Monday, 20 August 2012

How To - Private Hire Licence. Obtaining A Licence (Southampton)

My experiences of obtaining a Private Hire Licence.

These are some of my experiences associated with applying for a licence in connection with Southampton Chauffeur Hire.
Every council has different requirements and fees within the guidelines of the law and regulations.
You will need to obtain an application form and visit the council website to obtain all the relevant information. It is also advisable to personally visit the licencing department to get clarification and information for your own individual situation.
The council licencing department officers are very helpful and will guide you but don't take everything for granted as you are solely responsible for supplying all the necessary paperwork with correct information. Some forms are reliant upon third parties to complete which can delay and hold up the whole process. For example, the driving licence check is completed by DVLA. I had to obtain my own licence check, as the result had been lost, and hand it into the licencing department.
Be methodical and record when and to whom you submitted the forms and any advice obtained. This is handy for reference and quoting purposes. If later you get conflicting advice you can refer to any previous guidance. I intended to use a Mercedes, which I was initially informed, would not require CCTV cameras to be fitted due to warranty issues. At the time of final submission of application forms I was asked for the certificate of fitting for the camera monitoring system. This was soon clarified and I was informed that the original advice was accurate.

Personal Opinion Regarding Varying Council Requirements.

As previously stated, every council applies their own rules within the law and regulations. As a result fees vary and licence applicants face disproportionate requirements resulting in financial and practical differences.
In this day of equality and diversity I find it hard to understand how councils can apply different conditions throughout the UK. Surely applying for a licence in Southampton should be the same as applying for a licence in Eastleigh or the New Forest. Maybe this should be challenged at a higher level!

Southampton Council Requirements.

Fees vary depending upon your doctor.

Driving assessment.
A simple assessment completed by an authorised examiner to check you have the basic skills to drive safely and competently. This is carried out locally and includes an eye sight test (reading a number plate at the legal distance). This is straight forward and takes about one hour.

CRB (Criminal Records Bureau check) for any record.

Driving licence check carried out by DVLA. To check endorsements and history.

Professional Taxi Driver and Private Hire Driver BTEC course. Southampton Council require a certificate to be obtained. Eastliegh College run a course which is four hour sessions, one day per week, lasting about ten weeks. This is a basic course and well within most applicant's abilities. There are computer based exams with multi-choice answers. You are permitted to obtain your private hire licence with out a certificate as long as you successfully complete the course within 6 months of your licence commencement.

Letter from your employer. If you are to work for someone else then you must supply a letter from your employer.

For those who will be self employed you must obtain a vehicle of a suitable type (as per their list). A vehicle issued with any plate is not permitted to be over 7 years old.

Vehicle compliance certificate. Issued by a local authorised garage who carry out an examination similar to an MOT. These tests are required every 6 months.

Your premises must be passed for keeping your vehicle or vehicles. A letter from the Planning Department is required to state that planning permission is not required.

Insurance cover for private hire use. I obtained insurance for chauffeur use which offers a reduced premium. Like any insurance it is advisable to get several quotes for value for money. 

Upon a successful application you will be issued with a Private Hire Licence and an ID card for display. You will also be given a certificate for your business premises and relevant documents for your vehicle including a plate and a windscreen ID badge. The plate (restricted use) will be kept in the vehicle (boot) for production, if required.

This is a very brief account and is subject to council amendments. I would suggest that you make a list of what is required, the cost of each part, and the time lines involved. This will keep you on track and in control.

My next blog will be website www, contents and considerations.