Testing times for Perth taxi drivers with plans for new knowledge quiz

© DC ThomsonPost Thumbnail

Taxi drivers could be forced to take a tough quiz on local landmarks and street names before being allowed to work in Perth and Kinross.

A new knowledge test is being considered by the region’s licensing chiefs, The Courier can reveal.

Drivers who want to work in the area – an Uber-free zone – will have to score at least 85% on a 60-question test, under the proposal.

They will be expected to learn the names of thousands of streets off by heart and correctly identify the most direct routes to and from certain locations.

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

Members of the licensing committee will be asked to approve the plan when they meet in the new year.

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

There will also be questions about licence conditions and highway code knowledge, as well as “arithmetical and general” queries.

Ms Merchant suggests that applicants would need at least 51 correct answers to pass.

“It is proposed that the applicant be given three attempts to pass the test,” she said. “If an applicant does not pass after three attempts, the application would be deemed as being voluntarily withdrawn and no refund will be given.”

Applicants will not get a refund if they simply fail to take the test after three appointments, she said.

“The test would take the form of multiple-choice questions and answers for four parts, and written answers for two parts of the test,” Ms Merchant said.

“It is anticipated that it will be introduced for new applications only at this time. This will allow the licensing manager to monitor staff time and resources required to undertake the knowledge test, as the licensing team will administer the test.”

Other authorities in the UK already insist on knowledge tests, with additional fees for drivers of between £10 and £30.

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.

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