Taxi licensing - private hire vehicles

Find out how to apply for or renew a private hire vehicle licence.

Private hire vehicles are licensed to perform pre-booked work only, they cannot ply for hire or use taxi ranks.

Unlike hackney carriages, all private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through a Private Hire Operator licensed by the same authority.

A vehicle licensed as a private hire vehicle continues to be a private hire vehicle at all times unless suspended or lapsed. Therefore, a private hire vehicle may be driven only by a person who holds licence issued by the same authority.

New and renewal applications may be made in respect of any suitable vehicle under the age of 10 years.  The age of the vehicle will be determined from the date of first registration as stated on the vehicle registration document.

No age limit will be applied to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, but they must have European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval. This will be shown on either the vehicle’s V5 registration document, additional chassis number on the vehicle or by a Certificate of Conformity.

No licence application will be granted unless the vehicle has passed the test to the satisfaction of the appointed garage.

 Vehicle inspection form (pdf / 210 KB)

No private hire vehicles will be granted a licence if it is licensed in another district due to the problems of meeting the variance in conditions applied in different districts and the enforcement of those conditions in cases of non-compliance (such as signs, suspensions or revocations).

Hackney carriage approved garages

Any DVSA-accredited MOT testing station in the North Yorkshire Council area. You must download the  vehicle inspection form (pdf / 210 KB) and provide it to the garage carrying out the testing.

If your vehicle is already licensed by Harrogate please check with the Harrogate licensing team, as you may have already paid for your test upfront. If so, you should have your vehicle tested at Simon Graeme Auto Service Centre, Grayston Plain Lane, Hampsthwaite, Harrogate, HG3 2LY.

Preferred garages

In Scarborough – council in-house testing. You can book online via our MOT services page.

In Craven – Midgley Motor Cars, Airedale Business Park, Keighley Road, Skipton, BD23 2TZ.

What will it cost?

All private hire vehicles licences are issued for 12 months:

New vehicle application £330 plus test fee
Renewal application £265 plus test fee

At present the licence fee for both new and renewal applications in respect of wheelchair accessible vehicles has been waived.

Find out more about taxi fees and fares.

How do I pay?

You pay directly to the MOT garage if you live in the Selby area.

You can pay online if you live in the Hambleton area.

For all other areas, contact us to pay in person or over the phone, please note we do not accept cash payments.

Whichever payment method you use, please use your licence number if renewing, or the full registration if not, and your full name as the reference and let us know you have paid.

Required signage for all private hire vehicles

At all times whilst licensed, a private hire vehicle shall display:

  • an external plate provided by the licensing authority securely and permanently affixed to the rear of the vehicle
  • an external plate provided by the licensing authority securely and permanently affixed to the front of the vehicle
  • a self-adhesive side panel provided by the licensing authority permanently affixed centrally and squarely on each of the front doors of the vehicle
  • an internal plate provided by the licensing authority displayed on the passenger side of the dashboard facing into the vehicle
  • at least two adhesive signs advising passengers how to complain to the licensing authority about any licensed driver, vehicle or operator in a position that can be easily read by passengers from the front and rear of the vehicle

You can find  generic guidance on applying vinyl signs to your vehicle here (pdf / 2 MB).

How do I apply to license a private hire vehicle? 

First, read our  Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (pdf / 675 KB) to make sure that your vehicle meets all the requirements of a private hire vehicle, in particular the private hire vehicle specification.

Applications will not be processed by the licensing authority unless we are in receipt of:

  • the relevant fully completed application form (see below)
  • all supporting documents (see below)
  • the appropriate fee

Download the appropriate application form here:

Applications should be submitted to your local office or to the local office email address, as shown on the applications forms. If applying by email, we may still need to see you in person with some of your documents.

Supporting documents

You will need to supply the following with your application form:

  • the vehicle registration document (V5C) in the name of the proprietor/part-proprietor or formal confirmation from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that the vehicle has been registered in the applicant’s name. If neither is available, verifiable proof of ownership may be accepted (such as a bill of sale from a reputable firm)
  • a current vehicle insurance certificate or cover note which includes the carriage of passengers for private hire
  • confirmation that the vehicle has an MOT test Certificate (required for all vehicles aged over one year as from the date of first registration as shown on the vehicle registration document)
  • proof that the Licensing Authority’s testing arrangements have been satisfied
  • an appropriate engineer’s report (only for vehicles subject to a Category C, D or N insurance write-off) verifying the standard of repairs. N.B. Vehicles which have been subject to a Category A, B or S insurance write-off cannot be licensed
  • a satisfactory basic criminal record check (gov.uk) in respect of all proprietors (or in the case of a company or partnership, in respect of all directors or partners). Note, no criminal record check or certificate of good conduct will be required if you have already been deemed suitable to currently hold a hackney carriage or private hire or combined driver badge issued by North Yorkshire Council or one of our predecessor authorities
  • a Certificate of Good Conduct (only if the applicant has lived overseas for a period of six months or more in the 10-year period leading up to the date of application)

How long will my private hire vehicles application take? 

We will aim to process valid applications within 5 working days of receipt of all required documents.

For renewals, applications should be made at least two weeks before the expiry date of the current licence to allow reasonable time for the application to be processed. Any application for the renewal of a licence will not be accepted after the date of expiry.

Licence plates will be issued directly to the applicant via a third-party supplier using Royal Mail second class post. It is therefore not possible to collect licence plates from your local office.

Grandfather rights

Existing licence holders will be given grandfather rights. This means any vehicle licensed prior to 1 April 2023 by any of the predecessor authorities to North Yorkshire Council may remain licensed on renewal until 10 years old or until such time as it would have been permitted by the terms of the relevant predecessor authority’s existing policy (whichever is later). New and replacement vehicles will be subject to the requirements of the new policy.

What if my application is refused?

If the authorised officer has any concerns about an application for the grant of a Private Hire Vehicle licence, it will be referred to the General Licensing and Registration Sub-Committee for a decision. If the application is refused by the Sub-Committee, an appeal against the refusal must be made to the Magistrates’ Court.  Any appeal must be made within 21 days following notice of a decision.

Frequently asked questions

I am buying a new private hire vehicle - how do I change my private hire vehicle licence?

You must complete a change of vehicle application form.

The fee is £50.

How do I transfer my private hire vehicle to someone else?

You must complete a vehicle transfer application form.

The fee is £50.

My private hire vehicle has been in an accident / incident. I need to report a problem with my private hire vehicle.

You must do so as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 72 hours of its occurrence.