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Operator Licence

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

If you want to provide a service for a customer to book a private hire vehicle, in person, by phone, app or website, you must obtain a private hire operator licence.

A Private Hire vehicle can only be dispatched to a customer by a private hire operator that holds a private hire operator licence.

All bookings for private hire journeys carried out by private hire vehicles must be taken through the licensed Private Hire Operating booking office, also known as the 'operating base'

If you intend on driving a licensed vehicle, you will need to apply for the relevant Driver Licence.

If you intend on driving a currently unlicensed vehicle, you will need to apply for the relevant Vehicle Licence.

Contact requirements

All applicants must supply an email address and mobile number on which they are readily contactable. You'll need to provide these when submitting your online application.

Medway applicants who require advice on setting up an email account can obtain assistance in any Medway library

Please check your 'junk' or 'spam' mailboxes to ensure that you don't miss any emails. If you do find any emails from us in these folders, please mark them as 'safe' so that future emails are sent to your inbox.

Duration of licence

The standard duration of an Operator Licence is five years; one year licences are discretionary. If you wish to apply for a one-year licence, you will need to provide strong justification in your application form for consideration by the Licensing Officer.

How much does it cost?

Operator licence fees
Licence Cost
Private Hire Operator Licence - one year, up to five vehicles £185
Private Hire Operator Licence - one year, over five vehicles £368
Operator - up to 5 vehicles - 5 years £552
Operator - over 5 vehicles - 5 years £1100

What you need to know

You will be applying for a licence in either Gravesham or Medway, and will need to meet the relevant criteria set out within each council’s respective policy:


You need to submit your application to the borough that the provision for booking is made in. This may be where the ‘operating base’ is, for example:

  • If your ‘operating base’ is in Rochester you should apply to Medway Council.
  • If your ‘operating base’ is in Northfleet you should apply to Gravesham Borough Council.

In the case of internet only private hire operators, then provision for bookings may be in another borough and, if so, that is whom you need to apply to.

How do I apply or renew?

You can apply for or renew an Operator Licence by using our online form. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

You can apply as an individual, as a partnership, or as a company.

At the end of the form you'll be able to pay by debit or credit card.

Step 1: Planning Permission

NOTE: This is only needed for a new application or when an operator has moved premises. If you are renewing, you can go straight to step 2.

You will need to ensure that the correct planning permission has been granted for your business. If you are unsure of whether permission is currently in place you will need to contact the Planning department by emailing for Medway or for Gravesham.

Proof will need to be provided that you have obtained, or do not require planning permission.

Step 2: Public and Employers Liability Insurance

You must provide evidence that you have obtained the appropriate public and employer liability policy, by providing a copy of the insurance certificate/s.

Step 3: Criminal Record and Right to Work check

All applicants who are not already or not currently applying to be a licensed driver are required to provide:

  • A basic disclosure
  • Specific documentation which shows that they are in the UK lawfully and permitted to work as a licensed driver

You can apply for your basic disclosure online on GOV.UK. The full list of acceptable documents for the right to work check can be found via the link below. Please note that only original forms of identification will be accepted.

Document requirements for Right to Work check

If you haven’t lived in the UK for more than the last 3 years you will also need to obtain a criminal record check from the country(ies) you lived in. This is commonly referred to as a 'Certificate of Good Conduct'. The application process varies from country to country. You will have to apply in the country or to the relevant embassy in the UK. You can find guidance for applying for criminal records checks from overseas at theGOV.UK website.

You will need to request that the Certificate of Good Conduct is issued in English or obtain a certified translation of the certificate.

Please note that if the applicant is a company, the above documents are required for the company Secretary and every Director listed on Companies House at the time of the application.

Step 4: Operator Licence Application

Once you have completed all the above steps, you can apply and make payment using our online application form.

The form takes about 10 minutes to complete. You will need to upload copies of any documentation required, as outlined above.

At the end of the form you'll be asked to make your payment by credit or debit card.

Please note that you can only apply for or renew one operator licence per form.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once you submit your application you will receive an automatic email notification confirming receipt.

We will contact you afterwards if there are any issues that need addressing.

Once the Licensing Officer is satisfied that you meet the criteria set out in the relevant Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, so long as all application requirements are satisfied, your licence will be granted and sent out in the post.


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