To work for Uber, you must first obtain a private hire license from Transport for London – a requirement for all minicab & chauffeur drivers.
The Public Carriage Office, run by TFL, have provided a set of criteria to ensure new drivers are qualified to work on the streets of London. Once you’ve obtained the PCO Licence, also known as the Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Licence, you can operate as an Uber Car Rental Driver.
All of this is in line with PCO’s vision, which is to make sure all London drivers are safe, professional employees.
To apply for a PCO license, the following areas need to be covered. If one is insufficient, you won’t be eligible for the application:
To apply for a PCO License, you must
The license itself must have been obtained from the UK, a Member State of the European Community (EC) or a European Economic Area (EEA). If obtained from either the EC or EEA, then you are required to obtain a UK counterpart document (DVLA).
There are several forms to fill out, all of which can be accessed from the TFL website. Both hard copies & digital copies are available on request, although online applications will be processed quicker.
The cost to apply is £250. If for whatever reason your application is rejected, £100 will be refunded.
TfL requires all London Taxi & Private Hire drivers to be medically fit and have provided a set of criteria to acquire the DVLA Group 2 licence.
You need to complete a Medical Declaration form (TPH/204) with a registered medical practitioner, preferably your GP who has full access to your medical history; without access to your records the application may be delayed.
The examination will take around 30 minutes. Based on the test results the doctor will decide if your health matches the criteria of the DVLA Group 2 medical standards & will complete the remainder of the PHV/204 form. Depending on your borough, the form costs between £80-£120 to be filled
The Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS) is to ensure you’re a safe, trustworthy & honest citizen; someone who obeys the laws of the land.
It’s also a way of proving to employers that you have no criminal record, or that any previous convictions you may have were not serious enough to pose a threat to other human beings. For example, anyone with a history of violent/sexual crime will have their application revoked.
The Living & Working Abroad Form must be filled in for anyone who’s lived outside the UK for more than 3 months at a time, in the last 3 years.
It’s very similar to DBS but applies to the country you lived in. Hence it’s seen as a separate check and does not replace, nor stand in, for the DBS check.
The ability to read maps & find the routes are referred to as topographical skills. These skills are a standard requirement for a private hire/mini cab driver.
Acquiring a topographical skills certificate will prove your credentials in this area. Uber have a TFL approved topographical skillset programme in the form of Uber Ignition, which will also reward you with £300 for the completion of 20 trips.
Transport for London require all private hire and minicab drivers to have a level of English suitable for the following:
The following qualifications are seen by TfL as proof of one’s sufficiency in the English language:
If you have none of the above, you’ll need to attend a TfL approved language course/test centre to obtain a B1 English Level certificate, which will cost £200 to qualify for.
• DBS or CRB check
• Medical Declaration (TPH/204)
• Topographical Skills Certificate
• English Language
A more detailed explanation as to the usage & accessibility of these forms can be found on the Requirements section of the website.
The depending on whether you have the required documents already available, you could end up spending up to £600-£650 in fees & applications.
The average length of time it takes for a decision to be made from TfL. If the medical or topographical tests are failed, or there’s inconsistency with the application, it could take up to 3-4 months.