What is a Taxi Driving Assessment Test?
If you’ve applied to your local authority or Transport for London (TfL) for a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle, you might first have to pass a driving assessment test.
Until the end of 2016, this was carried out by an examiner at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), but then responsibility was devolved to each authority.
Most authorities now have their own arrangements in place to test would-be private hire and taxi drivers; requirements vary from council to council, and so does the name of the test, but they all share a common theme: ensuring drivers are qualified to carry passengers in a safe and professional manner.
Some councils, such as Tameside in Greater Manchester and Birmingham ask new applicants to pass both a driving assessment test and a knowledge course. In other areas just a driving assessment is required.
No matter where your application is made you’ll be given contact details of the council’s contracted agents to book your test. Courses are usually held at a local college or an independent trainer’s premises.
What a typical test involves
IAM Roadsmart, formerly known as the Institute of Advanced Motorists, lists some typical elements applicants will be tested on:
- Perform a manoeuvre in the road
- Drive without being provided turn-by-turn instructions
- Perform stops at the side of the road simulating passenger drop-off / pick-up
- Answer a range of customer service questions, such as what you would do if you found lost property in your vehicle
- Answer correctly Highway Code questions, including traffic signs and regulations
You may also be asked to show that you can load/unload wheelchairs safely and care for the needs of less able-bodied passengers.
As each local authority outsources taxi driver courses to their own contracted supplier, course content and length will vary, but might involve:
- Safeguarding children and adults
- Vehicle safety and road-worthiness checks
- Cleanliness of your vehicle
- Knowledge of routes and fares
- Taxi legislation and regulations
- Terms and conditions, for example
- minimum age limits or fitness requirements
- expected driver behaviour
- notifying your licencing authority of changes to your address, medical conditions, convictions etc.
- carriage of passengers
- use of the taximeter
- prohibitions of plying for hire
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