What Is Green Laning?

If you drive a 4×4 vehicle, you will be behind the wheel of a vehicle that is large and able to drive on tough terrain. Off-roading is a popular pastime for 4×4 owners, giving them the opportunity to escape the tarmac and put their vehicle to the test on unpaved and uneven roads, putting the normally chunkier tyres to good use.

There are many types of recreational off-road driving on various terrain, including dune bashing on dunes, mud-plugging through very wet areas and rock crawling over mountainous areas. For those who like to enjoy the countryside at a leisurely pace and from a different perspective, green laning is a popular pastime for off-road enthusiasts.

So What Can I Drive On?

A ‘green lane’ is defined as a road that is rural and unpaved, usually including country lanes and those which run through fields.

There are four classifications of public road according to English law:

  • Footpath – these have pedestrian-only access and are commonly used by ramblers
  • Bridleway – these paths were traditionally used by those on horses, but pedestrians and cyclists also make use of them
  • Byway Open To All Traffic (BOAT) – these unsurfaced roads are open to being used by all kinds of traffic; including both pedestrians and horse riders, but also by vehicles such as trail motorcycles and 4x4s
  • Restricted byway (RB) – these offer the same access to pedestrians and horse riders, as well as any vehicle other than a car or motorbike – including bicycles or horse-drawn carriages

What Is Green Laning?

Green laning is a form of recreational off-roading, usually undertaken by those with 4x4s. Many of the roads travelled on by off-roaders will be those off the beaten track, but not the most beaten of tracks.

Green lanes and byways can be found all around the UK and can be a good way of exploring national parks and hidden roads around the country. Different places such as national parks will have a Code of Conduct for drivers within their boundaries to protect fellow path users and drivers.

Code Of Conduct

It pays to take care when driving on unfamiliar and uneven roads even if your wheels are chunky enough to handle the terrain. If you remember a few things as you go, you can help protect yourself and other road users while you’re exploring:

  • Respect fellow road users – be sure to drive carefully and to give way to other users, such as horse riders, cyclists, and walkers, slowing down or stopping to let them pass where necessary to give way.
  • Keep to the track – ensure that the road you’re driving on can actually be driven on, it can also be important to report hazards that you spot along the way to the park authorities – including fallen trees and very soft grounds.
  • Travel quietly and unobtrusively – be considerate not only to other road users but also to all nearby residents en-route.
  • Ensure your vehicle is road-legal – while green roads are seen as off-road, the rules of the road still apply. It is important that you ensure that your vehicle is safe to travel on such roads and that you have 4×4 insurance in place to protect your vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • Use only vehicular rights of way – not all green roads will have vehicular access, so it’s important to check before you travel to ensure you won’t be breaking the law.
  • Don’t use the trails after dark – even if you are familiar with the route already, night time can bring additional hazards.
  • Respect the local wildlife – be wary that some areas may have high concentrations of wildlife, especially deer, so it's best to drive very carefully to avoid spooking the animals and potentially causing damage to your vehicle.

Aside from the guidelines set out by each national park or local authority, there are also a few ‘common sense’ factors you should ensure you follow when green laning, these are known as the ‘Four W’s’.

The Four W’s

These are essential to bear in mind when green laning:

  • Weight – ensure that the road you wish to travel on will not get damaged or loosened by the weight of your vehicle.
  • Width – don’t attempt to travel down any road which your vehicle will not fit down. And if navigating narrower roads, ensure that you don’t cause damage to hedgerows, trees, and walls outside properties.
  • Winch – while many 4x4s will have a winch at the front, these should only be used as an absolute last resort. You should never place your vehicle in a situation where a winch may be required.
  • Weather – the weather can change the landscape very quickly, especially when it comes to flooding and damage during the winter months, so pick your moments carefully and try not to green lane after periods of heavy rainfall.

Green laning can be a great way of exploring the hidden paths around the UK and the vast expanses of national parks. By ensuring that your vehicle is adequately equipped to deal with the terrain, keep to the rules of the various roads so you can ensure that you get the best from your experience.

