Setting up and running a taxi service

Taxi driver licensing

Professional taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers. They are licensed by Passenger Transport Licensing Division, Driver and Vehicle Agency. New taxi drivers have to complete a two stage application process. The first stage is the application for the taxi driver licence and the second stage is to apply for and pass taxi theory and practical test. Applications usually take 12 weeks to process. 

First stage

If this is the first time you have applied for a licence to drive a taxi you must:

  • have held a full driving licence for at least three years
  • be eligible to work in Northern Ireland
  • meet the necessary medical requirements
  • meet the necessary good repute requirements
  • pass a taxi driver theory test and a taxi driver practical test

New applications for a taxi driver licence will include checks on previous convictions, health and the length of time you have held a driving licence. In addition to the application form you must complete an enhanced disclosure application form for Access NI and return it to Passenger Transport Licensing Division (PTLD) with the necessary identification documents, you don't have to pay any additional fee. Further information on new taxi tests can be found in the manual.

Second stage

You can apply for stage two at the same time as stage one, however, your licence will only be issued once you have met all the requirements.

You need to apply for and pass:

  • taxi driver practical test
  • taxi driver theory test - followed by 

If you have previously held a taxi driver licence which expired more than a year ago, you will need to make a first-time application.

First-time applications usually take eight to ten weeks to process and renewal applications take at least six weeks.

Taxi driver licence conditions

Conditions may be attached to a taxi driver’s licence, eg in relation to the class of vehicle they can drive.

All taxi drivers should wear a badge showing their licence number and should display all other evidence of identification in a place where it can easily be seen by passengers.

Licensed drivers can only be listed with one taxi operator at a time.