you have passed the assessment.
  • Barnardo’s Safeguarding & Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Training Access Guide
    All new drivers are required to pass online CSE training in advance of first being licensed.  The applicant will need to pay for the training (currently £18) – https://taxielm.learnupon.com/store
  • Group 2 medical examination report
    Applicants must be assessed as medically fit to drive to the same standard applied by the DVLA to the grant of public service and heavy goods vehicle licences (known as a ‘Group 2’ level of medical fitness). The medical report must be completed by your own G.P.  Any uncertainties relating to the assessment carried out by the applicants’ GP will be referred to the Council’s medical advisor, and at his discretion the applicant may be required to undergo further tests.  The decision of the Council’s medical adviser will be final. The completed medical report must be received within 4 months of the Doctor signing the report.


Once you have completed the steps above you should contact the Licensing Team to book a new driver appointment and complete the following:

Through the Licensing Department at the Council:

  • Licensing Policy for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire – Applicants must have read and understood this document. By submitting the application form, you will declare you have done this. https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/taxis-and-private-hire-vehicles/
  • Application for Hackney carriage & private hire driver’s licence – Must be fully completed and returned by email prior to the new driver appointment.
  • DVLA driver licence and online check – You must have held a DVLA driver licence for a minimum of 12 months. Where an applicant has 7 or more points on their DVLA licence for minor traffic or similar offences, a licence will not be granted until at least 5 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed.
  • Confirming your identity and your right to work – You must provide three original documents listed on ‘Confirming your Identity’, one from Group 1 and any two from Group 1, 2a or 2b. This must include your DVLA driver licence and your right to work documents such as your passport and residence permit if required.
  • Enhanced DBS certificate – The three original documents as mentioned above will be used for your DBS application. This will be completed at the new driver appointment. Further information will be required on submitting the application such as: dates of 5 years previous addresses and any previous names etc.
  • DBS Update Service – The DBS certificate will be posted to your home address. When you receive the certificate, you must provide the certificate and you must subscribe to the DBS update service within 21 days of your DBS certificate being issued. You should do this by going to www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service
  • Knowledge Test – Applicant must pass a Knowledge test of the local area of Mole Valley, the Highway Code, the legislation governing Hackney Carriage and Private hire and questions relating to the Council’s policy.
  • Passport sized photo – Must be up to date and a true likeness and must printed on photo paper.
  • All appropriate fees for the licence.
  • Licensing Officers will check:
    NR3 register check (national register of revoked and refused applications with all authorities)
    DVLA driver licence check
    Home office right to work check
    HMRC tax check (if applicant has held a licence within 1 year with any authority)
    DBS update service

Telephone 01306 879234 or email Licensing@molevalley.gov.uk for an appointment when you have all documentation listed below and when you believe you are ready to take the knowledge test.  The application must be presented in person by the applicant at Pippbrook, Dorking RH4 1SJ.

You will not be seen without an appointment and incomplete applications or documentation will be entirely rejected.

Items (originals) to bring to the appointment – photocopies are not acceptable:-

  • Completed Application form for Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Drivers Licence Application
  • The required fee £150.00 application fee + £66.50 DBS Check.  Total to pay = £216.50
  • Proof of ID documents (as listed on b ‘Confirming your Identity’) one of which must include your DVLA driver licence
  • Recent Passport quality photograph

The following documents (originals) can be supplied at a later date, but must be produced before your application for a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver is granted – photocopies are not acceptable: –

  • Medical Report (see above – must be completed by your own Doctor) Taxi Driver Assessment Certificate (see above) Safeguarding & Child Sexual Exploitation Training Certificate (see above)


For a full list of fees and charges payable to Mole Valley District Council please go to https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/environmental-health/environmental-health-fees-and-charges-2/

You should contact the Licensing Team if you have any questions.



Hackney Carriage (Taxis) and Private Hire Vehicles

There are considerable similarities between Taxi’s and PHV’s but also some significant distinctions.  Both transport members of the public to a specific destination upon request, in exchange for payment of a fare.  Public safety is paramount in the licensing regimes that govern these vehicles, their drivers and their operators.

