Taxi licensing

COVID-19: Important information

The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential at this time. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

If absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, your best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home and requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.

Vehicle Licensing

New arrangements take effect from Monday 30th March and will remain in place until further notice. The vehicle testing stations have shown great co-operation with us at this difficult time, for which we are thankful, and it is only with their co-operation that we have been able to formulate this plan. The new process is as follows.

Vehicle Licensing Process

  • When your licence is due present your vehicle to a testing station to be tested in the normal way
  • The testing station will provide you with a vehicle licence application form to complete or you can download one here
  • Complete the application form ensuring up to date contact details such as name, address, email and telephone number are included
  • Email the One Stop Shop (OSS) attaching a copy of the test certificate, V5, the vehicle insurance and the application form to
  • All applications will receive a confirmation e-mail from the OSS when the licence application has been processed
  • Owners of vehicles renewing should retain the old plates on the licensed vehicle and drivers should keep the confirmation email from the OSS available at all times the vehicle is working as evidence that the vehicle has a current and valid licence.
  • Owners of new vehicle licence applications should wait until the plates are received and affixed to the vehicle before commencing any work.
  • The plates will be posted to the address given on your application form.
  • Please note that new standard vehicles must be under 8 years old (unless previously licensed by the Council in the preceding 6 months) or under 11  years old for purpose built taxis.

Please find the licensing handbook here 

Face Coverings

 With effect from 23 September 2020, Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles have now been classed as “public transport” for the purposes of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020.

The effect of this change is that passengers aged 11 or over must, when boarding or being carried in a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle, wear a face covering (a covering of any type which covers their nose and mouth). For the avoidance of doubt this legal requirement does not apply to the driver of the Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle – the current Government Guidance is that face coverings should be worn by drivers but this is advisory only and not a legal requirement.

PLEASE BE AWARE that a passenger aged 11 or over is not required to wear a face covering if they have a “reasonable excuse” not to do so. Such a “reasonable excuse” would include, but is not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • The Passenger cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or without severe distress;
  • The Passenger is travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person who relies on lip reading;

Hackney Carriage Drivers and Private Hire Vehicle drivers may refuse entry into their vehicle of a person not wearing a face covering and once in the vehicle, if they consider it necessary and proportionate, the driver can direct that a covering be worn by a passenger failing which they may direct the passenger to disembark the vehicle and if they fail to do so a Constable (not the driver) may remove them from the vehicle.

Driver Licensing 

Driver Renewals

We will no longer auto renew any driver licence that has already been auto renewed once. The One Stop Shop will make contact with all drivers to process the renewal of their licence.

Any driver wanting to query the status of their licence or application should email with their badge number, name and a valid contact telephone number.

New Driver Applications

New arrangements take effect from 1 September 2020 and will remain in place until further notice. Applicants for New Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Driver licences should download and complete the New Driver Application form. Once complete the application form and related copies of documents should be e-mailed to

Once received we will check all documentation and start the process. We will correspond with you by e-mail with the next steps in the application process.

Driver Application Form (word 52KB)

Operator Licensing

All operator licences will also have their licence automatically extended for 6 months with similar requirements regarding payment as drivers.

Vehicle Screens

Vehicle screens are viewed like any other vehicle modification. If the installation of a screen does not adversely affect the safety or performance of a vehicle then they can be installed. For further advice on vehicle modifications please contact one of our approved testing stations – details of our testers can be found in the handbook.

Hackney Carriage Plate Owners

If any Hackney Carriage plate owner wants to put their licence/plate on hold then please contact the One Stop Shop via email with your request.

If anyone has made a SORN then send a copy through and we will make a note on file.

There is no need to re-test or re-licence the vehicle during this time and if the plate lapses during the time ‘on hold’ we will treat as a normal renewal on whatever date a fresh licence is issued. 

VRQ Level 2 Qualification in Transporting Passengers by Taxi and Private Hire

The Council is establishing an ‘Accredited Trainer Scheme’ to ensure that qualifications will only be accepted from genuine training organisations that achieve accredited status. The scheme will be open to any training organisation that satisfy the criteria. To apply, please contact us at

The Council will refuse to accept any qualifications from non-accredited training providers after 31 October 2020 (regardless of when the qualification was obtained). The closing date for accredited trainer applications is 16 October 2020. All known training providers have been contacted to inform them of the changes. Please check if your training provider has been accredited by the Council before starting any course.

All vehicles must be tested for fitness by one of our appointed testing stations including a taximeter accuracy check. The vehicle test standards are provided in the Vehicle Preconditions document.

