Taxi licensing and safety

We licence all Hackney carriages (taxi) and private hires operating in the Tandridge District.

E-mail taxi licensing.

How to submit a complaint regarding a vehicle or driver to the taxi licensing department:

Complaints must be made in writing. The following is helpful for our investigations:

  • Identifying the driver by name or badge number.
  • Identifying the vehicle by plate number or vehicle registration.
  • Note the time, date and place of the journey.
  • For overcharging complaints, record the fare shown on meter (for Hackney carriages only).

Please complete our complaint form or write to the Taxi Licensing Department, Council Offices, 8 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0BT.

Hackney carriage

A Hackney carriage (taxi) can be hired from a taxi rank, flagged down or hired immediately without pre-booking and they can also be pre-booked. Journeys that are not pre-booked have to begin in the Tandridge district.

The vehicle must have a roof sign and fare meter fitted. A light blue licence plate must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle and in the front windscreen. The driver must have their Hackney carriage licence badge displayed.

A Hackney Carriage driver's licence means the driver may drive a Tandridge licensed Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicle. Both the vehicle and the driver must have a licence issued by us.

Fares are restricted to the maximum table of fares, which we regulate. This table of fares should be inside of all licensed Hackney carriage vehicles.

Private hire

A private hire must be pre-booked through an operator, they cannot be hired from a taxi rank, flagged down or hired immediately without pre-booking. Journeys can start or end anywhere, they do not have to be inside the district.

The vehicle must not have a roof sign. An orange licence plate must be displayed on the rear and in the front windscreen (unless they are for executive purpose that exempt from displaying the plates, then the plate and exemption are held within the vehicle). The driver must have their private hire licence badge displayed.

A private hire driver's licence means the driver may drive a Tandridge licensed private hire vehicle, they cannot drive a Hackney Carriage. The vehicle, driver and the operator must have a licence issued by us. A private hire operator's licence is required for any pre-booked work, the operator must be based within the Tandridge district. Private hire operator licences can be individually held or held by a company the driver works for.

We do not regulate fares for the hire of private hire vehicles and they must be the subject of agreement between passenger and operator before a journey commences.

  • Check your driver is wearing an identification badge we have issued. It will show their name, a licence number and a photographer of the driver.
  • If the vehicle is on the taxi rank, check the car has a taxi sign on the roof and a light blue licence plate on the rear and in the front windscreen.
  • If the vehicle is private hire, check the car has orange licence plates on the rear and in the front windscreen.
  • All doors should remain unlocked when the taxi is carrying passengers.
  • If you are at all suspicious, don't get in, make a note of the number plate and report it.

Hackney carriage taxi ranks

The fare meter must be started at the beginning of the journey and should be clearly visible to passengers at all times.  The meter is set to the maximum table of fares.

In Tandridge, taxi ranks can be found at:

  • Station Road East, Oxted
  • Station Road West, Oxted
  • Station Road, Lingfield
  • Station Approach, Warlingham
  • Station Road, Caterham
  • Harestone Valley Road, Caterham

Wheelchair users

Tandridge District Council supports and encourages all licenced taxi drivers to pay particular regard to the needs of the travelling public. Drivers should provide assistance to people in wheelchairs, carry them in safety and not charge extra for doing so.  Tandridge licensed taxi drivers will carry guide, hearing and other prescribed assistance dogs in their taxis without additional charge. Drivers who have a medical condition which is aggravated by exposure to dogs will display an exemption badge on their windscreen.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be pre-booked by some of the private hire operators and taxi proprietors. The main private hire licensed operators in Tandridge that may be able to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles can be contacted on the following numbers:

Total Transport Solutions: 01883 715315
Westerham Cars: 01959 562091

Applicants must be over 21 years old and have held a DVLA driving licence for 1 year or more.

The applicant must be a 'fit and proper person' - which means their background and character will be checked.  The licensing department will look at medical fitness, driving record, criminal record and character references.

Before opening an application, the applicant must read the ‘Policy regarding the relevance of convictions and other related information’ and ‘Guidance for proprietors and drivers of Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles’.  The applicant will be asked to declare they have read and understood both of these documents when opening an application. If the applicant fails to meet any of the criteria in these documents, they will not be granted a licence.

The process for Hackney carriage and private hire drivers is the same, the applicant will need to do the following to complete the new driver application:

Through the Taxi Licensing Department at Tandridge District Council (TDC):

Once an application is opened no fees are refundable. No fees are pro rata.

  • New driver application:  Complete the new driver application form and return by e-mailing taxi licensing with copy of valid passport, DVLA driving licence and any work permit/visa. Then contact the licensing department on 01883 732850 to make the initial payment of £281. If the applicant lives outside the Tandridge district, they need to provide a supporting statement outlining why they have applied to us and not to their own local authority, including how they plan to support the local community.
  • Right to work check:  The applicant’s identification documents will be checked, they will need to provide their original passport (or other photo ID), DVLA driving licence and any work permit/visa. 
  • DVLA driving licence & check: The applicant must have held their driving licence for 1 year or more. The applicant will need to ‘share driving licence information’ for the licensing department to view their driving licence record. The share code must be included on the new driver application form.
  • Character references:  On the new driver application, the applicant is required to provide 2 character references. The licensing department will contact these individuals to verify the applicant is a ‘Fit and proper’ person to hold a licence.
  • Enhanced DBS certificate: Once the new driver application and payment is completed, the licensing department will setup the applicant to apply for an enhanced DBS and a link will be sent to the applicants email address to begin the DBS application. A payment of £60 is required to the licensing department by calling 01883 732850. 

