The head of Legal and Regulatory services at Bridgend Council has recommended that BCBC’s Licensing Committee approve the introduction of a “Knowledge Test” for taxi drivers from later this year (pdf).
“The Knowledge” is an infamous test of London taxi drivers’ route familiarity and while the proposed system for Bridgend won’t be anywhere near as comprehensive, it’s based on the same principle.
The report says at least ten local authorities in Wales already require taxi drivers to pass a Knowledge Test. At the moment, prospective taxi drivers in Bridgend only have to pass a numeracy and literacy test and sit through a half-day Driver Awareness Course.
The proposed new BCBC Knowledge Test will include literacy, numeracy, geographical knowledge (streets and major buildings), various equalities-related questions and knowledge of routes both within and beyond Bridgend County (i.e sports venues, airports).
The overall goal is to improve customer service and guarantee that taxi drivers are aware of the shortest available route in any given situation. The report adds that relying on satnavs isn’t good enough as they often don’t take roadworks, traffic jams or diversions into account.
Applicants will be allowed to take the test a maximum of three times in six months and anyone who fails the test based on these limits would be refused a taxi licence (except in exceptional circumstances). The test would only apply to new applicants and former taxi drivers whose licence expired longer than six months ago; it won’t apply with regard to licence renewals.
It’s proposed that the first three attempts will be covered by a single £25 charge, while those who miss a test appointment will have to pay an additional £10 to book a new slot.
If the Licensing Committee agree, the test will be rolled out from 1st November 2019.