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You will need an operator licence if you accept bookings for private hire vehicles.

Customers must book private hire vehicles (minicabs) in advance, and can't flag them down on the street.

Drivers that you pass work to need to have a driver licence, and their vehicle needs to have a private hire vehicle licence.

The same authority needs to issue the operator licence, the driver licence and the private hire vehicle licence. 

You will also need to have completed a tax check.

To operate in Chelmsford, all three of the licences need to be from us. Therefore, if you have an operator’s licence from us, you can only pass work to a vehicle and driver that we have licensed. 

To apply for an operator licence, you need to:

Once we receive your application, we will:

  • acknowledge it within three working days
  • notify you of our decision within 28 days

Your operator licence will be valid for five years from the date we granted it.

You need to renew your licence every five years, before the current licence expires.

To renew your licence, you will need to:

Once we receive your renewal application, we will notify you of our decision.

The application fees are:

  • £765 if you are taking bookings for up to three vehicles
  • £2,676 if you are taking bookings for four or more vehicles

You can pay by phone or bank transfer. 

We don't store your payment details when you contact us to make a payment. You will need to have your card details available each time you contact us to make a payment.

By phone

You can pay the application or renewal fee by calling our Licensing team on  01245 606606.

By bank transfer

You can pay by bank transfer. Our bank details are:

  • Account name: Chelmsford City Council
  • Sort code: 60-05-13
  • Account number: 55600018

You need to include the cost code (2083-10461) as the reference when you pay by bank transfer.

Private hire operators must keep a written record of all bookings, which must show:

  • the time of the booking
  • the name of the customer
  • the pick up point
  • the destination
  • details of the driver

Private hire operators that we have licensed, must have a manned base within the Chelmsford District. We may inspect the records at this base.

Operators must have an ex-offender policy in place. They must also ensure that those employed by them to take bookings and deploy vehicles have taken a basic DBS check. We may request a copy of the policy and inspect copies of DBS checks.

If the holder of an operator licence is not already a licensed driver with us, then they must provide a yearly basic DBS certificate.

If the proposed holder of an operator licence is a limited company, then all directors and partners must provide a yearly basic DBS certificate.

We do not regulate the fare you can charge your customers. You should agree the fare with the customer when they make their booking. 

You will also need to complete a tax check. The tax check will ask questions about how you pay any tax on income you earn from your operator licence.

After you have completed the tax check, you will receive a nine-character tax check code.

You will need to give the code to us when applying for your licence, so we can confirm you have carried out a tax check.

Find out what you need to do before you can renew your licence on GOV.UK.

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