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Taxi Driver Licence

Information for people wishing to aquire a taxi drivers licence. Help with basic taxi testing and links to councils specific examinations

Taxi Drivers
Licence Fees
DVLA Checks
Local Authorities
Cabology Questions

Most taxi drivers are self-employed and own their own vehicle. This means that they are in charge of its maintenance, fuel, insurance, and accountancy. The job involves customer interaction as the driver picks up a diverse range of passengers and determines where they wish to go. Drivers must know the shortest and cheapest route, and be capable of handling money for the fare. It may also be necessary to help with luggage and assist passengers with mobility difficulties.

There are two kinds of taxi vehicle in operation:

Licensed hackney carriages
- These meet the truest definition of taxi in that these can be hailed off the street or at a taxi rank. They can be hailed in random locations where people frequent, picking up their fares as and when they are gestured to. The fares and the geographical boundaries for hackney carriages are set by the local authority. In London, hackney carriages are easily identified as the famous black cabs.

Licensed Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) - Also known as minicabs, these cars are not allowed to pick up passengers from the street and cannot display a 'taxi' light on the roof. Instead, they can be pre-booked by phoning or calling in at the minicab office which receives commission on their fares. They are often booked to pick up fares after nights out, from the airport or train, and even on school runs.

Legal Obligations

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) first introduced a non-statutory practical driving test for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire in 1999 and now DSA conduct tests on behalf of many Licensing Authorities on a national basis.

Some Licensing Authorities insist that before you are issued with a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire drivers licence you must pass a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire assessment. If your Licensing Authority requires you to take the test, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the content of the test and that you take professional instruction prior to taking the test.

The standard of the taxi assessment test is set at a level suitable for the full driving licence holder, which is therefore higher than the learner driver test.

To become a taxi driver you will need to get a licence from the Council. The licence is issued under an Act of Parliament called the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and is referred to as a Driver's License. The minimum age for applying for a drivers license is 21 years with one years driving experience (three years in London). To get a driver's licence the Council have to determine whether or not you are a "fit and proper person" under the terms of the Act. This involves a series of tests and checks being carried out with various organisations so that the Council can determine your application fairly and consistently.

Each licensing authority has its own conditions about issuing licences for taxi drivers, so you will have to check with your local authority as to the requirements expected of you.

It is obligatory that you:

Are able to work legally in the UK

Hold a full UK driver's licence issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or a full European Union driving licence together with a UK paper counterpart

Most authorities also require:

DVLA Check

This check is designed to give the Council an idea of your individual driving history. This allows them to determine whether or not you are a safe driver and capable of driving a vehicle in the manner expected of a taxi driver. It is also used to confirm that an applicant has held a full driving licence for a period of at least twelve months.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Check
This involves a search of your individual criminal record to establish whether or not you are a safe person to drive members of the public, some of which may be vulnerable, elderly, or infirm. The CRB is a central organisation that deals with all checks of criminal records for the Council.

Medical Examination
To drive a taxi you must be able to physically carry out the work required of a licensed driver. This may involve lifting heavy objects such as luggage or wheelchairs. Certain medical conditions may mean that you are not capable of driving professionally. The test is carried out by the Health at Work organisation. All drivers licensed by the council will be required to undergo a medical examination at ages 45, 50, 55 and 60 and then annually after reaching 60 years of age, in line with DVLA requirements.

Knowledge and Driving Test

In order to become a licensed taxi driver it is important that you have a good knowledge of the area in which you are going to work. The knowledge test is set in four parts each designed to test your knowledge of the area, the Highway Code, taxi licence conditions and the ability to use an A to Z effectively. The driving test is designed to find out whether you are capable of driving in a safe manner to a number of locations and is carried out in your own vehicle in the presence of a Licensing Officer.

All licensed London taxi drivers need to pass a special test before they can drive one of the Capital's famous black cabs. This test is called The Knowledge.

It takes between two and four years to pass the All-London Knowledge. Once you are licensed you can work anywhere in the Greater London area. All-London drivers - also known as Green Badge drivers - need a detailed knowledge of London within a six mile radius of Charing Cross. They have to learn 320 routes. The 320 main (standard) routes, or 'runs', through central London of the Knowledge are contained within the 'Blue Book' (officially known as the 'Guide to Learning the Knowledge of London'), produced by the Public Carriage Office which regulates licensed taxis in London. In all some 25,000 streets within a six mile radius of Charing Cross are covered along with the major arterial routes through the rest of London.

A taxicab-driver must learn these routes, as well as the 'points of interest' along those routes including streets, squares, clubs, hospitals, hotels, theatres, embassies, government and public buildings, railway stations, police stations, courts, diplomatic buildings, important places of worship, cemeteries, crematoria, parks and open spaces, sports and leisure centres, places of learning, restaurants and historic buildings.

The Knowledge includes such details as the order of theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue, or the names and order of the side streets and traffic signals passed on a route.

Suburban drivers (also known as Yellow Badge drivers) can choose from London's nine suburban sectors. They must know between 30 and 51 runs in detail. They also need to know all landmarks and places of interest on the runs. It takes around two years to become a licensed Suburban taxi driver. Once qualified, you can only work in the sector you are licensed for.