Training To Become A Driving Instructor

We all remember a time when we had to learn to drive, whether just before leaving school or in later life, and we needed somebody to teach us both the rules of the road and how to learn our vehicles.

Driving instructors provide the platform on which to learn how to drive a car, and there is no shortage of driving schools and self-employed driving instructors out there, so new drivers can be spoilt for choice in places.

But what about if you want to become an instructor? Maybe you fancy a career change and want to pass on your driving experience to the next generation of new drivers, or diverse into specialist areas such as advanced driving techniques or driving specific vehicles such as HGVs.

Where Do I Start?

Firstly, you’ll need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to become what is known as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), you must meet the following criteria to be successful:

  • Be over 21 years of age
  • Have held a driving licence for three years or more
  • Pass a criminal background check and motoring conviction check

After you’ve successfully received your approval to begin training as a driving instructor, there are then three Approved Driving Instructor tests to complete. In total, the process of training to become a driving instructor takes about six to nine months to complete, depending on your progress through the courses.

ADI Test: Part 1

The first part of your journey to becoming a driving instructor will cost around £81 which lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes and can be repeated should you fail.

Part 1 of the test is a theory test, much like when you first learned to drive and involves multiple choice questions based on the Highway Code.

There is also a computer-based hazard perception test to complete, and upon successfully passing the test you can then move onto Part 2.

ADI Test: Part 2

The second part of the test will cost you around £111 and tests several aspects which are crucial to your ability to drive a vehicle. You must also take this next part within two years of passing the ADI Part 1 test.

You’ll have to take and successfully pass an eye test to begin with as well as be tested on your ability to drive the vehicle. This will involve testing your ability to perform certain manoeuvres, including those that you’ll be teaching your students – such as emergency stops and reversing around corners.

Once you have passed Part 2 of the process, you can then apply for a trainee driving instructor licence which is valid for six months and will allow you to begin the process of teaching people how to drive. This costs £140 and comes with two criteria:

  • You must have passed the ADI Part 2 test
  • You must have accumulated at least 40 hours of training with a qualified ADI instructor

There are driving schools up and down the country that offer courses for driving instructors, allowing you the chance to accumulate the hours required to take Part 3, but you can take more if you like to make sure you’re completely comfortable in your driving before taking the plunge into teaching.

ADI Test: Part 3

The third part of the test must also be taken within two years of passing your ADI Part 1 exam – this will test your abilities not as a driver, but as a tutor.

Part 3 will test how you approach teaching someone to drive, testing your techniques and characteristics through the use of role play and reactions to specific situations. These can vary depending on your driving school, but don’t be surprised if you’re tested on how to deal with certain types of students – including those who are nervous.

Once you’ve completed all three ADI tests, you can then apply for an Approved Driving Instructor badge and join the ADI register.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

Applying For An ADI Badge

ADI badges cost around £300 and are available from the DVSA online where you will be issued with a username and password and have to apply to join the Approved Driving Instructor register before you start teaching. ADI badges must also be renewed every four years and you must display the badge in your vehicle.

Where To Now?

Once you’ve gotten all your documentation the world is your oyster, now it’s just a case of deciding which direction you want to take yourself.

Driving schools can be a good start for both learning to drive, and learning to teach, so it can be worth looking into vacancies in your local area once you’ve completed all your tests and become a fully qualified driving instructor.

Setting Up As A Sole Trader

If you’re looking to set up on your own, you then need to think about drawing up a business plan, making modifications to your vehicle, sorting out driving instructors, insurance, advertising, and so on to get your business going.

Driving schools can offer you advise on setting up on your own, as well as allowing you to join a fleet to build up your experience. It can be worth garnering some advice from these before you set out on your own.

Training To Become A Coach Driver

All of us, at one point in our lives, have travelled by coach. Whether it’s been on the way to a school trip, a holiday abroad, as a sports team going on tour, or even travelling from the end of the country to another for just £1.