Once the Enhanced DBS certificate is issued, all drivers must sign up to the ‘DBS update service’, this is currently £13 per year.

  • Knowledge test:  A 40 minute multiple choice test is required comprising 40 random question. The applicant will need to answer the following to obtain a pass certificate: 24 questions correctly out of 32 for the local area, 3 questions correctly out of 4 for the Highway Code and 3 questions correctly out of 4 for the Tandridge District Council procedures.  The cost for this is £81.25, each retest thereafter is £44.25.  The applicant will need to arrange this with the licensing officer and will take place in a meeting room in reception at the Oxted Council offices.

The guide 'Tandridge official guide and street plan' available on our website may be of assistance, this is not definitive to what may be asked in the knowledge test.  The knowledge test is to determine the applicants overall knowledge of the local area.

Independent (outside of TDC)

  • Medical:  The applicant will need to arrange and pay for this locally with their own GP. The ‘medical examination report form’ must be completed by the applicants own GP where they are registered.  If the medical is completed by another practice, it will be refused.

Please check the ‘Assessing fitness to drive’ document before paying for the medical, the licensing department apply the DVLA group 2 standard, the same as bus, coach and lorry drivers.

  • Advanced driving test:  The applicant will need to arrange and pay for the ‘Taxi Driver Assessment’ with Blue Lamp Trust and provide the pass certificate to the licensing department.

We do not Dual Licence so if the applicant decides to open an application with us, they will need to surrender any other taxi licence that is currently held with any other authority before the licence is granted.

When the above new driver application process above is complete the following is required to grant the licence:

Drivers licence and badge

All new applicants are required to apply for a 3 year drivers licence and badge, unless adequate reasons are provided and a 1 year drivers licence and badge may be issued.

The following needs to be submitted to apply:

  • Driver badge and licence application
  • 2 passport sized photographs – one of these will be used for making the driver badge and the other is kept for licensing records.
  • Relevant fee – as follows:
    • A Hackney Carriage drivers licence and badge costs £336 for a 3 year licence. If adequate reasons are provided the cost is £112 for a 1 year licence.
    • A Private Hire drivers licence and badge costs £233.25 for 3 year licence. If adequate reasons are provided the cost is £77.75 for a 1 year licence.

A high standard is expected for all licensed vehicles. On applying for a vehicle licence, the vehicle will be inspected in line with the mechanical inspection guidance and the MOT standard by our mechanic. On the grant of the licence, the vehicle will then proceed to have 6 monthly mechanical checks for under 10 year old vehicles or every 4 months for vehicles over 10 years.

The vehicle and all its fittings and equipment shall at all times, when the vehicle is in use or available for hire, be kept in an efficient, safe, tidy and clean condition with all relevant statutory requirement.

A vehicle licence cannot be issued for more than 1 year, the licence will need to be renewed annually.

The vehicle must at all times have a fire extinguisher 600gms or more fixed within reach of the driver, no smoking sticker visible from inside and outside of the vehicle, hand sanitiser and surface cleaner.  If it is a Hackney carriage vehicle it must at all times also have a maximum table of fares, illuminated roof box showing the word ‘TAXI’ and a fare meter must be fitted and sealed.

To apply, the following needs to be provided:

The fees are as follows:

  • Hackney carriage vehicle licence for a vehicle that is less than 10 years old costs £390 for 1 year.
  • Hackney carriage vehicle licence for a vehicle 10 years old or more costs £480 for 1 year.
  • Private hire vehicle licence costs £298 for 1 year.

There is 25% discount on these fees for wheelchair accessible vehicles.

A licensed driver can only drive the vehicle once it is licensed and plated.

Anyone who wants to accept private hire bookings must be licensed as a private hire operator. By using a licensed operator, passengers can have confidence that the driver and vehicle are also licensed by us.

A private hire operator licence may only be granted if the council is satisfied that the applicant and any other associates:

  • is fit and proper to hold such a licence; and
  • is an individual, he/she is not disqualified by reason of their immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle.

To ensure this, all individuals who are part of the business must have an immigration check and a DBS check which is not more than 6 months old.

Private hire operator bases must be within the Tandridge district. If it is based within another local authority, the operator should apply to them.

To operate a private hire company, you may need to apply for planning permission. You will need to seek independent advice on this. You may need this even if your business is run from home, to make sure that it will not cause nuisance or obstruction to your neighbours. If your operator base is open to the public, you must have public liability insurance for the premises.

The operator's name cannot be the same or very similar to others licensed within the district.

Please submit the operator's application form with the DBS and identification and make the payment with the relevant fee. The fees are as follows:

  • Private Hire Operator licence 1 to 5 vehicles:  1 year £152  /  5 year £760
  • Private Hire Operator licence 6 or more vehicles:  1 year £244  /  5 year £1220

Once a private hire operator licence is issued, you must comply with keeping records as outlined in the conditions on the licence.

Further details are in the guidance notes of the application form and in this document ‘Guidance for proprietors and drivers of Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles’.

The law requires an operator to be licensed by the same authority which licenses the private hire vehicles and private hire drivers working within their control, thus a vehicle licensed by one authority can only ever be driven by a driver licensed by that same authority; both must be subject to the control of an operator licensed by that same authority.

Bookings for the services of licensed vehicles can be sub-contracted, however they remain the responsibility of the licensed operator which accepted the booking. Even if they are sub-contracted to another operator; from 1 October 2015 the legislation has been amended to permit the operator accepting a booking to sub-contract it to any other operator, wherever they are based. But the liability for the provision of those services remains with the original operator. In this case, the second operator, the vehicle fulfilling that booking and the driver of that vehicle must all be licensed by the same (second) authority.