What is the PCO Licence?
The PCO Licence, also known as the Private Hire Driver Licence, allows you to work as a minicab driver or chauffer, this also includes Uber. The licence is valid for 3 years and is issued by the PCO (Public Carriage Office), who are part of Transport for London (TfL). With the PCO Licence, you are able to work for private operators as a driver.
To be eligible for a PCO Licence, you need to be at least 21 years old, have held a full UK driving licence for 3 years and have a valid Criminal Record Check (DBS) check. Moreover, you will also need to successfully complete a medical examination, the Topographical Skills Assessment and an English Language test.
EEA Driving Licence Exception
You can also apply using a valid EEA driving licence that you have held for 3 years. Don't forget to submit the UK counterpart!
Do I need a PCO/Private Hire Driver Licence?
If you wish to work for a private operator as a driver or chauffer, it is a legal requirement for you to hold a valid PCO Licence.
How do I apply for a PCO Licence?
Applying for a PCO Licence can seem complicated, but is actually quite straightforward. All you need to do is follow the steps below:
Complete Criminal (DBS) Check
As part of the application process, you need to prove that you are someone of "good character". To do this, you will need to complete an enhanced DBS Check using GBGroup (chosen by TfL, the Licensing Authority). This can cost around £60.
Pass Medical Test
To obtain your PCO Licence, you will need to be declared medically fit according to DVLA Group 2 Standards. The criteria includes reaction times, hearing tests and checking for other serious health conditions. You can complete a your medical test with your GP or other health professionals who have complete access to your records. This can cost around £80.
Pass Topographical Skills Assessment
The Topographical Skills assessment ensures you are able to use an A-Z Guide to locate places, as well as to plan routes (of varying distance) from one point to another. You will need to obtain your certificate from an accredited test centre.
Pass English Language Test
The standard of English required is not advanced and equivalent to early secondary school. You will need to take a test with one of TfL’s approved language test providers. However, in many cases, your academic qualifications (such as GCSEs) can exempt you from having to take the English language test. Click here for more information.
Finally, complete the application form on the TfL Website
Visit the official TfL website and begin the application process. You can also sign up online and request a paper application.
Training Course for the PCO Licence
There is no specific training course for the PCO Licence, however you can receive assistance with 2 aspects: the English test and the Topographical skills test. Some providers will offer training and assessment for both of these areas.
Costs may vary.
Cost of the PCO Licence
There are several different costs associated with the Private Hire Driver Licence. For instance, there is a cost for starting an application and another for taking the required medical test. The total cost is an estimated £700. For a complete breakdown, see our timeline on the right side.
Costs can vary depending on your choice of provider. E.g. some Medical tests can cost more than others.
PCO Licence Renewal
Your PCO Licence is only valid for 3 years. To assist you, the Public Carriage Office (PCO) will send you your renewal forms a few weeks before the expiration date of your licence.
Don't wait too long!
It takes a few weeks for PCO Licence application to be processed. If you wait more than 3 months after your PCO Licence has expired, you will no longer be eligible for a renewal and be treated as a new applicant.
Becoming an Uber Driver with a PCO Licence
For many people in the UK, using an Uber is preferred over the traditional black cabs or private taxi services. In fact, for many passengers using Uber is not only more convenient, but also works out considerably cheaper.
Benefits of becoming an Uber Driver
Working for Uber offers freelance and flexible hours for drivers in the UK and is used by millions of passengers in the UK with an average of 3.5 million users in London alone. This is especially handy for drivers who have already got a PCO Licence and are looking to earn some extra income or are looking to become a fulltime Uber driver.
With a PCO Licence you will be able to register in becoming an Uber driver. Applying to drive for Uber is as simple as signing up online on the Official Uber Website.
The minimum requirements of becoming an Uber Driver
There are certain requirements issued by Uber that you must need in order to be eligible to drive with them. This includes:
You must have a valid UK driver’s licence (if you have an EU one, it has to be converted to a UK licence)
You need to be at least 21 years old
Depending upon the area in which you are based, you will need a certain number of years driving experience in order to qualify
You will need to provide the following documents to Uber in order to drive with them, so have these ready:
National Insurance Number
Electronic Counterpart Code (this can be sorted through the Uber website)
Private Hire Paper licence (the original document, as well as supporting documentation if needed)
Original UK Plastic Driving Licence
Private Hire Insurance Certificate
MOT that has been issued within the past 6 months
Do you need training to be an Uber Driver?
Before you officially begin driving with Uber you will need to attend an Uber Ignition' session.
This is basically a free half-day information session where you will learn about what it will be like to work for Uber.
The Uber Ignition' session can take up to four hours and involves the following:
Training for the maps test
Guidance on how to get your health and background check
Advice on obtaining insurance
Guidance on how to apply for your private hire licence (if you haven’t already got one)
How much can you make as an Uber Driver?
On average Uber drivers could make around £565 for a 35-45-hour week which on average works out at roughly £15 per hour. This also includes tips which can be granted by the passenger via the app.
This figure is after Uber have taken their 25% service fee from your fare.
Uber drivers get paid on a weekly basis. The money goes directly into your bank account along with an invoice detailing all the trips.
Obtaining company phone and sat nav
You can also pay £5 per week to obtain a company phone and a sat nav. This includes phone, data charges and repairs. This option is also covered by insurance if the phone or sat nav gets damaged.
What vehicle will you need to become an Uber driver?
As you'll be driving people around in your own vehicle, you'll need to make sure it's up to the standards Uber requires. Your car needs to be under five years old, and should comfortably seat between four and eight people.
The approved list of accepted cars if you want to become an Uber driver in the UK can be found on the Official Uber Website.