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Ribble Valley taxi drivers face tests before they work
11:00am Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
TAXI drivers will have to pass a knowledge test and college course before taking to the roads, under new plans being debated by the council.
It would see the end of temporary, six-month taxi licences which new drivers are issued with before passing the test and the Steering to Success course at Rossendale College.
Ribble Valley Council’s licensing committee is due to debate the proposed abolishment at a meeting on Tuesday ((September 17)).
If approved, the council aims to seek the views of licence holders before making a final decision.
Sajjad Asgher, who drives for Penole Taxis in Clitheroe said: “I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea.
“The council have been issuing way too many licences and this will slow down that rate and benefit existing drivers.
“The competition is massive in the Ribble Valley and if this is introduced then it will make sure that there are not too many new taxi drivers on the roads.”
There are currently 113 private hire taxi drivers’ registers in the borough with full licences and 13 with temporary licences.
Sajjad Hussain of Saj Cabs in Clitheroe said: “I’m worried that the quality of new taxi drivers’ knowledge of the area will go down because they might just simply study for a written knowledge test without ever having driven around the borough.
“Under the current rules, new taxi drivers can work for six months and gain a detailed knowledge of the area before taking the tests which means that they are able to do their job better.
“I’m not sure that this would be a workable system and it could lead to drivers starting their first day with a knowledge test pass but with no experience of the area.”
Coun Sue Knox, who sits on the licensing committee, said: “I am in favour of this change because the Ribble Valley is a complicated place to navigate around and new private hire taxi drivers should have passed the Knowledge Test before starting work.”
Alongside the Knowledge Test, new taxi drivers have to sit a free 10-week course at Rossendale College which covers topics such as how to present their vehicle, how to help disabled clients and conflict resolution.
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