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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. Financial assistance for self employed licence holders
  4. Using screens or shields in licenced vehicles
  5. Renewing your licence
  6. New vehicle or replacing an existing licensed vehicle
  7. Council appointed testing stations
  8. MOT
  9. Driver medical guidance
  10. Transferring your licensed vehicle to someone else
  11. 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

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. 

Unlike other public transport sectors, there is no legal requirement for driver or passengers to wear face coverings or masks. 

You are advised to undertake a risk assessment, this will show what steps you are undertaking to reduce any infection risks both for yourself and your passenger. This could include cleaning, sanitising, use of personal protective equipment, contactless payments and use of screens.

3. Financial assistance for self employed licence holders

If you're self-employed and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

4. Using screens or shields in licenced vehicles

BCP Council will not prevent the use of screens but we do not endorse its use.

As most of the shields in use are primarily meant for the protection of physical harm for drivers, they are not a proven safety measure against COVID-19. 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.

The following products have been sanctioned for use 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, especially hand washing.

Anyone wishing to use these products MUST ensure that the screen is cleaned and sanitised after each journey.

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 product, please refer to the government guidance and submit full details of the product together with manufacture details and all safety information to taxi.priviatehire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

The licensing officer will then seek the necessary approval and let you know if the system is suitable.

5. Renewing your licence

Updated guidance June 2020:

With the ease of lockdown, we now recommend that any vehicles or drivers that are working and their licences have expired should submit full renewal paperwork as soon as possible.

We will be sending out reminders from July and all driver, vehicle or operators renewals must be submitted by email to taxi.privatehire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

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

All licences that were/are due for renewal between March and September must be submitted by 1 October 2020. They must be accompanied by all the necessary documentation including the enhanced when necessary DBS certificate (not just the receipt from the Post Office) and payment for the licence. 

If you fail to submit your renewal by 1 October 2020, the licence will be deemed lapsed and you will have to apply as a new driver or for a new vehicle or operator licence.

Given the expected high volume of applications which will come in, please do not leave it until the last minute as it is likely to take at least 2 weeks to process renewals.

In the interim period, existing identification badges and licence plates will have to be displayed and you can provide this information as evidence of the council’s policy if questioned by the police, passengers and insurance providers. 

Please note that 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. 

6. 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.

7. Council appointed testing stations 

Update June 2020:

Whilst our primary aim is to protect public safety, we also have to keep critical services for residents as a whole and not any one trade. 

As of 23 March 2020, the Bournemouth testing station at Southcote road mechanical depot closed its doors to taxi testing. When this facility is reopened, the guidance will be updated. 

In the Christchurch zone, the testing stations are open as usual.

8. 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 September must be submitted no later than 1 October.

9. Driver medical guidance 

As of 19 March 2020, BCP Council licensing authority have  temporarily suspended the driver’s medical requirement for 6 months in response to the current pandemic and emerging difficulties associated with it.

All drivers who are due to submit medicals in the coming weeks will be issued with guidance that we will allow them to keep driving as long as they have no medical reasons not to do so.

We urge all drivers to check the DVLA guidance to ensure that they are safe to drive. 

Any driver with diabetes should follow the blood sugar testing guidelines.

It is the drivers responsibility to report any medical concerns to the licensing team by email to taxi.privatehire@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

10. Transferring your licensed vehicle to someone else

Transferring your licensed vehicle to someone else requires all parties to be present at the Civic Centre/Town Hall offices for identification checks. Until these are open we cannot provide this service.

When the centres do open, we will provide the service by appointment only.

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

No new applications will be processed for the foreseeable future.

Anyone currently in the process of applying for a licence will have their application suspended. You will be notified when you can progress with your application.