You should not use a London minicab service unless you know they are a licensed driver or company. This applies to all private hire vehicles providing central London minicabs and even airport minicabs. For a driver to become licensed they must pass an application process, which involves a map reading and map plotting test. The whole process usually takes about 12 weeks.
After the application process a driver can work anywhere in London. Many choose to work for a central London minicab service or focus on providing airport transfers. The general licensing function is carried out by the PCO (Public Carriage Office) on behalf of Transport for London.
By law, private hire drivers must work for a licensed operator like TST Car Services or become an operator themselves. This does not only apply to minicabs but chauffeur services and limousines as well.
It’s important to know you are using a licensed minicab in London because they will have to hold a valid DVLA drivers license and abide by certain safety regulations. The application process to become a minicab driver involves the completion of a medical form which is stamped by a GP and a Criminal Record Bureau Disclosure Application. If the minicab driver is over 45 they must undergo a further medical examination. Once a driver is over 65 they must pass annual medical examinations.
As well as these forms identification is needed, such as, passport and driving license. All drivers providing mini cab services must be at least 21 years old and must have held a valid DVLA or EEA State drivers license for at least 3 years.
Next time you book a minicab service in London make sure you clearly see their license or check on the company’s site to see if they are a PCO registered business.