PCO Licence (Private Hire Driver)

The PCO Private Hire Licence allows holders to legally provide minicab hiring services in the United Kingdom. This also includes becoming an Uber driver.

LICENCE Name

PCO Private Hire Driver Licence

AUTHORITY

Transport for London (TfL)

TIME TO GET LICENCED 4 weeks
COST £700
VALID FOR 3 years
ELIGIBILITY 21 years, Right to work in UK, DBS Check, Pass tests: Topographical, Medical, English
QUALIFICATION(S) NEEDED Topographical Test;
STEPS TO GET LICENSED
1

Enhanced DBS Check

TfL Provider: GBGroup
Cost: £60
2

Medical Test

Medical standards: DVLA Group 2
Cost: £80
3

Topographical Test

Find accredited test centre
Cost: £75
4

Becoming an Uber driver

Sign up online - www.uber.com
Submit application documentation
Have approved Uber vehicle
Attend Uber Ignition' session
Get Licenced

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. 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.

Can I work as an Uber Driver with a PCO licence?

Yes. With the PCO Licence, you are able to work for private operators as a driver, this includes as a driver for Uber.

 

Eligibility

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. 

Topographical Skills Assessment are conducted under exam conditions by TfL assessors.

Find out more about the topographical skills assessment and how to book at a TfL-approved centre on the TfL Website

Topographical Assessment with Uber

If you wish to be become an Uber driver you will have an option of taking your topographical assessment at the Uber Ignition Centre which is based in London.

The cost to take your topographical at the Uber Ignition Centre will cost £50 per applicant. This cost will include a retake of your test if you fail at the first attempt.

You will be able to take part in an online topographical preparation mock exam to help you prepare for your topographical skills assessment.

Find out more about the Uber topographical skills assessment and how to book a topographical skills assessment at the Uber Ignition Centre on the Uber Website

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.

Please note

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

Logbook

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.

FAQs

The PCO Licence allows you to work as a minicab driver or chauffer. It is also known as the Private Hire Driver Licence. PCO stands for Public Carriage Office - they are part of Transport for London (TfL).
   There is no simple answer. The TfL application cost for the PCO Licence is £250. Then you need to factor in other elements of the application form. This includes DBS criminal record checks, English Language, Medical and Topographical tests. The estimated total, as reported by TfL (the Licensing Authority) is around £700. 
   The PCO Licence is valid for 3 years. Public Carriage Office (PCO) will send you your renewal forms a few weeks before the expiration date of your licence to give you a hand. If you wait more than 3 months, you will need to re-apply from scratch.  
Having a basic level of English is a requirement for the PCO Licence. TfL approve ISE I (B1) and IELTS tests to show your level. Please note, you are exempt from this if you have any of the following qualifications in certificate form: GCSE, AS Level or A-levels, University Degrees and so on. For the full list of exemptions, click here. 
As part of your PCO Licence application, you need to prove that you are medically fit to drive through a medical test. The test will check your reactions, coordination, memory and so on. See more on: DVLA Group 2 medical standards. To take the test, you can contact your GP or book with an external centre (provided they have access to your full medical history). TfL advises that the cost is around £80. The test result is only valid for 6 months, so make sure you apply before it expires.
You need to pass the Topographical Skills assessment to complete your PCO Licence application. The test 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.
Yes. With the PCO Licence, you are able to work for private operators as a driver, this includes as a driver for Uber.  
You must be at least 21 years old to be an approved Uber driver.
An Uber drive can earn on average £15 per hour. This also includes tips.
You'll need to have the correct insurance when working as an Uber driver, and even if you're already insured to drive your vehicle, you may not be covered to use your vehicle for work or business use, so check your documentation. Price comparison sites such as Compare the Market or Compare.com can help you find a good deal if you need to change your vehicle insurance.
Uber will pay you weekly, usually on a Thursday, and it calculates the amount of fares you've taken between 4am on a Monday and 3:59am the following Monday.
Yes. You'll need to either rent or buy an Uber-approved vehicle. This can be done via the Uber Marketplace, which helps you find vehicles to drive.
There are no hours or shifts, Uber drivers can turn on the app whenever they want and can decide when they want to drive.