DO I NEED AN OPERATOR'S LICENCE?

What is an Operators Licence?

Does my business need one?

Operator Licences overview

The Operator Licensing system is complex and there are many exemptions that may or may not apply to you. The reality is that you should always get specialist advice or you could find yourself applying for a licence that you do not need, or worse – facing a conviction for operating without a licence!

 

The general rule is:

If your business uses large goods vehicles (LGVs), you’ll need a goods vehicle operator licence

If your business operates passenger-carrying vehicles (PCVs) for which passengers pay, you’ll need a public service vehicle (PSV) operator licence. If your business requires the use of a combination of Goods and Public Service vehicles, then multiple licences will have to be acquired.

 

Goods Vehicle Operators Licence

You need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your business uses goods vehicles (lorry, van or truck) above a certain weight:

  • a gross plated weight (the maximum weight that the vehicle can have at any one time) of over 3,500 kilograms (kg)

 

Motor vehicles and trailers

You’ll need a goods vehicle operator’s licence for a motor vehicle and trailer combination if:

  • the motor vehicle and the trailer(s) are plated and the total of their gross plated weights is more than 3,500 kg

  • the total unladen weight of the vehicle and trailer combination is more than 1,525 kg

You don’t need an operator’s licence if your trailer’s unladen weight is less than 1,020 kg and you only carry your own goods.

Carrying goods for hire or reward

You’ll need a standard licence if you’re carrying other people’s goods for hire or reward (such as working as a courier or freight transport business) and the vehicle and trailer combination exceeds the weight limits above for a single vehicle.

 

Public Service Vehicle Operators Licence

You need a public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence to:

  • operate a vehicle for hire or reward (payment or payment in kind) that can carry 9 or more passengers

  • operate a smaller vehicle carrying passengers and charging separate fares for the journey

Types of Operator Licence: Goods Vehicles

Standard NATIONAL

This allows you to carry your own goods, and goods for other people for hire or reward, both in the UK and on international journeys. It requires that you and your Transport Manager must each satisfy the requirement of good repute and professional competence.

Standard INTERNATIONAL

This allows you to carry your own goods on your own account, or other people's goods for hire or reward, in the UK and to carry your OWN goods on your own account abroad. It requires that you and your Transport Manager must each satisfy the requirement of good repute and professional competence.

Restricted

This only allows you to carry your own goods on your own account within the UK and the EU. You do not have to satisfy the requirement of professional competence.
Examples of using a restricted license are: If you produce your own products and deliver them yourself or if you use the vehicle to transport tools or equipment to and from a job, e.g. a scaffolder or builder.

Standard Licence - national operations only

You can only operate in Great Britain if you apply for a standard licence. Most full-time commercial operators use standard licences.

Restricted Licence

You can only apply for a restricted licence for small-scale operations. They allow you to use 1 or 2 vehicles, and neither can carry more than 8 passengers.

You can carry up to 16 passengers in either vehicle if you do nt use it as part of a passenger transport business, or you’re operating your vehicles as a sideline and not as your main job

Standard Licence - national and international operations

This kind of licence lets you take passengers abroad as well as within Great Britain

Special Restricted Licence

Special restricted licences are used to operate a licensed taxi on a local service. You can only apply for this licence if you’re a licensed taxi operator. A local service is one where:

stops are no more than 24.15 kilometres (15 miles) apart
at least one stop is within the area of the district council that issued your taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) licence
The service must be registered with the local Traffic Commissioner.

Types of Operator Licence: Public Service Vehicles

There are 4 types of PSV operator licences, plus special licensing rules in London.

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