Chauffeur Driving Licenses
In order to become a chauffeur driver, you must obtain a special driving license for 'Private Hire' drivers. The process for becoming properly licensed will vary according to where you live and intend to work as a chauffeur. There are over two hundred taxi and private hire licensing offices in the United Kingdom and each office has its own set of regulations.
Outside of London, you will need to contact your local council to make application for a private hire license. You must have had a valid driver's license for at least one year before applying for your private hire license.
Within London, you will have to apply for a private hire license through Transport for London. Their regulations require that you have been driving under a valid license for at least three years and can pass a challenging topographical routing test to ensure that you are expert at navigating London's streets. You may qualify for a license that allows you to work throughout London (a 'green badge') or one that limits your work area to suburban London (a 'yellow badge').
Regardless of where in the United Kingdom you intend to work, you will have to prove that you are legally entitled to work in the United Kingdom.
Becoming a chauffeur means that you will be responsible for the safety of your customers. Licensing authorities will look into your background to make sure that you are a "fit and proper person". In most jurisdictions they will complete a criminal records check, a medical examination and a knowledge test.
You may be disqualified from holding a private hire license if your criminal records check indicates that your behaviour could endanger your passengers. If you have a criminal history of assault, drug use or drunk driving then it is unlikely that your license application will be approved. However, if your record shows a conviction for a petty crime from several years ago and no recent issues, authorities may decide that the issues of your past are not a concern.
The licensing office will also refer you to a general practitioner for a medical examination. The doctor will review your history and current health to determine if you have any conditions that could affect your driving ability. Some medical conditions, such as vision impairment or epilepsy, may result in an automatic denial of your application. The doctor will make a full report to the licensing office and authorities will determine if you are fit to hold a private hire license.
Many jurisdictions also require that you pass a knowledge test before you qualify for a chauffeur's license. The knowledge test checks that you know the locations of named places and buildings. Expect to be asked for the intersections for hotels, restaurants, transportation hubs, hospitals and government buildings within the area you plan to work. You will also be tested on your knowledge of roads by being asked for the shortest route between two locations and to name all the roads along the travel route. In many jurisdictions, you will also be tested on your knowledge of regulations and bylaws that apply to chauffeuring.
Licensing authorities will charge a fee to evaluate your application. Check with your council or transport authority for the fees and specific application requirements for your area.