How to apply for a PCO Licence in London: A complete guide

London’s busy streets are a hub for activity. Thousands of people use private hire vehicles (PHVs), whether it is to commute daily, travel or enjoy leisure. The PCO (Public Carriage Office) licence is essential for those who want to join the elite ranks of London’s private hire drivers. This guide will provide an in-depth overview of how to apply for PCO license, including the process and important considerations.

applying for a pco licence

What is a PCO Licence?

Transport for London (TfL) issues a PCO license that allows drivers to drive private hire vehicles in the city. Anyone who wants to drive a taxi or minicab for hire will need this licence. The application process for a PCO license is rigorous, as it ensures that all drivers are up to the required standards of safety, reliability and professionalism.

The PCO License: Key Requirements

Be sure to meet these requirements before you apply for your PCO license:

  1. Age & Driving Experience Applicants must have a UK or EU full driving licence and a minimum three-year experience.
  2. Medical Fit: You must undergo a Group 2 medical exam by a registered doctor to determine if you are physically fit for driving.
  3. Enhanced DBS check: A DBS enhanced check is required to ensure passenger safety and review criminal records.
  4. Topographical Skills Assessment You must pass the test to prove your ability to navigate London efficiently, including knowing key routes and landmarks.
  5. English Proficiency : You must demonstrate your ability to communicate in English effectively, usually through an English language test.

Apply for a PCO licence

The Application Process

There are several steps to the application process for a PCO license:

  1. Application: Begin by filling out the online form on the TfL site. Make sure all the information you provide is accurate and current.
  2. Document Submittal: You will be required to submit a number of documents with your application. These include your driving license, proofs of address and any certificates you may need (medical, DBS or English proficiency).
  3. Fees Pay the applicable fees to cover the costs of processing your application. This includes the DBS check and topographical tests. According to the most recent updates, the total cost is around PS310.
  4. Medical Exam: Book a Group 2 examination with a GP who will submit the results to TfL.
  5. DBS Test: Request an enhanced DBS. You can do this through the TfL site or by using an approved provider.
  6. Topographical test Schedule and pass this topographical skills assessment to demonstrate your ability navigate London’s streets.
  7. English Language test: Book and pass a certified English language test if required to prove your level of proficiency.

After-Application Steps

TfL reviews all your documents and results after you submit your application. This process may take several weeks. You will receive your PCO license if your application is approved. It is valid for a period of three years.

Repair and maintenance

You must follow TfL regulations and standards to maintain your license. Renewal also requires the same process, which includes updated medical checks and DBS certificates.

How to make a successful application

  1. Prepare: Gather required documents ahead of time to avoid delays.
  2. Accuracy Double-check the application form to ensure that there are no errors or omissions.
  3. Study Prepare for the topographical exam using all available resources.
  4. Communications: Maintain records of all communication with TfL, and respond promptly to any requests for more information.

The conclusion of the article is:

The application process for a PCO license in London is designed to ensure only the most reliable and qualified individuals are hired as private hire drivers. You can apply for a PCO license by meeting the requirements, and then following the steps. This will allow you to embark on an exciting career in one the most dynamic cities of the world. If you want to drive either a black cab, or a minicab in London, getting your PCO license is the first step.