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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.