To apply for a new licence, applicants must attend the Sefton One Stop Shop and provide:

  • The vehicle pass certificate
  • Valid current proof of Public Hire Insurance cover for the vehicle
  • The vehicle registration document (or bill of sale for recently purchased vehicles)
  • The licence fee (this will vary depending on the licence type)

If your application is successful and payment is made the licence and plates will be issued.

Please note, both One Stop Shops are currently closed, with Bootle set to reopen with significant restrictions from September 14, and a reopen date still to be set for Southport. You will need to contact the Council Taxi Licensing team by email to organise an appropriate time to visit the One Stop Shop. 

When you receive your renewal reminder letter, complete the enclosed application form and put this with the documentation listed above (for a new licence) - including either a cheque or the receipt from the One Stop Shop payment kiosk - in an envelope provided at the reception desk at Bootle One Stop Shop, 324 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3ET (Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Drop off applications may take up to 5 working days to process. You will then be notified when the renewed licence and plates are ready for collection. So please make sure your application is submitted well in advance.

You will also need to return your old internal and external vehicle licence plates when collecting your new plates.

Please note, both One Stop Shops are currently closed, with Bootle set to reopen with significant restrictions from September 14, and a reopen date still to be set for Southport. You will need to contact the Council Taxi Licensing team by email to organise an appropriate time to visit the One Stop Shop. 


Any horse drawn or pedicab omnibus vehicles are required by law to be licensed by Sefton Council to stand or ply for hire along permitted routes. 

At the present time the only approved routes are within the tourist areas in Southport. These vehicles must charge at separate fares (per passenger).

To apply for a new licence, applicants must contact the Council Taxi Licensing Team by email and notify us that you wish to apply for a licence.

You will then be contacted by Taxi Licensing who will arrange an appointment with you for your vehicle to be inspected by a qualified examiner.

Once your vehicle has passed its inspection, you will be required to produce:

  • A valid certificate of relevant insurance cover
  • Your Licence and Vehicle inspection fees (this will vary depending on licence type)

For Horse Omnibus vehicles only

  • A valid certificate of fitness issued by a specialist veterinary surgeon, for each horse that is to be used. [Each certificate remains valid for one year.]

If all the above is in order, you will be issued with a vehicle licence.

Any person who wishes to invite or accept bookings for private hire journeys from an address within Sefton is required by law to hold a licence issued by Sefton Council.

To apply for a new licence, applicants must contact the Council Taxi Licensing Team by email to book an appointment at a Sefton One Stop Shop, where you are required to bring:

  • Planning permission, or a letter from the planning department stating that you do not need planning permission.  Apply for letter online
  • The licence fee (this will vary depending on the number of licensed vehicles that you wish to use at any one time).
  • a Certificate of Incorporation if the application is to be made as a limited company

If your application is successful and the name you wish to use does not resemble another then you will be issued with a licence and a copy of the Private Hire Operator's Conditions.

You will be required to keep records of every journey and are responsible for ensuring that the journeys booked are completed.

We can only issue a Private Hire Operators licence if the premises that you wish to operate from is within the area of Sefton.

One Stop Shop locations:

  • Bootle324 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3ET (Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
  • SouthportCambridge Arcade, Southport (Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

 Please note that both One Stop Shops are currently closed, with Bootle expected to reopen on September 14, with significant restrictions and no date set to reopen Southport yet. 

All Hackney Carriage, Private Hire, Horse and Pedicab Omnibus Driver’s Licences Fees & Charges

Driver Licences

All Drivers    One Year    £30
Application Fee (new drivers only)     £15

All Vehicle Licences

Private Hire (upto 8 years old)   One year    £145
Private Hire (over 8 years old)   Six months   £84
All Hackney Carriages (up to 8 years old)   One year   £145
Non-Metropolitan Hackney Carriages (over 8 years old)   Six months   £84
Metropolitan Hackney Carriages (8-11 years old)   One year   £145
Metropolitan Hackney Carriages (Over 11 years old)   Six months   £84
Horse Omnibus (any age)   One year   £130
Pedicap Omnibuses    One year   £70

All Private Hire Operator’s Licences (Max 5 years)

 Operating 1-2 vehicles   One year   £37
 Operating 3-50 vehicles   One year   £180
 Operating 51-100 vehicles   One year   £220
 Operating 100+ vehicles   One year   £250

Miscellaneous Fees

Transfer of Hackney to Private Hire licence                               £25          
Transfer of Private Hire to Hackney licence      £25
Transfer of Licence holder - any vehicle     £25
Change of vehicle registration - any vehicle     £25
Duplicate licence (any type)     £15
Duplicate driver's badge or internal vehicle plate     £8
Duplicate external vehicle plate     £15
Enhanced DBS check     £50
DVLA driver licence check     £5

Solicitor & RTA Written Response Fees (Minimal)

Simple release of data                   


Complex release of data (charge per hour)                                £80

All prices correct at January 2020. 

