Regardless if you decide to get your own vehicle licenced for ridesharing or spare yourself the trouble and rent a PCO car, getting started with Uber in London can be a confusing process.
To make the first steps easier for budding drivers, Uber created Ignition, a free information programme with group training sessions and one-on-one support available. They also have a specialised office called the Ignition Centre. It is different from the Uber Greenlight Hubs in that its only purpose is to help applicants handle the necessary paperwork and get licenced for rideshare driving as quickly as possible.
Why should I visit the Uber Ignition Centre?
In short, as a rideshare driver, you are required to have proof that both you and your car are fit to transport people around the city. You need these two documents to get started with Uber:
- A Private Hire Vehicle Licence (a.k.a. PHV licence) for your car – this is issued by Transport for London (TfL), and certifies that your car is up to the industry’s standards and it is safe for personal transport.
- A Private Hire Driver Licence (a.k.a. PCO licence) – this is proof that you have all the skills it takes to be a good rideshare driver, and you’re also legally and medically apt for the job.
Since Splend Members get the PHV licence with the car by default, we won’t go into details about the process of obtaining one (you can read about it in our blog post on how to become an Uber driver in London). The PCO licence is where things get a bit more complicated, but thanks to the Ignition programme, it’s really not as bad as it sounds.
How do I obtain a PCO Licence through Ignition?
Uber’s Ignition office will collect your personal documents needed to apply for a PCO licence. For this, you will need to schedule an Ignition session online and pay a visit to the London Ignition Centre on the date of your appointment. Here’s a list of the required documents you probably already have at hand:
- UK driver’s licence (with at least 3 years of driving experience)
- National insurance number
- Proof of address (bank statement/utility bill dated within the last 3 months)
- Your debit or credit card to make the necessary payments
- Additional documents if you have changed your name or lived abroad over the last 3 years
However, what makes the process particularly laborious is that you have to submit a number of documents that you most likely don’t have yet, and this is where the Ignition programme will lend you a helping hand.
- You’ll need to complete an enhanced background check, that you can request upon your visit to the Ignition Centre, with the assistance of an Uber employee.
- You’ll also need an English language qualification that is approved by TfL – ask the Ignition staff if yours is approved, and if not, whether they have an active partnership with a language centre where you could take the test and get your qualification at a discounted price.
- Once your application is submitted, you’ll also need to take a topographical test (map-reading) with TfL. You can participate in free preparation sessions at the Induction Centre to make sure you pass the test in a breeze.
The folks at the Ignition Centre will also help you submit your private hire application at TfL. This might sound like overkill, but some of the questions might be a bit confusing, and the platform does not allow you to go back and correct your answers. In other words, it’s good to have someone nearby who has probably completed the form hundreds of times.
If you need any further support with your PCO application, you can drop by to the Ignition Centre on weekdays for one of the introductory sessions, or schedule an appointment here for weekends.
Where is the Uber Ignition Centre located?
You’ll find the Uber Ignition Centre at 15 St Botolph St, London EC3A 7DT, Beaufort House, Ground Floor.
Splend rents vehicles to Uber drivers in the UK, Australia, Canada and Mexico. In addition to providing you with the most essential tool in your career as a rideshare driver, Splend also offers ongoing training, support, and data-driven feedback via a personal Member Success Representative. Our Members also receive some fantastic Member Benefits, including discounts from our partners!