Minimum Licensing

Greater Manchester’s proposed taxi and private hire Minimum Licensing Standards are designed to make services safer and more customer-focused, with high environmental and accessibility standards.

They are intended to give peace of mind to every customer that the vehicle, driver and operator have been checked to a high standard.

The proposed Minimum Licensing Standards focus on four areas:


  • Common standards on criminal record checks
  • Medical examinations
  • Knowledge tests (including local area knowledge, licensing law and road safety)
  • English language proficiency
  • Driver training on safeguarding and disability and dementia awareness
  • Driving proficiency
  • Dress code


  • Vehicle emissions (diesel Euro 6 and above, petrol Euro 4 and above, with an ambition for a zero-emission capable fleet)
  • Vehicle age (under five years at first licensing, no older than 10 years)
  • Vehicle colour (black for taxi/hackney, white for private hire vehicles)
  • Vehicle livery (common Greater Manchester design with council logo incorporated)
  • Accessibility (all taxis to be wheelchair accessible)
  • Vehicle testing
  • CCTV
  • Specific standards for executive hire
  • Vehicle design and licensing requirements


  • Basic criminal record checks for all private hire operators and staff
  • More stringent requirements related to booking records
  • Operators taking more responsibility for driver and staff behaviour

Local authorities

  • Submission of licence applications up to eight weeks in advance of licence expiry
  • If approved, licence to be issued within five working days
  • Common enforcement approach and framework to which licensing fees are set
  • Training for councillors reviewing licence applications

We’re also proposing a step-by-step process to reducing harmful vehicle emissions, with the aim of
an entirely zero-emission-capable taxi and private hire fleet across Greater Manchester by 2029.

consultation documents

Minimum Licensing Standards consultation (now closed)

A public consultation on our proposals took place between Thursday 8 October and Thursday 3 December 2020.

The consultation feedback and evidence received is still being considered alongside new government guidance, before a set of final recommendations for each standard will be agreed.

Taxis and private hire services need to continue to play an important role in Greater Manchester’s plans for a fully joined-up and environmentally friendly transport system. We’ll continue to engage and work with the trade as we consider how and when to introduce the standards across the ten local authority areas.

Below are some documents from the consultation:

Next steps

A progress report on the Minimum Licensing Standards and outputs of the consultation was considered by leaders at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting on 25 June 2021. 

Leaders endorsed the approach proposed in the report that the standards will be implemented in two stages.

The first stage includes driver, operator and local authority standards, with a final recommendation report due in July. The second stage, which includes recommendations on vehicle standards that align with the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, is planned to be finalised by September. These reports will then be considered by the GMCA and ten local authorities.

Out-of-town private hire services

Current legislation means that some private hire drivers and vehicles which operate in Greater Manchester are licensed by councils from other areas in England and Wales.

This means we can’t guarantee a high standard of service from ‘out-of-town’ drivers.

We think our Minimum Licensing Standards proposals will help give customers the confidence that they are using a high-quality, safe and reliable service.

We’re working with partners from across the UK who share our concerns and asking government to consider changing the law.

We want the law to help us make sure that anyone who drives or operates a taxi or private hire vehicle in Greater Manchester meets high safety standards and is licensed in Greater Manchester.