Before granting a licence we require applicants to:

  • Undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check; 
  • Undergo a DVLA Records Referral process; 
  • Pass the handbook-based Knowledge Test (Not needed for horse omnibus or pedicab driver licence) Knowledge Tests cannot be booked until 4 weeks have passed since the initial application;
  • Pass a British Driving Society test of competence with horse drawn vehicles (horse omnibus only);
  • Produce a satisfactory Medical Certification from their own registered GP or a GP with access to their medical records (We have adopted the DVLA Group II medical standard) 
  • Achieve the Vocationally Related Qualification in Transporting Passengers by Taxi & Private Hire (VRQ) (New Applicants).

If your application is successful you will then be required to pay a Licence fee. This will vary depending on licence type and length.

Sefton Council has a restricted number of Hackney Carriage Licences available (271) which are all currently allocated.

The Council maintains a waiting list for anyone wanting a licence should one become available. You can make an application for a licence at either Bootle or Southport One Stop Shop, but due to Coronavirus, restrictions mean you have to book an appointment with the Council Taxi Licensing Team by emailPlease note that it may be several years before a licence becomes available.

If you have already submitted an application then check your reference to find your position on the list below.

Position on list































*Bootle and Southport One Stop Shops are currently closed, with Bootle set to reopen September 14 with signifcant restrictions and no Taxi Licensing appointments in the opening weeks. No date has yet been set to reopen Southport One Stop Shop.

Please complete the online form to report an issue. 

We will investigate and take the appropriate action. If you have provided your contact details we will aim to respond within 15 days of your enquiry.

Private Hire Vehicles

The Council’s current handbook of conditions state that a private hire driver, upon finding any property in his vehicle, should take it to a Police Station within 48 hours or return it to the passenger. Since September 2015, Merseyside Police no longer routinely accept lost property. It is now the responsibility of private hire operators to deal with enquiries regarding lost property left in vehicles. If you have left property in a private hire vehicle then you should contact the operator as soon as possible.

Hackney Carriage Vehicles

The current byelaws relating to hackney carriages state that property should be taken to a Police Station within 48 hours. If you have flagged down a taxi in the street or used a vehicle at a rank it may not be possible to trace the hackney carriage you have travelled in without recording either the details of the vehicle or the driver. If the vehicle was pre booked you should contact the company or operator you made the booking through as soon as possible.

Sefton Council do not retain any lost property but if you are having difficulty getting items returned then please get in touch by using the online form in ‘how to complain about a Sefton taxi’ and we may be able to help. The current handbook will be updated in due course to reflect the current guidance.”

The Council has adopted Section 165 of the Equality Act which makes it an offence for drivers of designated vehicles to refuse to carry a passenger in a wheelchair unless that driver has a valid exemption.

The current list of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles is shown below along with guidance for drivers on their duties as well as an explanation of the reasonable mobility assistance that is expected. Details on the type and size of wheelchairs that are covered is also contained in the guidance.

If you are applying to be a new Sefton Taxi Driver, contact rhe Council Taxi Licensing Team by email to arrange an appointment. All subsequent visits to a One Stop Shop can be made without the requirement for an appointment.

Applicants must attend a Sefton One Stop Shop with:

  • Your full driving licence [DVLA, EEC or Northern Irish] or your old-style paper licence. You must have held a licence for at least 12 months
  • 2 other documents from either Group 1 or Group 2 (as described for a Disclosure and Barring Service check)
  • A full list of all the addresses you have lived at in the last 5 years without any gaps
  • Details of your doctor. You will require a DVLA Group II standard medical. This can be completed by your own registered GP or a GP who has access to your medical records (not needed for horse omnibus or pedicab driver licences)
  • Your fees for the DBS check and DVLA referral
  • The details of the Sefton licensed Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence Holder (Plate Number and address) that you intend to use.

One Stop Shop locations:

  • Bootle - 324 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3ET (Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
  • Southport - Cambridge Arcade, Southport (Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Please note: Applicants are no longer required to provide their own colour passport photograph. We will take a photograph of you during your visit which will be stored and used for licensing purposes only.


Last Updated on 09 October 2020

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