Taxi drivers to get in the know

Taxis on Union Street, Wakefield
Taxis on Union Street, Wakefield

TAXI drivers will have to undergo a new knowledge test if they want to get a licence.

Members of Wakefield Council’s licensing committee approved the introduction of the test when they met on Monday.

It covers basic literacy and numeracy, licensing law, customer care, road safety, local knowledge, disability awareness and personal safety.

The test will apply to new applicants, drivers where a sustained complaint has been received, or licence holders who request an interpreter at any formal meeting with the local authority.

Committee members said the test would be the ‘last piece of the jigsaw,’ following the introduction of a convictions policy in January, where all convictions have to be disclosed.

After hearing that all other authorities in the region have some form of the test already, committee chairman Coun Harry Ellis, said: “I think this is long over due in Wakefield. Far from us leading the way, we are lagging behind.”

His words were echoed by fellow committee member, Coun Glyn Lloyd.

He said: “The safety of the public is paramount to us and from that point of view, drivers need to be able to get from A to B. Sometimes it could be an emergency so this is essential.”

A six-week consultation will now take place with private hire and hackney carriage drivers on the issue.

Committee members also approved a new requirement for all new taxi drivers to have held an ordinary DVLA driving licence for at least two years before they can become a taxi operator, and a rise in hackney carriage fares.