Vehicle licensing

A licence is required before any vehicle can be used for taxi or minicab work. Licences are issued for up to one year.

Licensing a vehicle

All vehicles must pass an MOT no more than 30 days before they are licensed, unless the vehicle is less than one year old. You can book your MOT with any garage.

You must book an appointment with the licensing team to licence your vehicle. You will need to bring your logbook (V5), vehicle insurance, and MOT to your appointment. A meter calibration certificate, confirming that the meter has been set to our tariff, must be provided for new hackney carriages. If the vehicle has recently been purchased, you will need to bring the new keeper supplement (the part of the logbook that you get given as the new registered keeper of the vehicle), and proof that you have taxed the vehicle.

Vehicles will be tested for suitability against our policy, and all licensing decisions are taken in consideration of our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2021-2026.

Limits on vehicle numbers

As part of our licensing policy, the council has a limit on the number of hackney carriage licences and has agreed to not issue any new licences unless specific criteria apply. A new hackney carriage vehicle plate will only be issued to a vehicle which is:

  • fully wheelchair accessible
  • emits zero emissions (e.g. is a fully electric vehicle), and
  • displays the council's livery

This does allow existing licences to be renewed or transferred, or for an already licensed vehicle to be changed to a newer vehicle.

The council is not able to place a limit on the number of private hire vehicles that can be issued.

Timescales

Appointments are for one hour.

If you pass, you are issued with your plate and licence during your appointment. Any vehicle which does not pass gets up to 10 working days to be retested before the licence is refused.

Licensee's responsibilities

Vehicle owners must comply with their conditions and hackney carriage owners must also comply with the byelaws. All licenses are issued subject to standard licence conditions which can be found in our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2021-2026.

Any accident must be reported within 72 hours using our our accident report form.

If you change your address you must notify us in writing by email to licensing@watford.gov.uk. Please note that there is a fee of £7.20 to change your address.

If you lose your licence contact the Licensing team for replacement. Please note that there is a fee for issuing a replacement licence or plate.

If you are buying a licensed vehicle you must apply to transfer the licence into your name - please note that there are different forms depending upon whether the vehicle you are buying is a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle.

Cost

  • The licence fee is £235 (£117.50 for fully electric vehicles).
  • A plate bracket costs £21.
  • A replacement plate costs £21.
  • A replacement licence costs £18.50.
  • The fee for transferring a vehicle is £18.
  • Change of address costs £7.20.
  • A pair of magnetic door signs costs £20.50.

Please note that we can only accept payment by credit card or debit card.

How to appeal

You have a right to appeal the decision of the council to refuse a licence or to attach conditions to a licence.

Appeals must be made to the magistrates' court within 21 days of being notified of the decision, but an appeal against the refusal of a hackney carriage licence is made to the Crown Court.

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