Taxis and PHVs outside London

Outside London, local authorities (district/borough councils or unitary authorities) are responsible for licensing taxis and PHVs. Licensing authorities have some say in terms of setting local licensing rules and standards.

The licensing authority also carries out checks as part of the licensing process. In relation to taxi licensing, local authorities can specify:

• The type or types of vehicle which they are prepared to license
• Specific colour requirements
• Age limits
• The strict standards and frequency of vehicle testing (above any statutory requirements that all vehicles must meet)
• Whether a taximeter is required
• Requirements on accessibility for disabled people

The legislation governing PHV licensing means a licensing authority can grant a PHV licence to a vehicle so long as it is:

• Suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle
• Not of such design and appearance as to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carriage (taxi)
• In a suitable mechanical condition
• Safe
• Comfortable

The eyesight test
At the start of your practical test you will be asked to read in good daylight (with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn) a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle with letters and figures 79.4 millimeters high at a distance of 20.5 meters (20 meters for a new style number plate). If you fail the eyesight test, you will be unable to take the driving part but will still be able to continue with the wheelchair section.

The practical test
The practical test will last for about 35 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. During the test you should drive in a natural way, and should not adjust your driving to what you may feel the examiner would expect to see. The examiner will give you clear instructions which you should follow throughout the test.

During the practical test, you will be examined on the following:

• awareness and anticipation
• effective planning of prevailing road and traffic conditions
• correct use of speed
• emergency stop (one in three tests)
• a maneuver involving reversing
• Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Car related exercise
• passenger safety and comfort
• wheelchair element (for Black Cab style only)
• Download Taxi safety Questions

The wheelchair exercise
If you are taking the taxi test with the wheelchair exercise you should also be able to:

• demonstrate your ability to securely erect the wheelchair ramps, floor ramp etc
• safely install the wheelchair in your vehicle
• secure seat belts/safety harness and also secure any wheel belts/clamps fitted to your vehicle
• reverse the process by taking off the belts, harnesses and clamps, taking the wheelchair out of the vehicle and putting the ramps away
• At the end of test

On passing the test you will receive:

• a pass certificate
• the offer of a debrief
• an assessment copy

If you pass the driving element of the taxi test you will receive a TPH10 certificate. If you pass the wheelchair element you will receive a WTA10 certificate.

If you fail the test you will receive:

• the offer of a debrief
• an assessment copy
• training advice

If you fail the taxi practical test you may retake the test again at a later date. You must, however, wait a minimum period of three clear working days between appointments. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test.

Fees for taking the taxi driving assessment

Some councils and local authorities insist that you first must pass the Driving Standards Agency's practical assessment before they can grant you a Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicle driver's licence.

You can choose to take your assessment on weekdays or - at extra cost - on a weekend or weekday evening.

Your taxi driving practical test fees vary depending on the type of test needed. In order to plan for your taxi driving practical test, you'll need to contact your local council. Ask them for the Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Assessment Pack.

The fees listed below are correct as of 30 March 2009.

WeekdayWeekend and evening
Hackney saloon vehicles, private hire saloon vehicles, Highway Code/traffic signs/cabology questions£78.00£94.00
Hackney wheelchair enhanced, wheelchair accessible vehicles and Highway code/traffic signs/cabology question£91.00 £110.00
Wheelchair exercise£26.00 £32.00

Local Taxi Authorities
For local taxi authorities click here.

Local licensing authorities will also ensure that the vehicles are properly insured.

UK Taxi Assessment Test

To pass you are permitted to accumulate up to
9 driving faults. If you accumulate 10 or more
driving faults you will fail. Any serious or dangerous
fault will be immediately recorded as a failure but
the assessment will still continue, finally returning
to the driving test centre. The taxi assessment is
reflective of modern driving practices and the
standard is set at a level suitable for full driving
licence holders. It is important that you do not
adjust your driving to what you may feel the
examiner would expect to see, do not drive in an
unnatural manner.

You may be asked to complete an
emergency stop, i.e demonstrate that you
can stop the vehicle as in an emergency,
promptly and under control (avoid

You will be asked to carry out two
manoeuvres one of which will be your
own choice, e.g reverse around a corner.
In both cases you will be expected to
demonstrate your ability to manoeuvre
your vehicle under control and with good
all-round effective observations, giving
consideration to other road users and

You will be asked on a number of
occasions to pull up on the left at a safe
and convenient place, as if a fare is either
going to get in or out of your vehicle.
Avoid parking next to lampposts and
trees - this could be potentially hazardous
for your passenger.

Whenever you have been stationary at
the side of the road, remember your
important safety check - check your blind
spot (look over your right shoulder) before
pulling away.

You need to use all your mirrors
effectively (interior and exterior) and at the
appropriate times. You should
demonstrate that you are aware of what is
happening around your vehicle at all
You need to signal correctly and in good
time to let other road users know your
intention - other road users need to see
and understand what you plan to do.

You will be expected to understand and
comply with traffic signs and road
markings, as they are there to help you
anticipate and plan your journey. You will
also need to see and react to signals
given by the police, traffic wardens etc.
and signals given by other road users.

