Perth and Kinross Licensing Committee meeting on 10th January this year could mean big changes for local private hire and taxi drivers.
A report from the Head of Legal & Governance Services (Report No. 19/1) is seeking approval for the introduction of a knowledge test for Private Hire Car Drivers’ and Taxi Car Drivers in the area.
A report was submitted and approved by the Licensing Committee on 26 October 2017 which resulted in the standard conditions for taxi and private hire car drivers being updated. There is a condition relating to a knowledge test within the standard conditions.
Although this states that the knowledge test will require to be at renewal and application stages, it is anticipated that it will only be introduced for new applications at first.
The proposed test would consist of 60 questions in six parts
Part 1 – would consist of questions relating to Public Buildings and Local Landmarks,
Part 2 – Street Names,
Part 3 – Routes,
Part 4 – Knowledge of the Highway Code,
Part 5 – questions relating to the conditions to the licence,
Part 6 – Arithmetical and general questions.
The proposals advise that 4 parts of the test would be multiple choice with 2 parts requiring written answers.
Perth and Kinross Council’s current fee for a new Taxi Driver’s Licence and a Private Hire Car Driver’s Licence is £110.00 for a 1 year licence and £165.00 for a 3 year licence. It is proposed that the Committee agree to increase the fees by £30.00 making a 1 year licence £140.00 and a 3 year licence £195.00 to cover the administration costs of the test for new applications.
Whilst information has been provided in the meeting agenda about the questions, it seems to be lacking in some details that could be very important for those coming forward for licences. Are the questions about local landmarks, streets and routes going to be local to the driver’s area? How much would one expect a Kinross taxi driver to know about Auchterarder and vice versa?
Certainly, local taxi drivers do not seem to have been consulted with one driver saying they have had no consultation on this process.
The recommendation of introducing this test from 11 January 2019 will surely have an impact on those making new applications. Until clarification is given regarding the scope of the test it would be unfair to expect applicants to be subject to these additional requirements.