But what about if you want to train to be behind the wheel of one of these behemoths of the road? If you have some previous driving experience and enjoy working with people, then becoming a coach driver could be for you.

So what training do you need in order to become a coach driver?

How Can I Become A Coach Driver?

In order to be a coach driver you must have the following to begin training:

  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • You must hold a full UK driving licence that allows you to drive a car
  • You must have gotten a D2 form and D4 form from your GP or private medical firm;

A D4 is a medical form that helps to prove you are in good health – including your eyesight – and you must be shown to be in good health before you can begin training.

Order your D2 and D4 forms here.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

What Licences Do I Need?

In order to qualify as a bus or coach driver, you need to complete training for both a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence and also a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) certificate.

A PCV licence takes around four to six weeks to complete and will involve both a theory and practical test, much like a driving test on a car.

Coaching The Coach Drivers

The process of training to become a bus or coach driver is made up of four tests, all of which contribute towards your CPC certificate. The test sections are as follows:

  • Part 1: Theory

Much like you did when you passed your driving test for your car, this section is made up of both a theory test and a hazard perception test.

The theory test is made up of 100 questions, while the hazard perception test has 19 videos you’ll have to watch. In both tests, the pass mark is quite high (85 out of 100 for theory and 67 out of 100 for hazard perception).

Should you fail the test first time, you can book another test but you’ll have a three-day grace period first before you can sit the test again. Once you’ve passed this section, you can then move onto section two, which makes use of case studies to test you.

  • Part 2: Case Studies

This section tests your ability to react to certain situations and makes use of case studies in order to test you.

There are 7 case studies in all, and all are based on situations that you’re likely to encounter in your work as a coach driver. All questions will have a multi-choice question at the end, and the pass rate is around 40 correct out of 50 questions.

Upon passing the test, you’ll receive a pass letter which then gives you up to two years to take and pass Part 4 – you can’t apply for part 4 without this number so keep it safe.

  • Part 3: Driving Ability

Part 3 is when you will actually start driving, and you’ll need to have passed Part 1 before even starting this section. In order to complete the test, you must ensure that you have access to a coach or lorry that meets the test standards.

This can be provided by an employer or by yourself, in either case, you must ensure that the vehicle is covered by a coach insurance policy before you begin.

Part 3 of the CPC certificate will test you on the following:

  • Vehicle safety questions
  • Practical driving
  • Off-road exercises

You’ll be asked various questions about the vehicle and how to ensure you keep the vehicle and its passengers safe.

For the practical side of things, your examiner will be checking for many aspects of your driving ability, and will be checking your abilities to do the following:

  • Using the controls of the vehicle
  • Control and maintain the speed of your vehicle
  • Making use of the mirrors in order to check for traffic and for safe manoeuvring
  • Perform a controlled stop in the event of an emergency
  • Finding safe places to stop
  • Awareness of the actions of other road users
  • Moving away from angles, including while uphill and downhill
  • Use the appropriate signals when performing manoeuvres
  • Dealing with hazards

Off-road exercises will include hitching a trailer, as well as performing a reversing manoeuvre into a bay.

There will also be a ten-minute period of independent driving, where your examiner will remain silent and see how you react to situations on your own.

Upon passing Part 3, there’s one final part you must pass in order to obtain a CPC licence:

  • Part 4: Practical Demonstration

This section is made up of four sections and will focus on vehicular safety, the correct procedure to load the vehicle, assessing situations during an emergency, as well as techniques to identify and stop human trafficking.

Once You’ve Passed

After passing all four sections, you will then be sent your CPC card which you will need to produce in order to secure a job as a coach or bus driver.

You may also need some additional training on traffic signs in Europe. If you work for a company which takes coaches abroad, your employer should provide this where needed. Also, in order to keep their skills fresh and to prove to the DVLA of their abilities, coach drivers must take a minimum of 35 hours of CPC training every five years, or renew their licence if they're over 45.

