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Getting your car licensed (PHV)

Getting your vehicle Licensed

Once you’ve got your PCO licence then your next priority will be getting a job with an operator and also getting a vehicle so that you can start earning & saving money. You have 2 choices when it comes to vehicles, either hire one or buy your own.

If you choose to buy your own vehicle or perhaps use one you already own then you will need to get the vehicle licensed by a TfL Approved Garage before you can use it for your job and start taking passengers. Please be aware of the new age restrictions on vehicles which can be licensed by the PCO. These came into force in early 2012. Please read below.

How old can my vehicle be?

The Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy has decided to put age limits on licensed taxis and private hire vehicles with a view to improving London’s air quality and environment and also providing improved safety for passengers and if your vehicle is too old then it won’t be licensed.

  1. With effect from 1 January 2012 private hire vehicles that are 10 years old or older will no longer be licensed
  2. With effect from 1 April 2012 any new private hire vehicle that is more than 5 years old will not be licensed. With effect from 1 April 2012 any new private hire vehicle will, as a minimum, have to satisfy Euro 4 emission standards. If your vehicle is older than the age limit or does not meet the required Euro standard it will not be licensed.

FAQ’s on vehicle age limits:

How long can I licence my vehicle for?

Basically, the easiest way to understand this is to think of it in the following way: every vehicle has a manufacture date, if the vehicle is not already licensed then it can only be licensed if 5 years since the manufacture date has not passed. Once your vehicle has been licensed it will then continue to be licensed until the car is 10 years old, i.e 10 years from the manufacture date. If you are still unsure please call us or phone the TfL dedicated vehicle query line on: 0343 222 5555

Where can I get it licensed?

With effect from Thursday 28 February 2013, NSL became responsible for the provision of the taxi and private hire vehicle licensing and inspection services. Please call them on 0343 222 5555 and get a booking slot.

All inspection centres have comfortable waiting areas with vending machines for hot and cold drinks and snacks. At most of the centres you will also be able to view the inspections taking place from the waiting area. All centres do have signs on the buildings as the photo below demonstrates but they are working hard to identify additional signage requirements in the surrounding areas to help you find your way.


How much does it cost?

It costs £100 to licence a vehicle (£65 application fee and £35 for the licence fee). If your vehicle fails then you can apply for a refund of the ‘Grant of Licence’ but the application fee is non-refundable.

To continue using a vehicle for Private Hire you must ensure the vehicle license is renewed on time every year. If you miss the renewal date and your vehicle is over 5 years old then you’re out of luck and cannot re-license the same vehicle as it fails to meet the 5 year ruling. If your vehicle is still under 5 years old when it’s license expires then all you have to do is to re-book a test.

In addition to getting your vehicle licensed you will need to ensure the same vehicle undergoes a full MOT twice a year. If you are in any doubt please call NSL on 0343 22 5555

What does the PCO Vehicle Licence look like?

VEHICLES1Licensed vehicles must have the licence badges displayed in both the front and rear windows of the vehicle and if the vehicle isn’t displaying these then it is probably not licensed and is breaking the law. The badge displays the licence number, the vehicle registration, and also the expiry date.


How will the Ultra Low Emission Zone effect me? (ULEZ)

Ultra Low Emission Zone expanding
Private hire vehicles, Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone
From 8 April 2019, private hire vehicles (PHVs) entering the Congestion Charge zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday, will need to pay the £11.50 daily charge. PHVs that are designated as wheelchair-accessible on the vehicle licence will continue to be exempt if they are undertaking a booking from a London licensed PHV operator.

For more information about the changes, including the new Cleaner Vehicle discount, visit TfL’s Private hire vehicles and the Congestion Charge page.

From 8 April 2019, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be introduced to London to help clean up our toxic air and reduce harmful NOx road transport emissions. It will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Private hire vehicles will need to meet ULEZ standards, or pay a daily charge of £12.50 for driving within the zone. There will be a sunset period until 26 October 2025 for PHVs that TfL has designated as wheelchair-accessible. Taxis are exempt from the charge.

Visit TfL’s ULEZ page to learn more about how these changes will affect you.If you are in any doubt please call NSL on 0343 22 5555

 Cleaner Vehicle Discount
On Monday 8 April 2019, the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), which offers a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge, will be replaced by the Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD). Private Hire vehicles that meet the following standards will need to register for the CVD to receive a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge:

Meet the Euro 6 emission standard
Emit no more than 75g/km of CO2
Have a minimum 20 mile Zero Emission Capable range

You can check to see if you are eligible for the CVD discount by checking the CO2 emissions of your car on the V5C registration document. This must show that your vehicle is Euro 6 compliant and emits equal to or less than 75g/km of CO2. If you have a petrol hybrid vehicle you will also need to supply a copy of the conformity certificate as provided by the dealership.