Taxi vehicle test

A new taxi licence test replaced the old Public Service Vehicle (PSV) test in May 2016. This vehicle test takes place before the vehicle is driven on public roads as a taxi. Applications for taxi licences should be made at least six weeks before a taxi licence is needed.

Due to the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Covid 19, DVA are currently operating a limited number of services.
For further details and the most up to date position on DVA service availability visit the Coronavirus (Covid 19) and motoring page.

Applying for a taxi licence

Anyone applying for a taxi vehicle licence (TVL) or wanting to make changes to an existing licence must do so online. Paper applications are no longer accepted.

Start the online application at the link below:

Class A and B Taxis need a taximeter test before they can undertake a vehicle licence test. 

In the case of new taximeters, the taximeter must be verified accurate and be sealed by DVA before an annual taxi vehicle test appointment can be booked.

In any other case where a taximeter has been subject to adjustment or repair, or where the seal is damaged, the taximeter must also be subject to a taximeter test.

As a consequence of Covid-19, an examiner cannot presently travel on-board a taxi in order to conduct the test, however DVA has developed a temporary enhanced taximeter test that preserves social distancing. 

Taximeter tests are currently being carried out at Airport Road West in Belfast and within Campsie Industrial Estate in Londonderry, however applications for a taximeter test should be posted to your local DVA Test Centre or alternatively can be submitted via email to dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk  

Emails must include the title ‘TAXIMETER TEST’ in the email header.

The DVA will be in contact with customers to arrange a taximeter test following receipt of their application form and to facilitate payment of the appropriate fee.

Vehicle requirements

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 less 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
  • if Class A or B an 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:

Requirements for Class C Taxis can be found further down this page.

Covid-19 Screens/Partitions Fitted to Buses or Taxis

To protect drivers and the public fitting, some form of partition or screen may be being considered by drivers/operators.

If a screen is fitted it must satisfy certain requirements.

A vehicle presented for inspection with a screen fitted, which wasn’t fitted when the vehicle was manufactured, must have supporting evidence of suitability of the glazing material used or the vehicle will fail the test.

Screens will also be checked in other areas, such as how they affect the driver’s view of the road, condition, security, and whether there are any sharp edges or protrusions likely to injure a passenger.

Requirements

Screen/Partition Material

  • the partition/screen must be made of safety glass or safety glazing and should display an appropriate approval marking
  • in the absence of an appropriate approval marking, documentary evidence from the glazing manufacture/supplier that confirms the material used is suitable for use in motor vehicles, must be produced
  • this evidence must confirm that the glazing complies with the Construction and Use Regulations or UNECE Regulation 43 (which refers to the acceptable type approval standards for glazing and safety glazing, including rigid and flexible plastic glazing used in motor vehicles)

Additional Requirements for Taxis fitted with an air bag system

  • where the vehicle is fitted with an air bag system (may be identified via markings or labels on the steering wheel, front dash board, B-posts, seats, head rests, trim panels, roof etc.) the presenter must produce documentary evidence from the original vehicle manufacturer, Type Approval Test House, authorised Dealership, authorised distributor, or professional vehicle converter that confirms the screen or partition is suitable for fitment in the vehicle and will not adversely impact on vehicle’s safety systems, such as the airbag deployment
  • this documentation must be vehicle specific and include make, model and registration number

Foldable Plastic Screens (are not subject to the ‘Material’ or ‘air bag’ requirements detailed above)

  • there should be no rigid framing or supporting structure surrounding the screen
  • the partition/screen must be appropriately secured for use in normal driving conditions (it is acceptable for these screens to be fixed with Velcro and/or quick release push buttons)
  • the material must not pose a fire risk
  • the partition/screen must be transparent and not adversely affect the driver’s view of the road or distort or impair the view from interior or exterior mirrors

Authorised Seating Capacity

  • if the fitment of any screen affects the original seating capacity this will be taken into consideration during annual inspection and, where affected, the maximum seating capacity authorised for the vehicle may be reduced

Class B specification

Class B taxis are required to be wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). Before purchasing a vehicle for use as a Class B taxi you should ensure the vehicle meets the following requirements; if it doesn’t meet these requirements it will not be able to proceed to a taxi licence test.

Taxis which:

  • have been previously licenced as a Class B taxi, or
  • are marked as “M1 WAV” in the registration certificate (V5c) next to “Vehicle Category”

will be permitted to proceed to the taxi licence test.

If neither of the above apply, DVA will require some additional documentary evidence confirming the specification of the vehicle. DVA are able to accept:

  • A certificate of conformity (CoC). This must state that the vehicle was built with the wheelchair features. This will be available from the vehicle manufacturer.
  • A national low volume approval certificate (e.g. SUB-MAC), where the approval number relates to a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The approval number will need to be checked with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), to ensure wheelchair features where included at the time of approval.
  • An Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate. This must confirm that the vehicle had the wheelchair features fitted at the time of the inspection.
  • A “compliance confirmation notice” issued by either the DVA or the DVSA confirming the vehicle meets the required standards for a wheelchair accessible vehicle is acceptable. These are provided upon successful completion of a Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval (VIVA) test.

Where suitable documents as listed above cannot be provided, a vehicle may still be accepted for Class B by first passing a Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval test.

Vehicles that proceed to test and which are found to have been modified since the provided approval document was issued will be refused a licence.

Class C

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 manufactured.

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.

Class C taxis being a Heavy Motor Car or having a MAM exceeding 3500kg are exempt from carrying a spare wheel.

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:

Duplicate licences

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 immediately following the test as confirmation that the vehicle has passed its roadworthiness test and DVA’s Public Transport Licensing Division (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:

Email:  PTLD.TVL@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

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