Operator Licences

Private hire operator form

A private hire operator’s licence is required to take bookings and dispatch private hire vehicles to customers. Private Hire vehicles cannot carry out a journey unless it has been pre-booked through an operator. This applies whether the booking is taken through a booking office, telephone booking or via an App. The licence is issued for 5 years. 

The Council must be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper before granting a licence as operators are responsible for arranging and fulfilling bookings, employing and vetting licensed drivers and vehicles, responding to customer complaints, and maintaining records of every booking they receive. 

Applying for an operator licence 

To apply for a private hire operator's licence, please download and complete the application form.

Applications must be accompanied by: 
  • Copies of any supporting documents you intend to rely upon during your application
  • Completed HMRC Tax code check for each partner of the business in the case of renewal  
  • Drawings of any signs you wish to use. These will be subject to approval by the Council
Application cost

Please send the completed form and supporting documentation in pdf or jpg format to eps.support@colchester.gov.uk 

We will call you to take payment over the phone. Once payment is made and the application process has been completed to the Council’s satisfaction, we will issue the licence.

Planning consent 

To operate a private hire business from a residential dwelling, planning permission for such business use may be required.  It is your responsibility to ensure the necessary permissions are in place. 

Sub-contracting bookings 

If the prospective operator intends to receive and accept bookings at premises in Colchester, they must apply for and be granted a licence by us. That operator can then only issue jobs to private hire vehicles and drivers who have also been licensed by the Council, or sub-contract bookings to other licensed operators, either in Colchester or elsewhere. It is against the law for an operator to pass bookings directly to a private hire vehicle or driver who is not licensed by the same council as that operator. 

Operators with offices or bases in multiple council areas (for which they will need licences from each council concerned) can pass bookings between their offices/bases, but cannot give jobs directly to drivers licensed by the other council(s). The operator will also need to maintain separate records for each council area, which also show every job which has been sub-contracted to or from another office. 

Private hire operators may also sub-contract jobs to hackney carriage proprietors, although this must remain a minority part of the overall work undertaken by that hackney carriage vehicle. 

Where jobs are sub-contracted to another operator, we strongly advise that the customer is made aware of this to avoid any confusion arising. 

Let Us Know  

You are required to let us know about various changes including:
  • Surrendering a private hire operator licence   
  • Changing your personal details (i.e. name, address or telephone)   
  • Changing your email address   
  • Adding a new company Director or Partner 
  • Changes in your insurance details  
Please email eps.support@colchester.gov.uk  with details of the changes.

Please ensure you report these changes in the relevant time frames set out in the Policy

Page last reviewed: 9 April 2024