Driver licensing

Knowledge Test and Driver Training Day

Before applying to become a licensed driver, you must attend and pass the council’s knowledge test and driver training day.

This day is in three parts.

  1. The first part is training designed to help you understand the rules and regulations, as well as covering driver safety, how to report concerns you may have when working as a driver, and customer service.
  2. The second part is a one hour written test on routes and a 45 minute written test on rules and regulations, the Highway Code and basic mathematics.
  3. The third part of the day is disability awareness training.

This section is designed to help answer questions you may have about the test and training day

How do I book my test?

To book a place on the knowledge test and training day, please call the licensing team on 01923 278476 or send an email to Please note that spaces are limited.

The dates of the courses for 2018 and 2019 are as follows:

2018 2019
January 17th January 23rd
February 14th February 21st
March 14th March 21st
April 11th April 18th
May 16th May 23rd
June 21st June 20th
July 25th July 18th
August 23rd August 22nd
September 20th September 19th
October 25th October 17th
November 28th November 14th
December 20th December 12th

To confirm your booking, you will need to pay the booking fee. We can take payment by credit or debit card over the telephone.

When booking, you will need to specify if you want to take the hackney carriage knowledge test, or the private hire knowledge test.

What is the cost of booking the test?

The booking fee is £99 for your first attempt. There is a fee of £68.50 if you need to retake the test and driver training, or £30.75 to just retake the test papers. Officers will advise if you need to retake the training.

What is the difference between the hackney carriage and private hire knowledge tests?

The only differences between the two types of test relate to the questions that you will be asked on routes.

Hackney carriage drivers are expected to know Watford very well. You are expected to pick passengers up from the street and drive them to their destination without using a map or sat nav.

The test for hackney drivers covers the Parliamentary constituency of Watford. This is made up of the Borough of Watford, and also the Leavesden, Oxhey Hall, Abbots Langley, Carpenders Park and Langleybury areas of Three Rivers District Council. You will also be asked about routes to major transport interchanges outside of this area, for example Heathrow Airport or Waterloo train station.

To prepare for this part of the test, you are expected to get your own map and to learn these areas yourself. We do not give maps to applicants. You are not allowed to use any maps, phones or any other aids during the test.

Private hire drivers will usually have time to think about their route before collecting their passenger. This is because all private hire journeys must be pre-booked through an operator.

The test for private hire drivers only covers the borough of Watford. Questions will be based on the A roads within the borough, and roads leading directly from A roads. There will also be questions about landmarks within the borough, such as Vicarage Road Stadium, schools and pubs.

During the private hire test, you will have the opportunity to use a map to assist you, which will be provided by the licensing team. You will not be able to bring your own map. However, you are still expected to have a general idea of the places and roads within Watford, including one-way streets, restricted roads, and prohibited turns. If you were to solely rely on the map, you will find that it is not possible to pass the test.

How do I prepare for the test?

You are expected to prepare for the routes test on your own. This may mean getting a map, using the internet to plot routes, or driving around the roads to get to know the area.

When you book your test, you will be sent a confirmation letter and a copy of our Taxi and Private Hire Handbook. This handbook will help you prepare for the test. It is important that you study this book.

You can also look at our sample test papers:

Hackney Carriage Private Hire
Sample routes Sample routes
Sample rules and regulations Sample rules and regulations
Sample Highway Code Sample Highway Code
Sample mental arithmetic Sample mental arithmetic

What happens on the day?

Training days are held at the Council's offices at Wiggenhall Depot, Wiggenhall Road, Watford WD18 0FB. The day starts at 9:00am so you need to be at the training centre for 08:30am to register. There is free parking available on site.

Anybody who turns up after 9:00am will be turned away and will not be able to take part. You will need to rebook for another day and pay the booking fee again.

You are required to bring photo ID with you (driving licence or current passport), and a recent utility bill or bank statement (no more than three months old). Failure to bring ID will result in you not being able to sit the course.

The format of the day is:

Time Content
09:00 - 09:15 Introduction
Introduction to the training day and confirming the timetable for the day
09:15 - 11:45 Customer Service, Rules & Regulations and Disability Awareness
In the morning we will discuss the necessary skills required to be a good driver. All of the information can be found in the Taxi and Private Hire Handbook. All new drivers are required to take disability awareness training.
11:45 - 12:30

You will have 45 minutes for lunch. We do not provide lunch but there is a canteen area where you can sit to eat any food you bring with you or buy in the town centre. There are drinks and snacks machines in the canteen.

12:30 - 13:00 Continue Disability Awareness Training
A continuation of the disability awareness training that was started before the break for lunch.
13:00 - 14:45 Driver Safety and Safe-guarding
In the afternoon we will discuss steps that drivers can take to promote driver safety, and also training on how to identify and report safe-guarding concerns.
15:00 - 16:00 Routes Test
You will be given 60 minutes for this test. The type of routes test you take will depend on whether you are applying for a hackney badge or a private hire badge.
16:15 - 17:00 Rules and Regulations, Highway Code and Mental Arithmetic Tests
You will be given 45 minutes in total to complete these three short papers.

Paper 1 - Rules and Regulations
Paper 2 - Highway Code
Paper 3 - Mental Arithmetic

What are the pass marks?

To pass, you must pass all parts of the training day. You must pass all tests on the same day, and must complete the disability awareness training.

Hackney drivers are asked 40 questions on routes, 5 of which will be on major transport interchanges outside of Watford area. To pass you must answer 35 questions correctly, and must answer each question on the major transport interchanges correctly.

Private hire drivers are asked 20 questions on routes. To pass you must answer 15 questions correctly.

Everybody is asked 10 questions on the council’s rules and regulations. To pass you must answer 9 questions correctly.

Everybody is asked 10 questions on the Highway Code. To pass you must answer 9 questions correctly.

Everybody is asked 5 questions on mental arithmetic. To pass you must answer all 5 questions correctly.

When will I get my results?

You will be told your result at the end of the training day. If you pass, you will also be sent a letter within 14 days of the training day which confirms this.

What if I fail the test?

If you fail the test, you can book a re-test. There is no limit on the number of times you can retake the test.

You will need to take all of the tests again. However, you will not need to take the disability training again, or the driver training, if you have successfully completed the training before.

I won’t be driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Do I still need to take the disability awareness training?

The council’s policy is that all new drivers must prove that they have had disability awareness training. Handling wheelchairs is one element of the training, but the training will also cover other disabilities too.

I booked a date but now need to reschedule. Can I?

You are able to book another date. You may get a refund if you notify us more than three working days in advance. We may also transfer your fee and book you a place on the next available course if you cancel within 24 hours of the course and with good reason.


If you have any other queries on the knowledge test, or have a question which is not answered here, then please contact the licensing team on 01923 278476 or by email to

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