Driving a black cab or mini cab in the UK has been a popular way of earning a wage for decades. It’s flexible, can be lucrative if you are prepared to work at weekends or through the night, and can usually be done on either a part time or full time basis. Although rules have always been strict about who can get a licence to drive a traditional black cab (also sometimes known as a Hackney cab), over recent years’ rules have also been tightened up on the people who apply to drive a mini cab, which is sometimes more formally referred to as a private hire vehicle.
Local Councils around the UK deal with the applications for a mini cab or black cab licence, and many have lots of information on their website about the process in the local area. The process is broadly the same across the country and drivers who want a taxi licence have to show documentation to the Council as a first step. As a bare minimum, drivers will have to show a valid UK driving licence, along with proof of their right to live and work in the UK which could include passport, birth certificate, utility bills and any relevant immigration documents. Some local authorities will also ask to see proof of a basic understanding of Maths and English, and drivers who are not native English speakers may have to undergo additional testing. Medical reports will also often be required before a licence is granted.
If the Council is happy that the applicant for a taxi licence has the right to live and work in the UK and has the language and driving skills needed for the job, the next step is DBS checking. This is done for all drivers who wish to be licenced to drive black cabs or mini cabs, and involves checks into the driver’s criminal record to ensure that they are of good character. This check is carried out for both new applicants for a licence and for those renewing an existing licence. Checks are done to ensure that members of the public are safe when they get into a taxi cab, and this is one of the professions which is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. That means that convictions and cautions which might be considered “spent” under other circumstances and when applying for other types of jobs must be declared and if any past convictions are thrown up by a DBS check, the Council will make the decision on whether to grant the licence. Without a valid DBS certificate, the taxi licence will not be granted and the driver cannot drive a taxi legally in the UK.
Drivers from Overseas
People applying for a taxi licence who have lived overseas for all or part of their life may be asked to produce a Certificate of Good Character in addition to undergoing a DBS check and providing all the other documentation needed. The cost and timescales for getting this certificate will depend on the country concerned.