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Taxi/private hire car operator licence

How to apply

Apply for a Taxi/PHC Operator licence

Please read the following guidance for:

Substitute a vehicle

To substitute a vehicle used as a taxi, please:

Apply for a vehicle substitution

Taxi/PHC vehicle inspections

Apply for a vehicle inspection


All fees can be found on our licence fees webpage.

If your application is refused or granted for a shorter period than you applied, the fee will not be refunded or reduced.

Taxi zones

Taxis can only operate within 1 area in North Ayrshire. In your application, specify which area you wish your taxi to operate in. The council operates a limit to the number of taxis in each taxi zone. Contact us to find out about availability.

What happens next?

We will contact you to organise an inspection of your vehicle to ensure it is fit for purpose. If your vehicle fails the inspection, it must sit a re-test. We only consider applications once the vehicle has passed its inspection.

Find out more about our vehicle specification and inspection standards.

Applications are advertised on this website for 28 days to allow members of the public to make any objections or representations. We consult on all licence applications with Police Scotland.

If there is any comment from the public, Police Scotland or any council department, you will be told and your application will be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision. If the Committee decides to have a hearing, you will be invited to that and you will be able to speak to the Committee. The majority of applications do not require a hearing and are granted by council officers.

Applications may take 6 to 8 weeks to process. If you haven't heard from the Licensing Office within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Does the licence have any conditions?

The licence will have the council's Standard Conditions. In some cases the council may apply special conditions appropriate to your particular circumstances.

Conditions will be set out in the licence document. If these are broken, the licence holder can be charged by Police Scotland and the Licensing Committee can suspend the licence after a hearing. You will be invited to such a hearing and will be able to speak to the committee.

Please note: We follow National Fraud Initiative guidelines to protect against fraud.

Vehicle specification and inspection standards

Under law, the Council can only grant a Taxi or Private Hire Car Licence if the vehicle is suitable and safe.

Any vehicle to be used on a Taxi or Private Hire Car Licence must meet two standards:

View the inspection standards (PDF, 255kb) the Council garage uses.

The same inspection standards apply to any vehicle which the operator wants to substitute on the licence.

They also apply when the vehicle is tested under the licence conditions:

  • a vehicle needs to be tested no more than 12 months after its last test, as long as the vehicle is under 5 years old
  • when the vehicle reaches 5 years old, the tests are every 6 months
  • the age of a vehicle is counted from its first registration at the DVLA

Contact Licensing




01294 310000


Licensing Section, Legal Services, North Ayrshire Council, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE