For those beginning out in the mini-cab market, we generally suggest that you rent a mini-cab before buying a mini-cab so that you get used to a new job and reduce the upfront expense of having a PCO license. Any car you use would need to be a registered private hire vehicle (PHV).
For a while then, you may continue to either use your car or purchase a new one, but from January 2012 onwards, new regulations were put in force that placed limits on the age of the vehicle which are as follows:
- Vehicles cannot be more than ten years from January 2012.
- From April 2012 onwards, all new cars must be no older than five years old.
- Both newly approved PHVs shall comply with the Euro 4 requirements as a minimum.
So be mindful of the above that if you are buying a vehicle that already has a PHV license, it would only have a reasonable amount of time left in it as a mini-cab when it comes to its 10th year, so a vehicle on the ’05 plate will only be licensed until 2015.
Apart from the mentioned conditions, PCO cars need to be efficient, regardless of the age. Generally, you need to go through a process to obtain the PCO license for your PCO car and claim there is no serious problem with your vehicle. Here is what you have got to do as the process:
- PHV registration
- PCO license
- PCO car
- MOT test
- TFL English language test
Whether you rent, buy a new or buy a used car to join a PHV operator, you need to obtain a PHV license. As a result, it makes sense to buy or rent a car which already maintains a PHV license. Therefore, you can quicken the process more effectively.
Note that many people, especially the recent members, may confuse the process and assume that as soon as they get the PHV license, they are eligible to join a rideshare app to work. The point is the PHV license is what is awarded to your car and doesn’t clarify your skills in driving. Then, you have to pass a few more steps, too.
So, from the car point of view, there are three ways to do it.
- Renting a PCO car (already have the PHV license)
- Buying a brand new car (need a registration for PHV but fully compatible TfL rules for private hire vehicles)
- Buy a used car already have the PHV license (which may soon goes beyond the private hire vehicle legislation about the car age)
Thus, buying a brand new car would give you the full 10 years of use as a private hire driver. You’re sure to rack up a decent amount of mileage so the selling price of a new car will drop significantly. Logically, all existing cars will be phased out and all PHVs will fall into the current age range of no more than five years of age.
It can be concluded that, if you can’t afford to buy a brand new car, renting would be the best choice. In the coming sections we will mention more about PCO cars.
What’s a license for the PCO?
PCO is the short form of Public Carriage Office, the Department of Transportation in London(TfL). The PCO license is an important document that helps you to drive Uber or some other London ride-share service. Important: PCO and PHV license are usually misunderstood. Although there is no difference in the meaning, nowadays PCO license refers to the drivers and PHV license refers to the vehicle. In general, both have the same goals and can be used instead of each other.
Who should apply for a PCO license?
Anyone who has a valid UK driver’s license with at least three years of driving experience and a right to work in the UK can apply for a PCO license. You may still need to register for other certificates, however, you will access them in a very short period.
What documents will you need to get your PCO car?
You will need to present the following initial documentation when you take your car in:
- Current PHV vehicle license
- V5c DVLA Car Registration Certificate.
- Hire and reward insurance records.
- MOT certificate issued within the last fourteen days.
- Vehicle alteration papers.
- Evidence of Car Levy
What can I use to drive as a PCO car?
To acquire a PHV license, the car must satisfy the following criteria:
- Euro 6 petrol or diesel engine or Euro 4 petrol-electric engine
- Four doors unlock independently
- Strong shape and no damage to the body
- No market ADVs
You wouldn’t need to be the driver of a vehicle you’re using to drive a PCO. As long as your PHV license is valid and you employ and reward insurance, you’re ready to go.
What’s the rental car for PCO?
Holding the car up to date with the parameters and the paperwork is a lot of admin work. It needs time and energy that you would like to spend on what you know best so that’s driving. PCO car rental is a solution that gives you the peace of mind that you and your car are still ready to work. Your car is part of a PCO fleet, with a whole team committed to keeping it up to date, meaning you can keep your focus on the road and your mind on progress.
The Pros & Cons of PCO Car Rental
Many people think the on-demand drivers have their own Uber vehicles and other ride-share applications. Although this is still possible, more drivers are hiring their private rental vehicles. Let’s see the pros and cons of hiring a PCO vehicle.
- Minimum Obligation – You can change your mind and give the car back in more desirable terms.
- All-inclusive – You’ve got a PHV card, insurance, plus much of the regular repairs so you can concentrate on driving.
- Driving the dream vehicle- You may always wanted to drive a special brand or model of a car but never could afford it. By hiring a PCO car, you can simply achieve this dream while working.
- You don’t own a vehicle – even though you can decide for rent to purchase and get the same incentives when making your weekly payments against possession.
- A small range of styles and colors for cars
- The age of the car can vary depending on the vendor
As part of your license, you need to have your car MOT (Ministry of Transport) checked every 6 months. The first MOT is equivalent once you get your PCO licensed car or even when your car is re-licensed. The MOT should not be older than fourteen days or will be rejected. What is going to be checked through a MOT test on your car include:
- Exhaust and emissions
- Seat belts
- Bonnet catch
- Number plate
- Tyres and wheels
- Fuel system
- Body and structure
- Battery & Wiring
TFL English Language Test
Is passing English test essential to get PCO license?
Yes, TFL requires evidence of your English Certification as of September 2020. Here’s a list of certificates that are accepted:
- UK GCSE/O level (or equivalent) credential – A to G grade
- UK AS-Level – A-Level Qualification
- UK NVQ/BTEC/City & Guilds certification – along with an assurance that the qualification is equal to or above GCSE
- UK BA Hons, BSc Hons or higher
- UK certification HNC/HND
- SELT Certificate issued by Trinity College London or IELTS demonstrating proficiency in reading, writing, communicating, and listening – B1 or higher
If you don’t know much English, you will fail the test and then, you can’t get the license. We highly recommend you to be prepared before taking the test, since this part can impressively affect your total PCO score.
FAQs about renewing the license based on car age
Once everything is OK with your vehicle, from the age to the efficiency, you can license your vehicle for 5 years and only MOT tests need to be considered.
Check the official website of TfL to find the closest center to get your car licensed. You can take the PCO test in the same center if it was mentioned in the list of their tasks.