Taxis (Hackney Carriages)

  • Display a roof sign that says ‘TAXI’ or ‘For Hire’;
  • Can park on a Rank to await the approach of prospective passengers;
  • Can be hailed by prospective passengers;
  • A copy of the Fares Table (Tariff), which is set by the Council, MUST be displayed and be visible to all passengers inside the vehicle at all times;
  • Will have a Taximeter fitted that has been calibrated to the Fares Table, which must be engaged at the commencement of the journey only (only for journeys within the Mole Valley area) on all occasions;
  • Can carry passengers (max of 8) for hire or reward;
  • Do not need to be pre-booked, but can undertake pre-booked work;
  • Have a yellow licence plate on the rear bumper of the vehicle;
  • Have a smaller yellow plate inside the vehicle on display;
  • MUST be driven by a driver who holds a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence.

PHV’s (Private Hire Vehicles)

  • Cannot have a roof sign that displays ‘TAXI’ or ‘FOR HIRE’;
  • Cannot park on a Rank and await the approach of prospective passengers;
  • Cannot be hailed by a prospective passenger;
  • MUST be pre-booked through a licensed Private Hire Operator;
  • Have a red licence plate on the rear bumper;
  • Have a smaller red plate inside the vehicle on display;
  • Fares should be agreed in advance and relayed to the driver who picks you up;
  • MUST be driven by a driver who holds a Private Hire Driver’s Licence.

A new application for either a Taxi or PHV requires that the vehicle must be less than 6 years old from the date of first registration at the point of the licence being granted.  The vehicle must not be manufactured or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers, this includes anyone seated in wheelchairs.

Once licensed as a Taxi or PHV the vehicle remains a licensed vehicle until such time as the licence is Surrendered, Suspended, Revoked or Refused on renewal.  Only a person who holds a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence issued by Mole Valley District Council can drive a Taxi or PHV.  No other person such as spouse, partner, son, daughter etc can drive the vehicle at ANY TIME unless they hold the said licence.

There are many different makes and styles of vehicles on the road today.  Not all vehicles would be suitable for use as a Taxi or PHV and the Council has certain standards to guide proprietors on the type of vehicles considered suitable bearing in mind public comfort, safety and the legal requirements previously mentioned.  Further information can be initially found in our Licensing Policy – click here to view the Policy.

A PHV may only be dispatched to a booking by a licensed Private Hire Operator.  Such a licence permits the operator to invite or accept bookings for a vehicle with a driver.   Any applicant wishing to operate Private Hire vehicles within the Mole Valley area must first obtain a Private Hire Operators Licence.

PHO’s must ensure that every POHV that they operate is licensed by the same council who issued them with the PHO licence and that it is driven by a person who holds a PHV Driver’s Licence issued by the same council.  All PHO licences are issued for 5 years.

The address used on the PHO application must be the one where the invitation and acceptance of bookings take place.  This will be the premises where the records are kept and at which they may be inspected by Licensing Officers without notice.  it is for the PHO to ensure that any necessary Planning consent exists for the operational address to be used before any licence is granted.

Penalty Points Scheme

The council operates a Penalty Points Scheme under which points can be issued to licence holders for breaches of licence conditions or non-compliance with the law as an alternative to prosecution.  The main features of the scheme are as follows:

  • Points are issued to licence holders for breaches of licensing conditions or legislation at the discretion of the Licensing Officer;
  • A total of 12 points credited to an individual licence in any 12-month period will result in a review of the licence by the Executive Head of Service or a Licensing Sub-Committee;
  • Points issued to a licence holder will be automatically removed after 12 months have elapsed from the date the points were issued;
  • Licence holders have a written right of appeal to the Compliance Manager within seven days of the points being issued;
  • There is no financial penalty associated with this scheme and drivers and operators may continue to work if points are awarded.

In conducting a review of a licence where the holder reaches 12 points within a 12 month period, the Executive Head of Service or Sub-Committee will take account of all pertinent facts and any representations submitted by the licence holder.  Each case will be considered on its own individual merits.  The options available to the decision maker(s), depending on teh severity of the breaches and any previous record of misconduct, will typically be:

  • To take no further action;
  • To issue a warning a to the licence holders future conduct;
  • To suspend the licence for a specified period, or until such time as certain conditions have been satisfied; or
  • To revoke the licence.

In general, the recommended starting point for any period of suspension would be 2 weeks.  This may be reduced if there is sufficient mitigation, or extended in more serious cases.

For more information email licensing@molevalley.gov.uk

Report a Taxi / Private Hire Complaint