Uber's Entrance into Aberdeen: What You Need to Know About Taxi and Private Hire Licensing

Uber's Entrance into Aberdeen: What You Need to Know About Taxi and Private Hire Licensing

Aberdeen City Council Licensing Committee granted Uber a booking office licence to operate in the city.

The hope of the public and businesses in the city is that Uber will bring further jobs to the city, increase private hire provision in Aberdeen, which will have the knock on effect of reducing the queues at taxi ranks at in the early hours at the weekend, which will in turn will encourage increased footfall in the city centre.

In terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, all taxi and private hire drivers require to be licensed. Also, all Local Authorities have a statutory duty to confirm that you are registered with HMRC and that you have the right to work in the UK under the Immigration Act 2016.

Both taxis and private hire cars can be pre-booked. The main difference between a taxi driver and a private hire driver’s licence is that a taxi can be ‘hailed’ in the street or from a recognised taxi stance; a private hire car can only pick up passengers who have pre-arranged a booking. Uber operates using private hire drivers, therefore they will only be allowed to pick up pre-booked hires and will not be able to pick up from the ranks in the city

In Aberdeen City, to apply for a taxi driver or private hire driver’s licence, you must first sit and pass the Council’s street knowledge test. This is a particular requirement of Aberdeen City and not all Councils require private hire drivers to sit a street knowledge test. The Street Knowledge Test cost for each application is £15 and this covers one test. There are no limitations on the number of tests you can sit.

The test aims to ensure that all taxi and private hire drivers have a knowledge of the city including the layout of its roads and the location of landmarks.

Furthermore any applicant has to be fit to drive to DVLA Group 2 medical standards and have held either a UK Driving Licence issued by DVLA or an equivalent EAA Driving Licence for a period of 12 consecutive months prior to the date their application is lodged.

There are three types of applications available:


If you do not currently hold a licence you can make a Grant application. This type of licence lasts for one year. You will be required to pass Aberdeen City Councils’ Street Knowledge Test. You will not be licensed to operate as a Taxi Driver or Private Hire Car Driver until the licence is granted.


You can apply for a temporary licence that lasts for a period of no more than 6 weeks (you will still be required to pass the street knowledge test). You will not be licensed to operate as a Taxi Driver or Private Hire Car Driver until the temporary licence is granted.

If you lodge a grant application for the relevant licence prior to the expiry of your temporary licence, you can continue to operate beyond the expiry of your temporary licence whilst the grant application is being considered.

If you currently hold a licence with this Council you can apply to renew the licence before it expires.


Your renewal application must be lodged no later than the expiry date of your current licence. You cannot submit your renewal application more than two months before the expiry of the licence. As long as your renewal is lodged before the expiry of your current licence you can continue to operate whilst the application is being considered.

Driving licence

A copy of your current Driving Licence (front & back) issued by DVLA must accompany the application.

Copy of current driving licence record held by DVLA

When lodging your application you will need to provide a copy of your current electronic Driving Licence Summary record held by DVLA.

This service allows you to share your Driving Licence information by creating a one-page summary of your record which details the following information:

  • your details
  • vehicles you can drive
  • penalties and disqualifications

The single-page summary of your driving licence record must be produced no more than five days prior to the date your application is lodged with the licensing department.

There are standard conditions attached to all Taxi Drivers and Private Hire Car Drivers Licences. A copy of these conditions is provided with the licence. As a licensed driver you will be expected to comply with every condition. Failure to do so may result in the Council suspending your licence.

For further advice or assistance on taxi licensing, please contact;

Karen Gatherum
Senior Solicitor
Email:  kgatherum@gilsongray.co.uk


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