Driving A Motorhome Abroad

For many motorhome owners, the lure of the roads and caravan parks in European destinations lead them to make great journeys in their vehicles to settle and enjoy some sunshine on the continent, enjoying the road trip along the way.

However, before you set off on your journey, there are a few things you must check first. Take the time to check your vehicle, your documents and yourself before you set off in order, this will not only save you hassle along the way but ensure you’ve everything you need in case of an emergency.

Watch Your Weight

When packing up your motorhome in preparation for a journey, check your licence before you travel, for the time you passed your driving test can make a big difference in what you are entitled to drive:

  • If you passed your test since the 1st January 1997 then you’ll be able to drive a vehicle of up to 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) – as well as an additional 750kg in a trailer if required. If you want to tow larger and heavier vehicles you’ll have to apply for, and pass, a driving test in order to be able to add a C1 category to your licence.
  • If you passed your test before 1st January 1997 you’ll automatically have a C1 classification on your licence, which entitles you to drive motorhomes up to 7,500kg (7.5 tonnes) which would cover larger motorhomes and some smaller RVs.

When loading your motorhome in preparation for a journey, bear in mind the weight of the vehicle itself and the equipment on board as well as your luggage. If you overload your vehicle you risk not only a more uneven load but also put yourself at risk of potentially being stopped by the authorities.

What Documents Do I Need?

Depending on where you’re travelling to, making sure you have all the right and relevant documentation before you set off, is important. Some countries will require some documents from others, while some might have different legal requirements on the road.

Here’s a quick rundown on what you will need before you set off:

  • Passport – check with any countries you are travelling through in case an additional visa is required.
  • Driving licence – ensure that your driving licence is up-to-date and that you have the correct classification to drive your motorhome before embarking on your journey.
  • Details on your vehicle – including your V5C logbook, MOT certificates and motorhome insurance documentation.
  • Travel insurance details – including an additional European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to healthcare while within the EU.
  • International Driving Permit – if you intend to continue your journey past Europe you’ll need an International Drivers’ Permit that is recognised by your destination country.
  • Tax disc – in some countries it is a legal requirement to display a tax disc, but in the UK the system for issuing tax discs has recently changed to a purely digital format. Ensure that you take proof of documentation of road tax just in case you need to provide proof.
  • European breakdown cover – it is essential to take out some breakdown cover when you travel abroad, this will help ensure that should you find yourself in difficulty abroad – you can get towed to a nearby garage for repairs to take place – helping you get back on the road as quickly as possible.
  • Camping Key Europe – this useful little card can provide you with discounts on pitches at campsites around Europe, even at high season, and provides a little extra security in the form of some basic-level third party insurance.

What Should I Have On Board?

Before setting off, you must also ensure that you have few essential things on board and on the show, including:

  • GB sticker – required by law for travel in Europe, check your numberplate carries a blue GB graphic on the left-hand side if it doesn’t you’ll be required to display a GB sticker on the back of your motorhome
  • Warning triangles – ensure you carry two, as some countries have a legal requirement that you must carry two, especially if you’re also towing.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Spare Bulb Kit
  • Spare fuses
  • Spare wheel
  • High-visibility vests – vital in case you break down
  • Breathalyser – required by law in France, you can usually buy these on the ferry or train before you reach your destination

Useful Extras

Aside from important documentation, it can be worth carrying a few extra essentials in your motorhome during your trip:

  • Currency for each country you intend to travel through – most will use the Euro, but take a small amount of each currency from the countries you’ll be passing through on your journey, this will ensure that you have a means to pay for small purchases such as food and petrol along the way.
  • European adaptors for plugs – take a few for within the motorhome and some external ones should you need to make use of a power supply on site, to charge a phone for example.
  • Phrasebooks for each country you are visiting.
  • Sat nav – having a sat nav with European maps on board can help you to reach your destination accurately.
  • Maps of each of the countries you are visiting – for if you’ve not got a sat nav or if you just prefer the traditional route.
  • Address book with emergency contact numbers in – including family, helplines for insurance and breakdown, as well as numbers for UK embassies in each country you are visiting.

