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Vehicles

  • To licence a new vehicle or replace an existing vehicle, you will need to complete either the Hackney Carriage Application Form or the Private Hire Vehicle Application Form (Hackney Carriages are limited to 63 with no availability).
  • Submit the application form either by emailing it to us, or posting it in the 'Licensing Inbox', which is located in the Contact Centre at Wesley House.
  • Your application form must be accompanied by one of the following documents to prove ownership:
    • A full V5 logbook
    • Bill of sale
    • Section 10 of the V5 logbook (the green slip)
  • Once we have checked the application form and we have contacted you to confirm this, you will then be able to book a compliance test for the vehicle and arrange an appointment to collect the vehicles licences after the test. Please see our licensing fees.
  • Once the vehicle has passed its test, please bring your ‘Vehicle Compliance Certificate’ with a valid insurance document and proof of current road tax with you to your appointment. (Please note that if you are replacing your vehicle, you will be required to return the rear plate and front window disc from your previous vehicle.)

Tests will be conducted on all vehicles at the council-approved testing station at Hardshaw Brook Depot.

Important: Please contact us for general advice before purchasing any new vehicle to ensure it meets our standards of eligibility.

The Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee adopted the current test inspection manual for hackney/private hire vehicles testing in May 2008.

What licence will my new vehicle get?

If your new vehicle passes its compliance test (without the need to undergo any further tests such as a retest) then it will be eligible to receive a 12-month licence and will not be required to undertake a further compliance test in six months. However, if your vehicle fails its first compliance test then it will only be eligible for a six-month licence and will be required to undertake a further compliance test in six months (this licence will also be issued for a period of six months).

Taxi Licensing Policy Review

The Taxi Licensing Policy is due for review. However, this has been delayed until the outcome of the recently published Government Consultation into Statutory Guidance for Taxi Licensing is known.

In order to renew your vehicle, you will need to book a compliance test via our online system. Upon booking the test you will be required to pay the relevant fee.

Tests will be conducted on all vehicles at the council-approved testing station at Hardshaw Brook Depot. 

Once the vehicle has successfully passed its compliance test, you will need to bring the following documents to Wesley House for your licence to be issued:

You will also be required to pay the licence fee for the vehicle at this point.

If your vehicle passes its first compliance test of the financial year, it will be eligible to receive a 12-month licence and will not be required to undertake a further compliance test in six months. However, if your vehicle fails its first compliance test of the financial year, it will only be eligible to receive a six-month licence and will be required to undertake a further compliance test in six months (this licence will also be issued for a period of six months). 

Please note: any vehicles that are not renewed before the expiry of the former licence will be treated as a new application.

Private Hire Vehicles

Only vehicles that comply with the following conditions will be licensed as private hire vehicles:

  • Vehicles must be fitted with at least four doors and four wheels.
  • Vehicles must be right-hand drive (with the exception of limousines).
  • Vehicles must have adequate space for luggage.
  • Vehicles must be capable of carrying at least four passengers and not more than eight. Applicants who wish to licence vehicles for more than eight passengers will have to apply for a PSV licence.
  • All passengers must have easy access to an exit from the vehicle. Vehicles that require a seat to be moved or tipped to facilitate exit may not be permitted on the grounds of safety. If you are thinking about licensing this type of vehicle, please contact us for a pre-test inspection.
  • Vehicles must carry a spare wheel or space saver kit.
  • We will not licence the following vehicle types as a private hire vehicle:
    • An LTI (London Taxi International) type vehicle
    • A Metrocab vehicle
  • The vehicle's rear seats must have a combined length of 48 inches, which is measured in a straight line lengthways along the front end of the seat.

Vehicles that have had a bi-fuel or LPG conversion will be allowed as long as a conversion certificate from an approved installer can be provided. 

Hackney Carriage Vehicles

All hackney carriage vehicles must be public carriage office approved and designed to provide access and secure carriage of wheelchair-using passengers.

Tinted Windows on Licensed Vehicles

We have adopted the DVLA standard for window tints on vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1985. The light transmitted through the windscreen must be at least 75% and the front side windows or the 'A-Pillar' for the driver must allow at least 70% of light to be transmitted through them. There are no rules governing the tinting of passenger or rear windows.

The only exceptions to this are the 'manufacturer's standard'. This is when a vehicle comes off the production line with the tint already installed. There are a number of these vehicles now available, particularly of the people carrier type. The tint cannot be modified in any way and the vehicle proprietor has to provide certificated proof that the vehicle was produced in that manner. If this can be achieved, then these vehicles will also licensed.

Age Restrictions

There are currently no age restrictions in place; however, vehicles should be kept in good working order, along with bodywork and the cleanliness of the vehicle (inside and out).

Colour Restrictions

There are currently no colour restrictions in place for vehicles.

We are not allowed to restrict the number of private hire vehicles that can operate in the borough, but the number of hackney carriage vehicles are limited to 63 with no current availability. We operate a waiting list for hackney carriage plates and you can submit an application to join the list by sending the following information:

  • Full name
  • Full address including postcode
  • Contact telephone number
  • Date of birth

to: Licensing and Land Charges, Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1HF or by email.

View the current hackney carriage waiting list.

Discreet third-party advertising will be permitted on licensed vehicles subject to us giving you written consent.

To apply for commercial advertising you will need to complete the application form and return it to us along with a full colour draft of what the advertising will look like.

There will also be an administration charge for this application.

Excluded Advertising

Advertising must not be offensive or objectionable so approval will not be given for any of the following:

  • Tobacco companies or products
  • Alcohol or drug-related items
  • Political messages
  • Betting and gambling
  • Nudity

Advertising for hackney carriage/private hire businesses and any other travel business which involves the carriage of passengers are also excluded. 

Fitting and Display of Commercial Advertising

For hackney carriage vehicles commercial advertising will only be permitted on the side livery of the vehicle (which is the front and rear wings and the front and rear doors).

For private hire vehicles commercial advertising will only be permitted on the rear side doors of saloon cars or the rear side panels of minibuses and the maximum size of the advertising can be no more than 22 inches in width and 18 inches in height.

Advertising must be permanently painted or stuck to a continuous flat surface on the vehicle and magnetic signs will not be permitted.