A PCO licence, also known as a Private Hire Driver licence, is a legal requirement for individuals who want to work as private hire driver in the UK. It is issued by the Public Carriage Office (PCO), a department of Transport for London (TfL).

The licence ensures that drivers meet specific standards and regulations to provide safe and reliable transportation services. Obtaining a PCO licence involves meeting certain criteria, including background checks, medical assessments, and passing a knowledge test. It is essential for anyone aspiring to work as a private hire driver in 2024 and beyond.

What is A PCO?

Sometimes people land here with the search term “PCO”, but their search intent is maybe a different purpose.

PCO mean is Public Carriage Office. It is part of the TfL department but is now called Taxi and Private Hire – TPH.

What Is A PCO Licence?

What is PCO and PCO Licence?

PCO Licence is issued by Transport for London (TfL) to work as a Taxi, Private Hire Driver, Minicab Driver or chauffeur under Licensed Private Hire Operator.

It is a legal and regulatory requirement to obtain PCO Licence before conducting any private hire work. Private Hire Drivers must complete any private hire bookings, work, or passenger transports under a Licensed private hire operator only.

You can check the Licence status of any Drivers, Vehicles and Operators by visiting TfL’s dedicated webpage.

Why is Everyone saying PCO Licence?

Everyone refers to it as “PCO” and “PCO Licence” because the acronym has been used in the industry for a long time.

Everyone knows the PCO – acronym and associated terms within the Private Hire Industry. The Public Carriage Office (PCO) Department moved under Transport for London (TfL) in 1999 – 2000. PCO (Public Carriage Office) was part of the Metropolitan Police Service. It was responsible for licensing and regulating London’s taxi and private hire industries.

The move to TfL was part of a wider effort to improve and modernise London’s transportation system. By bringing the PCO (Public Carriage Office) under TfL’s umbrella, there was a more significant opportunity for coordination and integration between taxi and private hire services and other modes of transportation, such as buses and trains.

Today, the PCO (Public Carriage Office), known as the Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) Department, is responsible for licensing and regulating the iconic Black Cabs and the many Private Hire Vehicles operating in London.

The TPH department works closely with TfL to ensure that these industries operate safely, reasonably, and efficiently and to meet the needs of passengers and drivers alike.

Apply for a private hire driver’s licence in 2024

To apply for a private hire driver (PCO Driver Licence), you can get clear, detailed information and guidance from the TfL website. TfL has a dedicated page for new and existing drivers under the “Apply for a private hire driver’s licence” section.  

Remember, the private hire driver’s licence criteria and requirements may change. So, you always get guidance from the authorised TfL website to complete your application process. 

To apply for a PCO license, you need to meet the following criteria:

At least 21 years of age is required.
A DVLA, Northern Ireland or EEA driving licence must have been in your possession for at least three years before your application.
You must adhere to the necessary medical criteria, which your doctor’s visit will certify.
You must possess good moral character and be able to pass a DBS (Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service) criminal background check.
You must possess the requisite navigational and map-reading abilities.
To appropriately interact with your passengers, you must be able to read, write, and speak English. This is now connected under English Language Requirement and SERU Assessment. Applicants must pass both tests to show they can communicate at a level adequate for the position. Complete English Language and SERU exam guidance is available on the TfL website. 

What is the mandatory English Language Requirement for PCO / PHV Drivers?

New PCO licence or renew your existing licence; you must have a B1 English ELR to demonstrate that you have the mandatory English language proficiency requirement.

👉 Click here to check the English Language Requirements and Guide

Alternatively, you can prove your English language ability by submitting an authorised degree or equivalent English language testing certificate such as IELTS to TfL TPH Licensing. 

Once you submit the certificate, TfL will confirm via email whether your certificate is eligible or not. Also, they will inform appropriate guides to take your exam.

How to Practice and Learn B1 English (ELR)?

There are a lot of websites and professionals that offer B1 English Courses.

We found that Learn More Academy has good reviews. Based on our research and consideration, Learn More Academy provides many courses, including “B1 English ELR and SERU for TFL PCO Licence” Course. They have pretty good reviews on Yell.com too. See below the Yell.com reviews. Also, they have a wide range of course centre locations. This will help PCO Drivers to select based on their convenient location to complete the course.

Learn More Academy for PCO Licence Training

They have pretty good reviews on Yell.com too. See below the Yell.com reviews.

Learn More Academy Review

Disclaimer: We are not a part of and/or any commission affiliates to Learn More Academy. We publish this article for educational and opinion purposes only. Please do your own research before conducting any financial decisions.

How to Practice SERU Exam?

Again, SERU is a mandatory exam to obtain your PCO / PHD Licence. Many websites currently offer SERU guides and exam preparation for Private Hire Drivers. Our research found that tfl-serutrainingonline.co.uk provides Q & A (Question and Answer based) courses and Free mock tests. All Q & A Based on Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Handbook.

👉 Click here to check SERU Assessment and Exam Guide

TfL SERU Training Online and Free MOCK Test

Disclaimer: We are not a part of and/or any commission affiliates to tfl-serutrainingonline.co.uk. We publish this article for educational and opinion purposes only. Please do your own research before conducting any financial decisions.


In conclusion, a PCO (Public Carriage Office) Licence is a legal requirement for taxi and private hire drivers in London. It is issued by Transport for London (TfL) and ensures safety and regulatory compliance. Collaboration between the PCO and TfL has improved transportation integration. Applicants must meet age, driving experience, medical fitness, and language proficiency criteria. The PCO and TfL work together to enhance London’s transportation system by upholding these standards. Click here to read more about PCO Insurance Cost and check Best Electric Car for Taxi UK.

👉 How much dose it cost to hire a Minibus UK in 2024?


What is PCO acronyms Stands For?

PCO = Public Carriage Office: This is a governmental body responsible for licensing taxi and private hire vehicles (like those used by Uber drivers). The specific PCO you deal with would depend on your city/region.

A PCO licence is a licence that allows you to operate as a private hire driver in the UK. It is issued by TfL in London. Outside London it will be issued by the local authority in the area where you will be operating.

What are the requirements for a PCO licence?

• Being at least 21 years old
• Having a full UK driving licence for at least three years
• Passing a medical examination (DVLA Group 2 Standards)
• Passing a criminal record check (DBS Check)
• Passing a topographical assessment
• Pass English language test
• Passing a safety and equality awareness assessment (SERU)
More information and application guide visit TfL website for Private Hire Licence guide and application.

How long is a PCO licence valid for?

A PCO licence is valid for three years. You must renew your licence before it expires.

How much does it cost to apply for a PCO licence?

The cost of applying for a PCO licence varies depending on the local authority. But in London total cost around between £550 – £700.

What are the benefits of having a PCO licence?

• The ability to work as a private hire driver
• The ability to earn a living
• The flexibility to work your own hours
• The opportunity to meet new people

What are the challenges of having a PCO licence?

There are a few challenges to having a PCO licence, including:
• The cost of the licence and the ongoing fees
• The need to meet the requirements for the licence
• The competition from other private hire drivers
• The long hours and the physical demands of the job
• New Vehicle regulatory requirement and affordability
• Increased running costs

Similar Posts