Perth taxi driv­ers to face ‘knowl­edge’ exam for li­cences.

Driv­ers want­ing to work in Perth and Kin­ross will have to score 85% on a 60-ques­tion exam

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMIE BUCHAN [email protected]­

New taxi driv­ers will have to prove they have “the knowl­edge” be­fore they can work in Perth and Kin­ross.

Plans to in­tro­duce tough new tests for bud­ding cab­bies have been unan­i­mously ap­proved by coun­cil­lors.

Un­der the scheme, driv­ers will be quizzed on lo­cal street names, land­marks and short-cuts.

Ques­tions are likely to be along the lines of: What area of Perth is Canal Street in? Or how do you get from Ge­orge Street to the train sta­tion?

Can­di­dates will also be asked about the High­way Code and will have to an­swer ba­sic arith­metic ques­tions to show they know how much change to hand over.

The tests will be set un­der exam con­di­tions – with of­fi­cial ad­ju­di­ca­tors – in the coun­cil’s High Street HQ.

Driv­ers who want to work in the area – which is an Uber-free zone – will have to score at least 85% across 60 ques­tions. They will get three chances to pass.

The exam will be ini­tially aimed at new ap­pli­cants, but could be ex­tended to those look­ing to re­new their li­cences.

Mem­bers of the coun­cil’s li­cens­ing com­mit­tee ap­proved the test at its first meet­ing of the year.

Con­vener Chris Ah­ern said: “By in­tro­duc­ing this test for new ap­pli­cants, it is clear that we are look­ing to get driv­ers that know the area they are work­ing in and also know the reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards ex­pected of driv­ers in Perth and Kin­ross.

“The pro­posal has been wel­comed by the taxi trade and its cus­tomers.”

He added: “The test will ini­tially be for new ap­pli­ca­tions, as this will al­low the li­cens­ing man­ager to mon­i­tor the staff time and re­sources re­quired to ad­min­is­ter the ex­ams. It may then be rolled out for li­cence re­newals.”

SNP coun­cil­lor An­drew Par­rot wel­comed the ini­tia­tive.

“If some­one can’t pass this test af­ter three times, they cer­tainly shouldn’t be a taxi driver,” he said.

Li­cens­ing man­ager De­bra Merchant said the exam will be bro­ken down into sev­eral sec­tions with ques­tions on pub­lic build­ings, land­marks, street names and routes.

In May, High­land Coun­cil ruled that its pass mark of 85% was “un­nec­es­sar­ily high”, par­tic­u­larly given that most ve­hi­cles are fit­ted with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems.

Af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal firms, the coun­cil agreed to re­duce the pass mark to 75%.

The Knowl­edge Test is well es­tab­lished in Lon­don, where bud­ding black cab driv­ers are ex­pected to mem­o­rise 320 routes and 25,000 streets.

How­ever, there have been calls to scrap the exam, with crit­ics claim­ing it acts as an “ar­chaic” bar­rier to employment.

If some­one can’t pass this test af­ter three times, they cer­tainly shouldn’t be a taxi driver. SNP COUN­CIL­LOR AN­DREW PAR­ROT

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