Apply for a new private hire vehicle or hackney carriage.

Hackney carriages only

Check if a licence is available

Before you buy a vehicle, contact the Licensing Team to make sure there are hackney carriage vehicle licences available.

This is because there's a limit of 795 imposed on the number of licences issued.

Vehicle policy

If you're applying for a licence for a hackney carriage, your vehicle must:

  • be an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV)
  • have European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)
  • be wheelchair accessible

The vehicle must also meet all other elements of the hackney carriage vehicle policy and hackney carriage and private hire vehicle inspections standards in the  pdf Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (1.16 MB) .

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles

The conditions and standards

Before you apply for a new vehicle licence, read:

The hackney carriage and private hire inspection standards include important information on vehicle specifications.

Vehicle restrictions

All vehicles must meet the policy in respect of size. Check the policy requirements.

Fleet Services will check the size of your vehicle at the time of the vehicle inspection check.

If you're not sure whether a vehicle you're thinking about buying meets the requirements, you can ask Fleet Services to check before you buy the vehicle. There's a small fee for this check.

Vehicles that do not meet our policy specification

Toyota Auris

The seat measurements of the current model of the Toyota Auris are too small and do not comply with the Private Hire vehicle licensing policy.

All new applications will be referred to the Public Safety and Protection Committee with a recommendation for refusal.

All existing licensed Toyota Auris will continue to be licensed, maximum 10 years from date of first registration, as long as they comply in all other respects of the Vehicle Licensing Policy.

Lexus IS300

The measurements of the middle rear seat do not comply with the vehicle standards policy.

We'll only consider a Lexus IS300 for the carriage of up to 3 passengers.

Multi-person vehicles

The measurements of the back row seats in many multi-person vehicles (MPVs) do not usually comply with the vehicle standards policy.

Where the vehicle does not meet the vehicle standards policy, or access to the rear seats is restricted the vehicle may only be licensed for the carriage of up to four passengers.

How to apply

You can apply online. Only the legal owner of the vehicle can submit an application.

You'll need to provide:

  • certificate of insurance which covers the use of either private hire or hackney carriage
  • vehicle inspection check issued by  Bristol City Council fleet services
  • pdf Person Concerned with Vehicle Form (93 KB)
  • proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale, invoice stating paid in full, or copy of hire purchase or lease agreement (If the vehicle is on lease then the lease company must provide a letter stating the vehicle can be used as a hackney carriage/private hire vehicle)The V5 or logbook is not proof of ownership.
  • European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval certificate and certificate of conformity (if applicable)
  • Full Registration Document (V5) or green slip
  • a basic disclosure (DBS) or a current hackney carriage or private hire driver licence number
  • meter calibration certificate if the vehicle has a meter
  • evidence that the vehicle is Bristol Blue in colour, if the vehicle is a Hackney carriage

Apply for a new Hackney Carriage vehicle licence

Apply for a new private hire vehicle licence

We cannot accept a vehicle inspection check that was carried out more than six weeks before your application date.

If you want someone else to discuss your application or licence with us on your behalf, you'll need to give us written permission.

How much it costs

A new private hire or Hackney Carriage licence costs:

  • 1 year: £230.50 
  • 6 months: £115

We cannot accept the vehicle inspection check if you send it to us more than 6 weeks before your application date.

Important information

Find out more about our licences and policies.

You can use your car for weddings and funerals without a private hire license from your local authority. This only applies to:

  • weddings and funerals
  • vehicles that carry 8 or less people

You'll need to check with your insurers to make sure you have the correct coverage.

Related links