How to apply for a PCO-Private Hire Minicab license in London ?

Here are some qualifying criteria :

  • You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of applying and there is no limit as to how old you can be as long as you meet other licensing rules.
  • You must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland, or other EEA state driving licence for over 3 years.
  • You must have the right to live and work in the U.K.
  • You must be of good character and you have to undergo an enhanced CRB check to check if you have any criminal convictions
  • You must be medically fit which means meeting the DVLA Group 2 standards.
  • A person (such as a General Practitioner (GP)) with access to your full medical history will conduct a medical examination.
  • You will need to undertake a topographical skills assessment from an accredited assessment centre.

How to become a PHV driver :



 Find out more about how to be a Private Hire driver ….click here



Guidelines on becoming a PHV driver:


 Click Here to read more….



What is the total cost to get a PCO driver’s license?





            Application fee £250

            CRB online application £55

            CRB paper application £57

            Post Office Check and Send £7.15

            Medical This is payable to your GP

            Your GP will advise you.



How long will it take to get a PCO license?


Anecdotally, applicants should expect to wait between 2-3 months in order to get their PCO license.




What are the steps to lodge an application?

Step 1: Request an application pack from Transport for London (TfL)


You can obtain an application pack by visiting the Transport for London (TfL) site at the following address:



TfL application pack for Private Hire/PCO driver

You will be asked to complete a registration form and provide your name and address.



Once you have completed the online form, an application pack will be sent to you in the post. TfL advises that you wait up to 10 working days to receive your PCO application pack by post.


If you’ve not received it after this time, please contact Transport for London (TfL) on:

T: 0845 602 7000 (08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays)



Or download an application from by clicking the following link:



Step 2: Fill in application form

PHV driver: The Application Form



Step 3:



Get your GP to fill in their section of the application form about your medical fitness (to be able to be a PCO driver)

Step 4: Apply for a Topographical Test at a local test centre:


All would-be private hire drivers need to undergo a topographical test to prove that they possess basic map reading skills.


Find out where your nearets topographical test centre is… here




Step 5: Carry out the enhanced CRB check 


(either online (£55) or paper-based (£57))



***Important Note***



There are some changes that have come in place in June 2013 about CRB checks***



Pls ensure you read about the changes by clicking on this link.






There is a 4 step process quoted on the TfL website and these are as follows:

1.Complete personal details online

2.Select ID for verification using the online help tool

3.Have original documents verified at the Post Office

4.Pay for the CRB application at the Post Office


To commence your online CRB application, go to and selectREGISTER from the login screen.





Paper based:


To request a paper application pack, please contact TMG CRB on 0845 251 5000 or email



Step 6: Attach the required fees by cheque:



Fee type


Old fee

New fee

Change (+/-)

Private Hire Drivers

Application Fee





Licence Fee











From 2nd April 2013, the fees for an application has been reduced from £262 to £250




Step 7: Post the application to the following address:

Take the hassle of applying for a PCO license and let us do it for you for a fixed fee of £95 only!




I am an existing PCO licensed driver, how do I get a replacement PCO drivers license? 


In order for existing drivers to obtain a replacement PCO licence click on the link below and fill in the required form:


Form to get a replacement Private Hire/PCO licence… this link  

You can also call Transport for London (TfL) on 0845 602 7000 for a replacement if you have lost your private hire driver badge or license.




How much can I expect to pay for circuit rent per week?


Unless you hold a small operator license, where you are legally allowed to take bookings directly from customers and then drive them, you (and most private hire drivers) have to work with and for a PCO Operator company (a minicab company).


In effect, these cab operators (who they themselves) are licensed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO) will take bookings from passengers and pass them onto the drivers.


For this service of connecting passengers (fares) with drivers, the PCO operators charge the PCO drivers a weekly ‘circuit’ fee or ‘rent’.

Depending on the location of the cab operator and how busy it is will determine how much ‘circuit rent; PCO drivers are asked to pay to work at that PCO operator’s office.


On average, PCO drivers can expect to pay anything from £100 per week for the average ‘local’ cab office and all the way up to £130 per week for the busier ones.


Anecdotally, estimates that a PCO driver can expect to get at least 8-10 ‘fares’ per 8 hour shift. However this will vary considerably from area to area and cab office to cab office.


What about the cab offices who don’t charge a weekly circuit rent?


There are some cab operators who don’t charge the traditional weekly rent instead they operate a rota where drivers have to ‘drive’ or work for a set amount of time before they qualify for ‘no rental’.


How can private hire drivers be safe?


There is a long and current debate about CCTV enabled PCO vehicles which will protect both PCO drivers as well as passengers. deems it inevitable for the introduction of CCTVs in all taxis and private hire cars (minicabs) imminently.

In the meantime there are some general guidance offered by TfL to PCO drivers about how to remain safe.

Read some tips on how to stay safe on the road…find out here



Where do I go to get a PCO job?


Given the business model of the industry (where drivers pay a weekly rent to the PCO Operators to get ‘fares’), PCO Operators are always looking to recruit more and more drivers.

The obvious consequence is that the more paying PCO drivers the more money a cab office makes.

Therefore PCO Operators will be keen to recruit ‘new’ PCO drivers. However nowadays the better PCO cab operators, in order to provide a better level of service to their customers, are demanding more and more from their drivers.

In many parts of London now PCO drivers are finding that cab offices are requiring them to have less than 3-year-old PCO vehicles for example. This is of course related to the age limit regulation change that happened in April 2012, which forbids any vehicles that is over 5 years old to be licensed as a new PCO vehicle. The regulation further stipulates that once licensed a vehicle can only run as a private hire vehicle (PHV) up to a maximum 10 years from the date of first registration.

In order to find a job as a PCO driver, you can start by looking at the companies being advertised on this website itself. has scoured the industry and hand picked some excellent PCO cab operators within London. In addition, you can also contact your local minicab office and ask them if they are looking for new drivers. Be sure to ask them how much is the weekly ‘circuit rent’.


Will there be customer service training being introduced for PCO drivers?


There are rumors within the private hire industry to suggest that soon all PCO licensed drivers will be expected to have some sort of customer service training as part of their licensing process.

This is to obviously raise the level of customer service within this industry, which has long be plagued by a notorious reputation of sub standard level of service.


How much do I pay when I rent a car when I am only 23 years old?


Some insurance companies will NOT insure drivers unless they are over 25 years old and if they do then young PCO drivers should expect to pay an extra premium (sometimes up to 50% more than older drivers). In this respect, it is no different to normal car insurance used for social and domestic uses.

An alternative for young drivers is to work for PCO operators who have their own fleet insurance under which they can add the young driver, for a fee of course.

Then the young PCO driver working for the PCO operator will make the weekly/monthly insurance payment to the cab office, instead of holding their own insurance on in their own name and thus paying the premium we noticed earlier.



Can I set up as a small operator (and get an operator license) and work as a self employed minicab driver/chauffeur?


Yes. The same rules apply to minicab driver/operator and chauffeurs.

So if you wanted to set up as an ‘small’ operator and run up to 2 vehicles and take bookings yourself from customers then as long as you follow the rules of licensing (read how to be a PCO operator section).