Taxi drivers given 'no warning' of skills test
The campaign group Taxi Drivers for Change has said it was not given advance notice of this morning's introduction of new driver skills tests, by the Commission for Taxi regulation.
The Commission announced it will be mandatory for all new entrants to the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry to engage in a skills development programme, and an area knowledge test.
The skills development programme will be rolled out to existing drivers on a phased basis.
From today new entrants to the industry will face a test on:
- The basic rules of operating in the SPSV industry, including licensing, regulations, rights and responsibilities
- Vehicles, including standards, testing and maintenance
- Area knowledge, route selection, map reading, testing and fares
- Delivering customer satisfaction, including disability awareness, diversity and equality and complaints
- The SPSV business, including planning, promoting and running a business
- Safety, including personal security, health and safety and emergency situations.
Commissioner for Taxi Regulation, Kathleen Doyle commented; "I acknowledge that many drivers already offer an excellent service, however, ongoing personal development is a necessary requirement of any successful business and it is part of the Commission's objective to ensure that the SPSV industry has highly skilled drivers delivering high quality services."
However Frank Byrne of Drivers for Change criticised the lack of consultation with existing drivers before the announcement.
While he said the skills programme was a good idea, he said it did not go far enough.
He said it should include a far greater practical element similar to that used in London.
He also criticised its extension to existing drivers remarking that he had sixteen years experience.
"Am I to have to now sit a test to keep my job?" he asked.