PCO Licence Requirements
Before you even consider sending off for your Application it’s worth seeing if you meet the basic PCO Licence requirements set out by the Public Carriage Office who are a department which administer the licensing of taxis and minicabs in London. These requirements are in place to ensure that drivers operate at a high standard but also so that the traveling public are in safe hands when stepping into a private hire vehicle in London.
If you do not match up to all the PCO Licence requirements then there is no point in sending off for an application form as you will be discounted immediately. Please note that in addition to the requirements listed below all applicants must be able to speak, read and understand English so that they are able to serve the diverse population of London and its many visitors.
To be a licensed driver you must be at least 21 years of age and there are no exceptions to this rule. There is no upper age limit though, provided you meet the other licensing requirements, so you can look forward to a long career in the private hire business.
To ensure that the drivers it licences are safe, honest and trustworthy you will have to undergo an Enhanced Disclosure check from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) before being licensed. Having a record won’t necessarily prevent you from being licenced though as it depends what type of offence it was for and how long ago it was. The PCO will also look at your driving licence to see if you have any driving convictions but again this won’t necessarily discount you from the application process.
Private hire drivers are professional drivers carrying passengers for hire and reward and so the PCO requires that you will need to have a similar medical check-up to those required for drivers of large goods vehicles, buses and coaches. These standards are based upon DVLA Group 2 you will need to book an appointment with your GP for this examination.
It is difficult to cover all possibilities, but certain conditions such as epilepsy, poor eyesight, insulin treated diabetes and serious heart problems could result in an application being refused. If possible make this section your priority as soon as you get your application form as an underlying condition could mean there is no point continuing with the application process.
Route Finding Skills
You won’t need the same knowledge and skills as a taxi driver because private hire journeys are pre-booked so journeys can be planned but you will still need to demonstrate skills which allow you to plan a journey including map reading and route selection.You will have to provide evidence of your topographical skills from an accredited topographical testing centre when sending back your application form.
You must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland or European Economic Area (EEA) state driving licence and must have had the licence for at least 3 years. If you hold an EAA licence then you must also obtain a GB counterpart before you can apply. If you haven’t held these for the required amount of time then there will be no point of applying.