Be sure to check your mobile phone before you travel, see if you’ve got a European roaming plan or can purchase roaming data in blocks for the duration of your journey.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready En Route

Before you travel, ensure you’ve done a full check of your motorhome, checking that your equipment is working, your gas cylinders are safe, and your wheels are inflated to the correct legal limit.

Ensure that you also get your lights right, you must fit beam deflectors in order to avoid dazzling other drivers when night driving. These can be purchased at garages and car accessory superstores, and it’s worth picking up a pair before you reach the ferry as you’ll find them more expensive en-route. Don’t forget that you can fit them on the ferry crossing, so leave yourself plenty of time to take care of this.

Watch Your Speed

When travelling on roads in Europe in a motorhome, be wary of the speed limits of each country, and remember that the rules on overtaking still apply even in Europe, so keep your vehicle to within the first two lanes of a highway or autobahn.

Take time to check your vehicle, the rules of the countries you are travelling through and to, and checking that you have everything you need without overloading your motorhome so you can make sure that your holiday goes without a hitch.

Training To Become A Chauffeur

Chauffeurs are usually associated with arranged night outs and bussing celebrities to and from events.

Becoming a chauffeur can be a career change for some who have been driving throughout their career, such as taxi drivers in which the hours can vary depending on the work involved. If you work for an individual, your shift will depend on your employers’ schedule; whereas if you work for a private hire limousine company, your working pattern will be determined by how many bookings you get.

READ: How Can You Become A Taxi Driver?

If you’re thinking of a career change and think becoming a chauffeur may be for you, there are a few things you need to ask yourself:

What Does A Chauffeurs’ Work Involve?

Chauffeurs are employed by individuals and companies to ensure that their clients get from A to B safely and in time, all the while maintaining an air of professionalism – both for themselves and their vehicles –  excellent time-keeping and smart dress.

Other than driving, tasks for a chauffeur will include unloading luggage, aiding clients with getting in and out of their vehicle, making sure the vehicle itself is clean and well maintained, and providing information about the journey itself, as well as waiting for long periods of time before taking their client or employer home again.

What Kind Of Clients Do I Get?

Chauffeurs can be privately employed by individuals or households, or for private hire companies that will rent out vehicles on a nightly basis.

Tasks for the day can include anything from bussing clients or family members to various events during the day – including school runs, picking up from workplaces and social events – as well as ensuring that the vehicle itself is pristinely clean both inside and out.

What Kind Of Vehicles Could I Drive?

Depending on the employer, chauffeurs can drive a range of vehicles; from limousines to prestige cars such as a Rolls Royce and even more unusual vehicles such a horse-drawn carriages.

Do I Need A Special Driving License?

Whilst you don’t need to make any changes to the type of driving licence you have, you will need to change the way you drive in order to become a chauffeur, and taking a course is essential if you want to train as a chauffeur.

What Training Do You Need?

Chauffeurs have to undergo rigorous training in various aspects to do with their work:

  • Advanced and defensive driving methods
  • Car etiquette and professionalism
  • Attitude and mindset and ability to react to certain situations
  • Time management
  • Car maintenance
  • First Aid

Not only must you be knowledgeable of your client but also the vehicle in which you will be driving, so car maintenance will be included in your training, which can involve changing tires and basic maintenance to keep the vehicle moving should you break down.

Advanced driving techniques will also be taught during these courses, including techniques such as:

  • Evasive and defensive driving techniques

These are designed to test your driving ability in reaction to certain situations and conditions, including :

  • Reacting to and driving safely with a burst tire
  • Driving in inclement weather conditions, including stormy and severe weather
  • Having to react to other external factors which may lead to sudden braking, including outside of events
  • Driving in a convoy

Depending on the client, driving in a convoy might be necessary for the journey, and you will be given training in aspects such as:

  • Two-way radio use
  • Keeping in line during a convoy
  • What to do if the convoy is broken and rejoining a convoy as a result
  • Protocols on picking up from various locations

This helps to train you for picking up from a variety of locations, including airports, events and outside schools and hotels, as well as the etiquette requirements.

