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Private hire and taxi vehicle licence

A private hire or hackney carriage vehicle licence is required for any motor vehicle, constructed or adapted to seat fewer than nine passengers, which is provided for hire with the services of a driver for the purpose of carrying passengers. The exemptions to this are public carriage vehicles, wedding cars and funeral cars.

Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked by customers with the vehicle’s licensed operator. Hackney Carriages may be hailed in the street or receive bookings at designated Hackney Carriage Ranks.

COVID-19 renewal fee grant support

From 25 February 2021 Bedford Borough Council will provide support towards the renewal fee for a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle. 

Who is eligible

1. You must have held a valid licence issued by Bedford Borough Council for a vehicle for use as a private hire vehicle or hackney carriage on 22 March 2020.

2. You must apply to renew the licence for the vehicle between 25 February 2021 and 24 February 2022.

Exceptions to eligibility

1. Persons or companies that are entitled to other forms of coronavirus business support grants from the Council will not qualify for this grant.

2. Eligibility is limited to 6 vehicles for each person or company.

3. Eligibility is limited to renewal of a vehicle licence with Bedford Borough Licensing Authority.


  • Where a renewal fee has already been paid the grant will apply to the next renewal application. We are not able to facilitate refunds under this scheme.
  • Where the original vehicle is being replaced with a new vehicle, the replacement vehicle will qualify.
  • Only one grant per vehicle or replacement vehicle will be made.
  • The financial support is offered solely to meet the cost of renewing a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle licence.

Licensees will be required to submit and pay for an application online at least 4 weeks prior to the expiry of the licence. The process will require you to upload a copy of the current V5 document or the V5C/2 (New Keepers Supplement for the vehicle).

If your application doesn’t meet the criteria for the Covid-19 renewal fee grant support, you will be contacted by licensing to arrange payment. Once this payment has been received, your application will be processed and you will be contacted to arrange a compliance test. 

Before you apply

Download and read carefully the following documents. 

When you have read the guidance notes and consulted the manual of inspection, and you believe that your vehicle will be able to meet the criteria for a private hire/hackney carriage vehicle licence, you can proceed. 

If having read the documents you need further information please email your enquiry to us at

On receipt of the application you will be contacted by the Licensing team and advised of the first available testing slot for your vehicle. You will not be able to book this test via the Customer Service Centre on Horne Lane.

As previously advised all correspondence will be conducted via e-mail.

Pre test 

If you wish to book an appointment to have your vehicle checked before the Compliance Test, please contact the Depot directly on 01234 718048.  Please note the pre-test is an arrangement between the driver and the Depot and is independent of the Licensing authority.  

Renew a private hire/hackney carriage licence 

Renew a private hire/hackney carriage licence 

If you wish to install a temporary protective screen in your private hire/hackney carriage vehicle, please read and complete the following declaration: Protective screens declaration

If you currently undertake a client transport service, please contact the team at for additional guidance.

Please also read the information regarding temporary exemption from MOT and advice on keeping a vehicle in good condition.

Further information 

The Council normally requires all private hire vehicles to display a prescribed roof sign, prescribed door signs and a licence plate fitted to the rear exterior of the vehicle. The Council will consider exemption requests from these requirements and the following framework sets out the Council's approach to such requests.

Framework for Consideration of Vehicle Exemption Requests.

Privacy Statement for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licences

Application to transfer a vehicle licence.

Contact Licensing Team