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Taxi Licensing

Taxi and Private Hire advice for licence holders and passengers

  1. Advice for passengers

  2. Guidance for drivers and operators

  3. Using screens or shields in licenced vehicles

  4. Renewing your licence

  5. New vehicle or replacing an existing licensed vehicle

  6. Council appointed testing stations

  7. MOT

  8. Driver medical guidance

  9. Transferring your licensed vehicle to someone else

  10. Applying to become a licenced driver/What is happening with an existing application to be a licenced driver.

1. Taxis and private hire vehicles advice for passengers

From 23 September, customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear a face covering.

People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, continue to be exempt.

Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law from 24 September. Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.

Keep the appropriate distance from others during your journey, for example, at taxi ranks. If you need to be near other people you should:

  • avoid physical contact

  • try to face away from other people

  • keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible

Follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

You should use contactless payment if possible or find out if you can pay online in advance.

Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

2. Guidance for drivers and operators

All licenced drivers working currently should ensure they adhere to the government guidance safer transport for operators, to protect both their health and the health of their passengers.

You must undertake a risk assessment to show what steps including cleaning, personal protective equipment, contactless payments only or use of screens you are taking to reduce any infection risks.

3. Using screens or shields in licenced vehicles

The Chair and Vice Chair of the Licensing Committee have reviewed the use of shields and the taxi bubble. Their view is that BCP Council will not prevent the use of this product, but we do not endorse its use. We have real concerns that its use may give drivers a false sense of security, and may encourage them to continue working if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Members have approved the use of the following with the proviso that drivers are aware that these do not offer full protection against the virus and they must continue to follow the government guidance about hand washing.

Anyone wishing to use the taxi bubble MUST ensure that the screen is be cleaned and sanitised after each journey and that as BCP Council have not been involved in any part of the production or testing of the product we cannot comment on how successful it would be in stopping the spread of any disease.

If you wish to install a different shield system please refer to the government guidance and you must request the licensing officer to approve the system prior to installation.

4. Renewing your licence

The team are processing driver and vehicle renewals as quickly as possible, however we have a large backlog due to 6 months worth of renewals being received during September. 

We ask for your patience at this time, please rest assured your application will be processed as quickly as possible but this may take some weeks.

Reminders have now been sent out to all drivers and vehicle for BCP. 

Renewals due March to September MUST be received no later than 30 September 2020.

Renewals due from October onwards must be submitted prior to the normal expiry date.

All supporting documents should be scanned or photographed and attached to your email together with the relevant zone application form and should submitted by email to taxi.privatehire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

All licence fees can be paid online on our website and by following the instruction on your renewal letter.

Vehicle renewals in the Bournemouth zone with an overdue Southcote Road mechanical certificate will be required to submit a MOT Certificate from a local testing station dated within 7 days of the submission of your renewal paperwork.

Failure to submit renewal paperwork and payment by the stated date for any licence which was due for renewal between will be deemed lapsed and you will have to apply as a new driver or vehicle or operator if you have submitted all necessary documentation including enhanced DBS certificate by that date (not just receipt from GBG).

All renewals will be processed as if they were received on the original date of licence renewal and payment will cover the original licence period. 

5. New vehicle or replacing an existing licensed vehicle

New vehicle/replacement vehicle guidance:

The requirements for vehicles differ in each taxi zone, to avoid unnecessary costs we advise that you should consult the licensing officer before purchasing any new vehicles and follow the guidance below.

  • ensure the vehicle is suitable before you purchase it – send a Notice of intention form with photos showing all external angles and internal photos of front, and rear seats. We will require full details on age, mileage, make and model with internal dimensions and if wheelchair accessible we will require modification certificate if not factory fitted

  • once the licensing officer has confirmed the vehicle is suitable, you must submit the necessary application form and associated paperwork (V5 insurance as per the licensing zone you are in)

  • Bournemouth zone: until further notice, instead of a Southcote Road inspection you will be required to submit an MOT certificate dated no more than 7 days prior to the application date

  • Christchurch and Poole zones: there is no change to the vehicle testing requirements

  • For all Hackney Carriages, you will be required to provide full photographic evidence by email of the livery on the vehicle within 28 days of issue of the plate.

6. Council appointed testing stations

Southcote Road garage is open from 1 October 2020 and mechanical examinations due from this date onwards should be booked as normal.

Reminder letters will be sent to the licence holder which includes changes in the system on arrival.

7. MOT

We are aware of the central government guidance on the GOV.UK website, however as licenced vehicles you must meet this standard as most garages are open as normal we expect vehicles to be tested in line with the licensing policy of your zone, MOT certificates should be submitted by email to taxi.privatehire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

All MOTs which have or are due to expire between March and August must be submitted no later than 1 October.

From 1 August, you must have a MOT as usual.

8. Driver medical guidance

Drivers whose medicals are now overdue are expected to arrange for the group 2 medical examination to take place as soon as possible and no later than the following dates depending when your medical was due:

Original driver medical date dueNew submission date completed for medical certificate

1 March to 30 April 

30 September 2020 

 1 May to 30 June

31 October 2020 

1 July to 30 August 

30 November 2020 

1 September to 30 October 

 31 December 2020

 1 November to 31 December

 31 January 2021

All driver medicals due on or after 1 January 2021 will be expected to be submitted on time as per BCP policies.

We are aware that some GP surgeries are not providing this service. Completed drivers medical certificates will be accepted if issued by the private GP practice at the Nuffield Hospital, 67 Lansdowne Rd, Bournemouth BH1 1RW.

Nuffiled will only offer appointments to drivers who have obtained a summary of medical records from their NHS registered GP surgery – this is available at no charge.

You will be required to take the driver medical form for completion. To make an appointment at Nuffield Hospital, please call 01202 702808. The cost of this is £86.

9. Transferring your licensed vehicle to someone else

This requires all parties to be present  at the Bournemouth Civic Centre offices (Town Hall).

This service will now be provided by appointment only at the Bournemouth Customer Services Centre, St Stephens Road.

You are required to submit identification documentation for all parties involved in the licence (new and existing) via email prior to any appointment. You will also be required to answer health questions prior to any appointment.

If you wish to make an appointment, you should email taxi.privatehire@bcpcouncil.co.uk and put "Transfer clinic appointment" in the subject heading.

10. Applying to become a licenced driver/what is happening with an existing application to be a licenced driver

New applications will be to be accepted from 1 September 2020. Applicants must comply with the policy requirements for each zone.

All application criteria such as enhanced DBS, BTEC, right to work, confirmation of identification and a  drivers licence checkare required prior to any applicant sitting the knowledge or KART test.

Poole applicants will now have to sit a written examination instead of a verbal local knowledge test.

If you have an existing application, you will be contacted shortly to offer you a date for the written knowledge/KART test.

Test dates for this year:

  • 7 October 2020
  • 21 October 2020
  • 4 November 2020
  • 1 December 2020

Existing applicants will receive an email and then new applicants will be contacted.

On receipt of an email, applicants must confirm attendance by calling 01202 451180. We will need you make a payment,  provide your full name, address, email and mobile number as well as the zone your application is in and the date of choice.

Costs of the test per zone are:

  • Bournemouth: £60
  • Christchurch: £21
  • Poole: £37.50
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