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Taxi/private hire car operator licence

If you operate a vehicle as a taxi, or Private Hire Car (PHC) you need a Taxi/Private Hire Car Operator licence. This is different from the Taxi Driver's Licence which each driver needs. If you drive your own car, you will need both this licence and a Taxi Driver's Licence.

How to apply

Complete and return a Taxi/PHC Operator application form (Word, 124kb) with appropriate fees. Please read our guidance for taxis (PDF, 79kb) or guidance for private hire cars (PDF, 79kb)

Substitute a vehicle

To substitute a vehicle used as a taxi, please complete and return a Substitute Vehicle application (Word, 102kb).


Application typeFeeNotes
Taxi Application (3 year licence) £580 plus vehicle inspection fee
Taxi Application (1 year licence) £335 plus vehicle inspection fee
Private hire car application (3 year licence) £520 plus vehicle inspection fee
Private hire car application (1 year licence) £310 plus vehicle inspection fee
Substitute vehicle £187 vehicle inspection fee is included
Vehicle inspection £77 required both when the vehicle is first licensed and every 6 or 12 months - see below
Retest vehicle inspection £42 payable when vehicle fails first inspection test

Cheques payable to 'North Ayrshire Council'. If your applications 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 specifications under Licence Conditions below.

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.

How often do vehicles need to be inspected?

After the first inspection:

  • cars which are 5 years old or less (counting from DVLA First Registration) need a council test every 12 months
  • cars which are over 5 years old (counting from DVLA First Registration) need a council test every 6 months

Does the licence have any conditions?

Licences are only granted to vehicles of a certain specification. Vehicles are inspected at least annually (in addition to the normal MOT test) using these criteria:

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.

Contact Licensing




01294 324305


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