Any vehicle used to carry passengers for payment must undergo a taxi licence test that is more detailed than the annual MOT test . If the vehicle is constructed to carry eight passengers or fewer in addition to the driver, it is classed as a taxi.
Vehicles with more than eight passenger seats are classed as buses.
Passenger transport vehicles must be licensed before being used on public roads as taxis. Applications for taxi licences should be made at least six weeks before a taxi licence is required.
Whilst the majority of vehicles used to transport passengers for payment are genuine and meet the legal requirements, some are illegal.
Test requirements (general)
Vehicles presented for a taxi licence test will be given a roadworthiness (MOT type) inspection. As a passenger transport vehicle, requirements will include:
- a maximum of eight passenger seats
- a suitable fire extinguisher mounted and readily available for use
- a suitable spare wheel and the tools to fit it - a post puncture repair kit is acceptable where the original vehicle has not been supplied with the facility to carry a spare wheel
- if a Class A taxi, a roof sign with a yellow background to the front and rear
- if a Class B taxi, a roof sign with a white background to the front and a yellow background to the rear
- a Class B taxi should show the wheelchair accessibility logo on the roof sign and on the wheelchair access door
- a permanent top and two doors located on each side
- valid taxi insurance
- approved taxi meter fitted and sealed by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA)
The inspection will also look at axle weight, the tyre load capacity, and the seating plan format. This is not an exhaustive list of requirements. For more information you can contact any DVA test centre.
More information on the new taxi licence test requirements, including information on grandfather rights and M1 type approval, is available at the links below:
- Summary of taxi vehicle test requirements
- Taxi Assessment Guide (Class A and D only)
- Taxi Assessment Guide (Class B only)
- Taxi Inspection Manual
The Class C licensing requirements, for vehicles under 3,500kg gross weight or under 2,540kg unladen weight, now allow certain specialist vehicles to be used to provide pre-booked taxi services. Acceptable features include:
- left-hand drive
- a convertible roof
- two doors, provided one is located on the nearside and one is located on the offside or the rear
Also, these specialist vehicles don't have to be M1 type approved where they have not been altered since they were originally made.
There are other rules for Class C taxis which are over 3,500kg gross weight or 2,540kg unladen weight, or which are constructed as stretched limousines.
Left-hand drive stretched limousines
Regulations are in place to allow licensing of left-hand drive (LHD) stretched limousines as a Class C taxi, with seating for not more than eight passengers in addition to the driver. Further details are available at the link below:
Applying for a taxi licence
Applications for a taxi licence can only be made by completing a TL1 application form and enclosing the applicable fee. Application forms are available from all test centres or at the link below:
If you have any queries you can contact the Taxi Licensing Section at the address (or email address) below:
Taxi Licensing Section
Driver & Vehicle Agency (PTLD)
If you are applying for a duplicate licence, you must complete a V38(NI) Application for duplicate licence/plates/labels.
After the test
DVA will issue a Vehicle Inspection Notice as confirmation that the vehicle has passed its roadworthiness test and PTLD will then send/post the taxi plates, signs and licence to the licensee.
If you have any queries you can contact the Taxi Licensing Section by: