Private Hire Vehicles

This page provides information about the procedure you need to follow in order to obtain a private hire vehicle licence. It includes the required vehicle specifications, obtaining a licence plate and gives a list of approved garages.

A Private Hire Vehicle cannot ply for hire or stand in a hackney rank. It must be pre-booked with a private hire operator, and cannot operate independently from that operator. A vehicle licence must be obtained from the Council before the vehicle can be used for this purpose.

Private Hire Vehicle Specifications

  • The vehicle must not be black or any colour that can be taken to be black or resemble a hackney carriage, e.g. a London TX cab.
  • The vehicle must be fitted with four road wheels, have at least four doors and be right hand drive
  • The vehicle must be a saloon, estate, M.P.V. or minibus with 8 passenger seats or less, and not be a large 4x4 type vehicle, e.g. Range Rover or Mitsubishi Shogun size vehicle. Smaller 4x4’s may be considered e.g. if they are derived from family saloon type vehicles.
  • The vehicle must be of adequate seating capacity and head and knee room etc. as detailed in the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.
  • The vehicle must be so constructed to allow the doors to open sufficiently wide as to allow easy access to and egress from the vehicle and cause no inconvenience to passengers.
  • In the case of a vehicle that carries more than 4 passengers no seat should be required to be moved to allow any passenger to enter or egress the vehicle.
  • Vehicles that have 3 rows of seats, e.g. people carriers where seats have to be tilted or moved to give access to the rear row of seats will not be licensed unless one of the seats in the middle row is removed to allow unimpeded access to the rear seats. The seat removed to facilitate entry as described must have the mounting secured to prevent the seat from being easily re-fitted into the vehicle.
  • Where access to the rear seats is made through a gap between the seats in the middle row the gap must be a minimum of 30 cm to allow clear access to the rear seats.
  • The vehicle must be within certain age limits, determined primarily by its date of first registration, or if imported the date of manufacture as detailed in the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.
  • The vehicle must be of sufficient seating capacity to carry at least four and not more than eight passengers in addition to the driver. The seating capacity shall be determined in accordance with paragraphs (i) (a) and (i)(b) and paragraph (ii) of Regulation 42 of the Road Vehicles (Registration & Licensing) Regulations 1971.
  • If the vehicle is an Estate Car or a Multi-Purpose Vehicle as described on the Vehicle Registration Document (V5), it must be fitted with a grille or a similar device sufficient to prevent luggage carried in the rear compartment from coming into contact with persons in the rear seat.
  • All vehicles must reach the standard required by the council, which is higher than the standard MOT. The council holds a certificate of compliance granted by V.O.S.A. and has approved garages that must be used for the inspection of vehicles.
  • The vehicle must be fitted with a fire extinguisher (dry powder type, minimum weight 1kg) in such a position to be readily available for use.
  • First aid kits must be carried in all licensed vehicles which conform to the standards and contain items listed in Schedule 7, of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

Procedure for Licensing a Vehicle

Prior to licensing a vehicle, you should visit the licensing office to apply, ensuring that you have the required documents, as follows:

  • Vehicle registration document or proof of purchase if not available
  • Current certificate or cover note of insurance for private hire use showing the registration number of the vehicle concerned
  • Licence fee - List of Licence Fees for Private Hire & Hackney Carriage Licences
  • Completed Private Hire vehicle licence application form

Prior to the issue of a licence for the vehicle for private hire purposes, the vehicle must undergo and pass a full test and council inspection at one of the approved garages (below), unless the vehicle is under one year old, in which case it will not require a test.

Arrangements for this test/inspection must be made direct with the chosen garage.

Re-tests must be undertaken by the same garage carrying out the initial test. There will be no addition to the fee for the re-test provided it is carried out within seven days of the initial test.

No re-test will be undertaken after seven days and a full test will be required and a new fee paid.

When the vehicle has successfully passed the test a certificate will be issued by the garage. This certificate must be produced for examination by a Licensing Officer, after which the licence documentation will be issued.

Licence plate/corresponding door signs

Once licensed, the vehicle is issued with a green rear licence plate which must be affixed to the rear of the vehicle, a corresponding internal licence, showing the expiry date of the licence and two door signs which show the licence number and must be displayed on each side of the vehicle. The vehicle should also display the name and telephone number of the private hire operator prominently.

The rear licence plate must be securely affixed to the rearmost part of the vehicle in accordance with vehicle licence conditions. Display of the plate in the rear window is not acceptable.

In order to assist licensed proprietors in complying with the above licence condition, the council has secured a supply of plate brackets that are designed to be used in conjunction with the plate. Vehicle proprietors can purchase a bracket from the council.

Vehicles seating more than 4 passengers

Persons wishing to licence as a private hire vehicle a vehicle that seats more than 4 passengers but less than 9, would be advised to contact the Council for advice regarding its suitability to be licensed. The following additional condition applies to vehicles licensed to carry more than 4 persons.

Each passenger must have direct access to and egress from the vehicle without the need to climb over other seats or luggage and this would include where a seat has to be tipped to allow access or egress. (In the event of injury or death to a passenger it may not be possible to tip such a seat where it is occupied).

Nominated Testing Stations

The following Garages have been nominated by Torfaen County Borough Council to undertake Private Hire and Hackney Carriage testing.


5 North Site, Ty Coch Way, Cwmbran, NP44 7EZ
Tel: 01633 860606

Pontypool Service Station

Unit 1, Gemini Works, Pontypool, NP4 6YW
01495 758213

Further information

For more information about private hire and hackney carriage licensing, please contact the Licensing Section at Ty Blaen Torfaen, Panteg Way, New Inn, Pontypool NP4 0LS.


Please Note - Torfaen County Borough Council (The Council) is under a duty to protect the public funds which it administers and to this end may use the information you provide within Torfaen County Borough Council for the prevention and detection of fraud. The Council may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds solely for these purposes. For further information, visit the National Fraud Initiative area of the website. 

Last Modified: 12/05/2022
For more information contact:

Licensing Team

Tel: 01633 647286


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