Trainee chauffeurs will also have to train in a short course of first aid which is usually included in the price of your course and helps to prepare you for dealing with clients in the event of accidents and the correct procedures for reporting incidents.

Where Can I Train?

A good place to start if you’re thinking of training to become a chauffeur is a course from RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), which could help you to get started initially. The course can be taken either at a central location or through your current employer.

When it comes to practical practice there are a number of companies who offer training for chauffeurs. These are usually in the form of a course, normally with modules in vehicle safety, personal etiquette and protocols for pickup at various locations including airports and events.

Remember as well that training to be a chauffeur is not cheap, courses can range from £1000 and can take up to two weeks to complete.

There will also be an element of role-playing involved during your training, usually setting up some situations whereby the safety of yourself or your client may be compromised, you will be trained as to how to react to certain potentially confrontational situations in a safe and effective manner.

Can Anyone Become A Chauffeur?

You must initially have driving experience before even thinking of becoming a chauffeur, having a clean driving record can help you to succeed as employers will be looking for safety as well as professionalism.

Chauffeurs are usually associated with older drivers who may be very accomplished drivers from many years behind the wheel and are just looking for new opportunities to further their careers and do something a little different. Younger drivers can apply to be chauffeurs but might find it a little more difficult to get the relevant chauffeur insurance due to their lack of experience.

Understanding Ride-Sharing Apps

Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have provided us with the opportunity to make a little extra money in our spare time. But should we be wary of using our own cars as taxis and how will it affect our existing insurance policies?

Uber allows users to hail a taxi using a click of their thumb, any drivers local to them are alerted to their journey request and the user can see the details of their driver before they arrive.

How do I get paid?

Customers pay their fares using the app at the end of the trip, the app client who then pay the driver on a weekly basis, and how much money you earn depends on how hard you’ve worked.

The flexibility afforded by such apps is tempting to those who want to earn a bit of extra cash in their spare time, but what effect can it have on your existing vehicle insurance?

Can I begin driving immediately for a ride-share app?

Before you even begin as a driver you must have the relevant paperwork in place, including Private Hire licences issued by local councils to taxi drivers and specialist taxi insurance, which you’ll need to get on top of your existing car insurance policy in order to cover yourself.

UPDATE: As per Gov.uk's announcement, you no longer need to apply through your local council and pass a DVSA taxi assessment to be eligible to drive a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). You may visit this website to see how you can apply for a driver's licence for taxis and PHVs.

Do I need any additional insurance?

Your personal car insurance policy will not cover you against commercial use, so having additional taxi insurance is essential if you want to make use of such schemes.

Uber and others do not offer insurance as part of the service but do conduct background checks on potential drivers, and will look at aspects such as driving convictions when selecting if you’re suitable.

Having a public liability insurance policy helps to cover you against claims made by passengers who may get injured or lose possessions whilst in your car. Because of the unpredictability of your passengers and situations, having said insurance in place can help protect you as you’re doing your rounds.

Can I use my current car for such a scheme?

Uber and others will usually have criteria as to what vehicles can be used as taxis, with minimum requirements for each level of service, including vehicle age and size

For example, some can be used but must be at least a saloon model, while some may be classified as higher-type vehicles and therefore qualify for a different class of pay.

Say you have an 8-seater MPV and are able to transport more passengers as a result, if you wanted to use it for a service like Uber it would fall under a different category due to the size of the vehicle, which may lead to a higher rate of pay but could also incur extra costs.

You can usually find a list of suitable cars on the company’s website, so it can be worth double-checking if yours if eligible before starting out.

How much is it going to cost me?

