Driver Requirements 

Any person driving a public service vehicle must be the holder of an appropriate licence. Most drivers who don't hold the appropriate licence also don't have insurance cover and this can, upon conviction, result in a
£5,000 fine and ,6-8 penalty points. The type of licence required depends on the number of passenger seats in the vehicle being hired.

Drivers of vehicles with 8 passenger seats or fewer are required to hold a valid taxi driver's licence. This
licence is only issued to drivers who have had their repute checked to ensure that they are a fit and proper person to hold a taxi driver's licence. This gives passengers some level of assurance that they will be
transported in relative safety.

The driver of a vehicle that is being used for weddings or funerals does not have to wear a taxi driver's badge. However, you can ask to see the driver's proof of licensing when booking the vehicle, or when it picks you up. A driver who is detected without the appropriate taxi driver's licence can, upon conviction, be
fined £1,000 and awarded 3-6 penalty points.

Drivers of vehicles with more than 8passenger seats are required to be licensed to drive a minibus or bus.
This means that their driving licence must show that they are licensed to drive the relevant category of vehicle.

You can ask to see the driver's proof of licensing. You should look for the 0 and 01 categories on the back of their driving licence. If dates are printed beside these categories, then the driver is licensed to drive a vehicle with more than 8 passenger seats. A driver who is detected without the appropriate category of licence can, upon conviction, be fined £1,000 and awarded 3-6 penalty points.

Additional Information

If you wish to find out more information on the use of public service vehicles, contact: Driver & Vehicle

Our Mission.

"To contribute to road safety, law enforcement and a cleaner environment by promoting compliance of
drivers, vehicles and transport operators through testing, licensing, enforcement and education."


This information is not designed as a statement of law but to offer guidance to the industry and the general
public on public service vehicles. It sets out some requirements and illustrates what people should ask to
see when booking or using these vehicles. It concentrates on some of the key issues you need to be aware of when hiring a vehicle for a special occasion.

Vehicle Requirements

Any vehicle used for the carriage of passengers for payment is deemed to be a public service vehicle. If the
vehicle is constructed to carry eight passengers or fewer in addition to the driver, it falls within the taxi classification. Vehicles with more than eight passenger seats are classified as buses. Limousines and other vehicles used for special occasions can be classified as either taxis or buses, depending on the number of passengers they can carry.  Whilst the majority of vehicles used to transport passengers for payment are genuine and comply with the legal requirements, some are illegal.

What to Look For

Irrespective of whether the vehicle you are proposing to hire is for a wedding or other special occasion, if it is hired with the services of a driver and you will be providing payment in some form, then there is a requirement for it to have the appropriate licence.

When booking or hiring a vehicle for a special occasion, request that the person you are hiring it from produces proof that the vehicle is properly licensed. Proof of I icensing confirms that the vehicle has been subject to an inspection to ensure that it is roadworthy, is suitable for carrying passengers for payment, and is properly insured.

Currently, only right hand drive vehicles can be licensed as taxis in Northern Ireland. This means that vehicles with the steering wheel on the left hand side of the vehicle when viewed from a forward facing seat are not able to operate legally. This regulation does not apply to buses.

In any case, the operator or driver should have no difficulty in providing proof if they have a licence for the vehicle. A person using a vehicle which isn't licensed to carry passengers for payment can be prosecuted
and, on conviction, may be fined £2,500. When the vehicle collects you, ensure that it displays valid licensing plates or licence disc.

Vehicles with 8 passenger seats or fewer:

Vehicles used only for weddings and funerals must have a taxi licensing plate displayed inside the vehicle where passengers can see it. The licensing plate will show details of the vehicle, registration mark, licence expiry date and plate number. Vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats: These larger vehicles must display a public service vehicle licence disc on the windscreen of the vehicle.

If you wish to complain about the vehicle you have hired, you should note the registration number and, if possible, the licence number and refer to it when you are making your complaint