You must be able to demonstrate your
ability to make progress when the speed
signs and the road and traffic conditions
dictate it is safe to do so. Equally it is
important to demonstrate that you
recognise and comply when in lower
speed limit areas.

You need to watch your separation
distance from the vehicle in front and also
your separation distance from parked

You need to use sound judgement and
planning when overtaking, meeting
oncoming vehicles and when turning right
in front of oncoming traffic. At no time be
in a situation where you cause another
vehicle to brake or swerve to avoid you

You should demonstrate that you are
aware of other road users at all times;
plan ahead, predict how the actions of
others will affect your driving and react in
good time. Be aware of vulnerable road
users such as pedestrians, cyclists,
motorcyclists etc. and act in good time,
rather than at the last moment

You will be asked a few questions on the
Highway Code, some general cabology
questions and asked to identify a few
traffic signs. This may include such
questions as the length, width or height,
tyre pressures, what to do if you found an
item of lost property in your cab.

It is important that you read The Highway Code and
be familiar with your vehicle. It is strongly advisable
to consider taking professional instruction prior to
taking the assessment.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Test

You should demonstrate your ability to
securely erect the wheelchair ramps
(whatever style of ramp is fitted to your

Safely install the wheelchair in your
vehicle, backing the chair to the fold
down seats, then securing both
wheelchair brakes

Secure seat belts/safety harness and also
secure wheel belts/clamps if fitted to your

Satisfy yourself that the wheelchair is
secure, as if to start a journey.
Then reverse the entire procedure.

It is important that you can demonstrate all the
principles of safety and security - if seat belts,
wheel belts or wheel clamps etc. are fitted then they
should be in good working order and applied,
whatever style of wheelchair accessible vehicle you
bring on assessment.

Driving Test Centres

Driving Test Centres listed below in bold are able to do the Wheelchair Assessment.

Aldershot (Farnborough)
Ashford (Kent)
Birmingham (Shirley)
Birmingham (South Yardley)
Bishop Auckland
Bishop Stortford
Bradford (Eccleshill)
Bradford (Heaton)
Bristol Multi Purpose Test Centre)
Bristol (Brislington)
Bristol (Southmead)
Burgess Hill
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Bury, Lancs
Cambridge (Chesterton Road)
Cambridge (Cowley Road)
Cardiff (Fairwater)

Coventry (Bayton Road)

Derby (Sinfin Lane)

Farnborough (Aldershot)
Gillingham LGV
Glasgow (Shieldhall)
Guildford LGV

Herne Bay MPTC
High Wycombe (Bucks)

Lee on the Solent
Leeds (Harehills)
Leicester (Gipsy Lane)
Leicester (Welford Road)
Leicester (Wigston)
Lower Gornal
Merthyr Tydfil

Newton Abbott
North Allerton
Nottingham (Chalfont Drive)
Nottingham (Colwick)
Poole LGV

Sheffield (Handsworth)

Southampton (Forest Hills)
Southampton (Maybush)
St Albans
St Helens

Tunbridge Wells


Cabology Questions

Only the questions in bold print will be used on black cab style taxi tests

Q. Whilst driving a taxicab, how would you know if the rear automatic door locking system became inoperative?
A. The warning light on the dashboard will illuminate (green with black key icon)

Q If the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are driving are 35psi at the front and 40psi at the rear, what would you consider the correct pressure for the spare to be?
A. 40psi, because it would be easier to deflate than inflate a tyre at the roadside

Q. As a Hackney Carriage driver, what is your main responsibility?
A. The safety and comfort of your passengers.

Q. How would you show consideration for passengers alighting from your vehicle?

A. Stop close to the kerb and avoid proximity to obstructions (street furniture, trees etc)
Q. As a licensed driver, what must you wear and display conspicuously with you at all times?
A. The Taxi driverís badge.

Q. If you found an item of lost property left in your taxicab, what would you do with it?
A. Either hand it into a Police Station or Local licensing Office within 24 hours, depending on local regulations.

Q. What is the minimum legal requirement of a tyre tread depth?

A. 1.6mm.

Q. If the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are driving are 35psi at the front and 40psi at the rear, what would you consider the correct pressure for the spare to be?

A. 40psi; because it would be easier to deflate than inflate a tyre at the roadside.

Q. As a Private Hire taxi driver, what is your main responsibility?
A. The safety and comfort of your passengers.

Q. How would you show consideration for passengers alighting from your vehicle?
A. Stop close to the kerb and avoid proximity to obstructions (street furniture, trees etc).

Length 4580m/m 180.45in
Width (mirrors out) 2036m/m 80.22in
Height 1834m/m 72.26in
Tyre pressures: front 35psi rear 40psi

As for TX1 except for length, which is: 4575mm
LT1. FX4 Fairway:
Length 4580m/m 180.45in
Width 1750m/m 69.00in
Height 1755m/m 69.50in
Tyre pressures: front 35psi front 36psi

Metrocab series 3 & TTT:
Length 4505m/m 177.38in
Width 1770m/m 69.69in
Height 1755m/m 69.50in
Tyre pressures: front 38psi front 38psi
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