Careful consideration is needed when choosing a vehicle to licence as either a private hire or hackney vehicle. It is vital that you read through the vehicle requirements on page 30 of our taxi licensing policy.
Please also be advised that when a vehicle is licensed, it may only be driven by a licensed driver in this borough, not family or friends. Some drivers consider that when they buy a vehicle to be licensed, it is a second family car but this is not the case. It is illegal for anyone else, other than a licensed driver, to drive a licensed vehicle at any time.
When a vehicle is licensed, it must a have a minimum of a full 12 months before it is seven years old. Vehicles older than this will not be licensed.
If you are satisfied that the vehicle meets the requirements then it must be inspected by Ashford MOT (01233 611919) to obtain a compliance certificate. A compliance is an enhanced MOT, which is an MOT with extra checks on the aesthetics of the vehicle inside and out. This vehicle test is essential when applying for a licence.
If you wish to licence a private hire vehicle then you will need to become a private hire operator in order to ‘operate’ the vehicle.
Please be advised that many first compliance tests fail. Common reasons for this include not have an in-date fire extinguisher or first aid kit.
When your vehicle has passed its compliance, please email the licensing team with the following information:
- Vehicle make and model;
- Colour (as per the V5);
- Vehicle registration;
- Number of passengers the vehicle can carry.
We will then make your licence plate for you to collect. It can take two to three working days for the plate to be made. We will contact you to arrange an appointment to visit the Civic Centre to collect it.
When you visit for the appointment, please bring the completed application form and vehicle licence fee for one year. We also require the following information at the appointment:
- V5 document in your name (or proof of purchase, e.g. receipt);
- Compliance certificate;
- Insurance certificate (showing hire and reward).
Vehicle licensing notes
- In the event that your application is refused or withdrawn you will not be refunded the application fee or any part thereof under any circumstances.
- For New and Transfer applications please email the licensing team before submitting the application.
- The Licence, if granted, will normally last for a 12 month period. If you already hold a current Licence for this plate and you are substituting another vehicle to replace the one already licensed then a fee will be payable. The Transferred Licence will expire at the same time as the one it replaces.
- There are a number of requirements for licensed vehicles. If you are unsure of these requirements please email the licensing team.
- Applicants who are applying for an LPG vehicle will be required to produce an ‘LPGA Comp2 - 2nd Edition’ form in respect of the vehicle at initial application.
- The authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. Further information can be found on our Counter Fraud Privacy Notice page.
Specific notes for Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licence
- If you intend using a private house as an operating centre for a private hire business (including the parking of more than one vehicle, servicing or maintenance of vehicles, or the use of part of the house for office purposes), planning permission will be necessary and you should seek advice. Further information can be found on our Planning and Building Control page.
- If the house referred to in the above is a council dwelling, the landlord, e.g. the Housing Manager, should also be informed. Further information can be found on our Becoming a Council Tenant page.
- Please note that with effect from 21 December 2020, that as a requirement for any vehicle licence application, renewal, or transfer to new owner (not vehicle change) that the applicant will be required to provide a Basic Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Where a company holds the licence, each director will be required to submit the basic disclosures. However where the applicant/director is also a driver they will not be required to submit a basic disclosure as the drivers Enhanced Disclosure and DBS Update Service will apply.
- To take effect from 1 April 2020, private hire vehicles must, at all times, display to the passenger the tariff card as issued annually by the Licensing Authority. Private hire vehicles not fitted with a meter may alternatively display a window sticker available upon request from us and display that in lieu of the tariff card. That sticker must be displayed on the windscreen in a position (such as where a tax disc would have been located) so as to be readable to passengers.