Tariffs are worked out according to the length of a journey, with factors such as traffic and any subsequent delays adding to the estimate as you go as these are determined using speed, time and distance.

When the customer pays the app you’re then paid a percentage using a weekly payment, so the more pickups the more you’ll take home.

Bearing in mind you’ll have other costs, such as petrol to keep it running, maintenance costs as a result of an increased use and the additional insurance you’ll require on top of what you already pay.

Is it for me in the long-term?

For some, it’s a useful little extra earner, but it doesn’t suit everyone so research is key when deciding if it’ll work for you, be sure to weigh up all the costs before committing.

Also, keep in mind that all those extra miles you’re putting onto the vehicle, as a result, could add to the cost of your car insurance in future, particularly as it would have increased the distance of travel per year.

If you’re thinking of embarking on ride-sharing as an additional job it can be worth researching into taxi insurance to see how much it’s going to potentially cost you.

How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

We’ve all had to make use of a taxi at some point, whether to take us home from the pub, from the supermarket, or even to the hospital in times of need.

And of course, we’re familiar with the black Hackney cabs driven by cabbies in London, who hone their skills over many years to be able to get you from one side of the city to the other as quickly as possible (and maybe even throw in some local knowledge while they’re at it).

But how does one become a taxi driver? Maybe you’re thinking of a career change and like the idea of using your car as a private hire vehicle, or quite fancy driving one of those iconic Hackney cabs?

Starting Off

UPDATE: As per Gov.uk's announcement, you no longer need to apply through your local council and pass a DVSA taxi assessment to be eligible to drive a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). You may visit this website to see how you can apply for a driver's licence for taxis and PHVs.

Councils will differ in their criteria, but the universal requirements for obtaining a taxi licence are that you’ll need the following:

  • Be a UK citizen
  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • A full and valid driving licence that you’ve held for at least 12 months
  • A medical certificate confirming that you are in good health (Group II Medical form)
  • You must have passed a criminal records background check (DBS check)
  • Pass a driving skills assessment test (see below)
  • In some cases; you’ll have to pass a geographical driving test, especially in the area you wish to operate

Once your application has been accepted, you’ll need to pass a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test to qualify for a taxi licence.

What Does The Assessment Involve?

Much like a normal driving test for your car, a taxi assessment will first test your eyesight, and you’ll be required to read a licence plate from a distance of 20 metres, and if you require glasses, you must wear them during the test.

You will then move onto a practical assessment, which will involve certain manoeuvres, including:

  • Identifying traffic and road signs and answering questions from the Highway Code
  • 10 minutes of solo driving without being given instructions by the examiner
  • Performing a manoeuvre to turn your vehicle to face in the opposite direction
  • Stop at the side of the road as if picking up a passenger
  • What to do if a passenger leaves property in your vehicle after being dropped off
  • Perform an emergency stop

Upon passing the assessment, you’ll then receive a pass certificate (TPH10 form) as well as a copy of your assessment and some notes from your examiner, both of which you’ll need for the next step in your application.

What’s The Next Step?

Depending on which council you wish to drive for, each will have its own set of criteria for taxi drivers, and many will require you to pass a ‘knowledge test’, which essentially tests your knowledge of the local area.

Once you’ve passed all the relevant tests required, your council will then issue (for a fee) a taxi licence; these are issued on a year-long basis, you can then begin the process of deciding what sort of environment you want to work in.

Sole Trader Or Fleet Driver?

When you first start out as a driver, it can be worth finding a local taxi company to start work with to gain some experience. Being part of a fleet means you get orders distributed to you as they are rung into the main office.

Ridesharing allows you to operate as a solo driver, through use of an app such as Uber, so you can take fares on the go and dictate your own workload. However, you’ll need to arrange for a special type of taxi insurance on your own vehicle on top of your car insurance policy.

Whether you choose to be your own boss or work as part of a taxi company, ensuring you’re qualified for the job is essential to keep you, your passengers and your employer safe.