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Taxi licensing

Sefton Council have successfully implemented a new Taxi Licensing computer system which will be available for customers to use from Tuesday, 2nd April 2024.  This new system now allows all taxi drivers, vehicle owners and operators to upload various evidence documents as well as pay all licensing fees via an online portal.

The implementation of the new system will however mean some short-term changes to normal service delivery timescales, and we are encouraging all Taxi Licensing customers to submit their application and evidence, well in advance of the date that they are expecting to be licensed from.  

The e-mail that was previously used to submit all types of Taxi Licensing applications and supporting evidence is now permanently closed and is no longer monitored.

To access the new system you will need to have an e-mail address and be able to make any payments on-line. If you are invited into Bootle One Stop Shop  you will need to be able to access your e-mails and make on-line payments when on site.

How to sign up to the new system 

You can use this link to access the new system

As we enter this crucial period, our first priority will be to ensure that all current Sefton licence holders continue to be licensed in a timely manner. We encourage all customers to read the letters that they receive very carefully as these have recently been changed. When accessing the new system, please follow the scripts and answer all questions that are marked as mandatory. It is vitally important that you only upload documents that are specifically requested, submitting incorrect or unnecessary documents may delay how quickly we deal with your application.

Online support will be provided at Bootle One Stop Shop between the hours of 10am to 12.00 pm and 2pm and 4pm, should it be needed; Please remember to bring in all the required evidence with you, however you may experience long waiting times to receive support.   

We also request that you do not visit our One Stop Shops to check on progress or enquire when we will be dealing with your application as this will only delay how quickly new driver applications will be processed.

New Driver Applications - Contact has now been made with all drivers who submitted their email application during the period 1st August 2023 to 1st April 2024, confirming what needs to be done next. The e-mail that you receive from Sefton will be from a no-reply, unmonitored mailbox and it will clearly detail what you need to do and direct you to our new Taxi Licensing portal. All future communication regarding your new driver application must be done through the portal and we must stress that we will not respond to any e-mails outside of the portal and contact by phone will not be an option.

For New Driver Applications that were received from 2nd April 2024 onwards, we have yet to review your application, but once we do, we will contact you via e-mail.   

This page is regularly updated in order to keep you up to date with timescales as and when they change – we appreciate your patience.    

New Driver Applications

The process for applying for a new driver licence is detailed below.

Sefton Council will undertake an assessment of whether an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence with reference to a number of checks. The list below isn’t exhaustive.

DVLA Check – We check an applicant’s entitlement to drive and their driving history by use of an on-line code generated by the applicant.

All cautions, convictions and pending matters must be disclosed, any omission may lead to a licence being refused. Please see our convictions policy within our Licensing Handbook.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check – Sefton Council only accept Enhanced Certificates that have access to the Vulnerable Adults Barred List and Vulnerable Child Barred List. It is a condition of licence that all drivers subscribe and maintain subscription to the DBS Update Service.

If you don’t currently have a valid certificate and subscription you can apply via TaxiPlus.

You will need to provide your certificate and we will consider any convictions in line with our published Convictions Policy and any disqualification period(s).

National Register Check (NR3) – We will consult the National Register of Refusals and Revocations to determine whether you have had a licence revoked or refused by another authority.

Right To Licence Check– A check will be made on every applicants right to live and work in the UK. This can be evidenced by a document check or by obtaining an electronic check code.

Conditionality Check – This check evidences that an applicant is registered and has declared licensing income to HMRC in particular circumstances as follows. If you are applying for the same type of licence you have previously held with any licensing authority that ceased to be valid less than a year ago or applying for the same type of licence you already hold with another licensing authority.

Medical Check – Sefton Council require a satisfactory full vocational  (DVLA Group II) Medical examination obtained via applicants own G.P.; a G.P at another practice or any GMC registered doctor provided they have access to the applicants full medical records. A medical is required on first licensing, on reaching 45 years of age, 55 years of age, 65 years of age and every three years thereafter. Medical certificates are only valid if less than four months old at submission.

Knowledge Test – A Knowledge Test pass is required before licensing. The test is based on the Licensing Handbook and a score of at least 7 out of 10 is required. Applicants whose last licence has expired by less than two years do not need to re-take the knowledge test.

The Mitigation Process – Sefton Council will take all relevant circumstances into account when making Licensing decisions. If any of the checks above identify issues that could lead to a refusal it will allow an opportunity for the applicant to submit further information upon such matters and circumstances surrounding them. The applicant may also present character references.

Contact has now been made with all drivers who submitted their email application during the period 1st August 2023 to 1st April 2024, confirming what needs to be done next. The e-mail that you receive from Sefton will be from a no-reply, unmonitored mailbox and it will clearly detail what you need to do and direct you to our new Taxi Licensing portal. All future communication regarding your new driver application must be done through the portal and we must stress that we will not respond to any e-mails outside of the portal and contact by phone will not be an option.

For New Driver Applications that were received from 2nd April 2024 onwards, we have yet to review your application, but once we do, we will contact you via e-mail.   

If you can satisfy the checks above it is now time to submit your application and supporting evidences via our online portal.

Driver Licensing (Renewals) 

All renewal letters will be posted out to drivers confirming the date that their licence expires.

You will be required to submit your renewal application via our online portal. A how to guide will be sent with your renewal letter detailing how to do this.

Tax regulations in force since April 2022

Since 4th April 2022, it has been necessary to complete a tax check to renew a taxi, private hire, taxi operator or scrap metal licence, or to apply for the same type of licence with a different licensing authority.

We cannot process your application without your tax check code. You can complete this by visiting the website.

Vehicle Licensing Process

  • When your licence is due present your vehicle to a testing station to be tested in the normal way.
  • You will then need to submit your application using our online portal.
  • Register your details within the portal then complete the online application form ensuring all relevant documents/evidences are uploaded.
  • All applications will receive a confirmation email when the licence application has been received.
  • You will be sent a payment link through the online portal once your plate is ready to be processed and you will need to make payment for the plate by debit card before it is produced.
  • 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 or be available for collection from Bootle One Stop Shop.
  • If you are applying for a Vehicle Change and your existing licence has a prefix PV9999, for example, please visit Bootle One Stop Shop with your original documents and you will be supported through the process. You will be required to have access to an e-mail account and the facility to pay on-line.

  • If you are applying for a Vehicle Change and your existing licence starts with the prefix V8888, for example, you should access your portal account and apply for a Vehicle Replacement by clicking on the original licence and then clicking Replacement Vehicle

You can use this link to download the licensing handbook. 

Operator Licensing

Any operator wanting to renew their licence (or any application for a new licence) should submit an application via our online portal.  

Attendance at the One Stop Shop

Please note that attendance at Bootle One Stop Shop is strictly by appointment only, except for ‘Driver Renewals’. Anyone attending without an appointment, other than Driver Renewals will not be seen. Any person becoming abusive or aggressive to staff within the OSS will likely be refused a licence.

Please also note that if you are waiting to arrange an appointment for a New Driver Application then a member of the OSS will contact you via your online portal once an application has been submitted and is being processed .

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

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 apply via our online portal you will need to provide: 

  • Planning permission, or a letter from the planning department stating that you do not need planning permission. Use the link to apply for letter online.
  • Proposed door signs.
  • 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 contacted for payment and 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

Bootle One Stop Shop located on 324 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3ET.

Bootle One Stop Shop is operating  during the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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 (up to 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  £50      

Complex release of data (charge per hour)  £80


All prices correct at January 2020.

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





















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.


Last Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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