If you want to use a vehicle in Portsmouth for private hire work then you must hold a private hire vehicle licence issued to you by the Portsmouth City Council. It is an offence for a proprietor to use, or permit the use of, a vehicle without this licence.

A general guide to the legal requirements, technical specifications, policies and requirements to obtain a private hire vehicle licence are below.

  • Follow the link and find 'licensing' via the contact us page

How to apply for a private hire vehicle licence

You will need to complete an application form and provide other information about your vehicle in order for us to process your application. All information received will be treated with respect and confidence.

  • An information leaflet, transfer form and other documents to support your application are at the bottom of the page

Legal requirements for a private hire vehicle licence

There is lots of different legislation governing proprietors and vehicles, but the main laws covering the licensing of private hire vehicles are contained in  Part II, Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 .

The act says we cannot limit the number of vehicle licences and must grant a vehicle licence if we are satisfied that:

  • Your car is of suitable design and appearance and have such distinguishing marks as to identify it as a taxi (see technical specifications).
  • Your car is mechanically suitable.
  • Your car is insured for private hire.
  • Your car is constructed or adapted to seat no more than 8 passengers.
  • You are responsible for the keeping and running of the vehicle either solely or in partnership with other persons.
  • Your licence, if renewed, will be for one vehicle at any one time.
  • You have been honest in supplying information to us and must not, under any circumstances, make a false statement at any time to obtain your vehicle licence (this is a serious offence)

Technical specifications for private hire vehicles

Not all vehicles would be suitable for use as a private hire vehicle - so the Council has approved certain standards to guide proprietors on the type of vehicle considered suitable, bearing in mind public comfort and safety, as well as any legal requirements.

  • Detailed vehicle specifications can be found in the private hire vehicle licence information leaflet below

Information required to apply for a private hire vehicle licence

To help us consider your vehicle application it is our policy for you to show that your vehicle is mechanically suitable, that you have an approved fire extinguisher and more. You will also need to produce a vehicle registration document and details of insurance for public/private hire use.

  • Details of what you need to provide can be found in the private hire vehicle licence information leaflet below

Granting or renewing your private hire vehicle licence

Once you have provided the correct information we will be in a position to issue your licence, which will expire on 31 January annually. You must also provide the licence fee and the plate deposit fee shown on the application form.

If we refuse to grant/renew, or we suspend/revoke a private hire vehicle licence, you generally have a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court.


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