In recent years, private hire applications have become incredibly more demanding, with authorities going to great lengths to rid of any ill practice in the industry. From further criminal checks to longer training programs, we are seeing stringent processes rolled out across the country. However, this week it has been announced that the A-Z test has been axed from Birmingham private hire applications.
The A-Z test sees taxi drivers plan routes by using a generic road map, having to navigate themselves around Birmingham without the use of satellite navigation systems. By scrapping this test, many worry that we will see an influx of drivers relying on such devices, many of which may not be able to speak fluent English.
Committee chairman, Barbara Dring, agrees that changes need to be made to the application process. Referring to reports, she says that over 100 taxi drivers had received full licenses by the council despite having a criminal record.
She said: “I hope if we go down this road it’s not going to be a lowering of the standard.”
TOA Taxis chairman, Manawar Hussain, said:
“If an applicant can’t read an A to Z or can’t communicate with a passenger or can’t read an address how is he going to transport that passenger to the location?”
Acting director of regulation and enforcement, Chris Neville, was also eager to pass comment said: “I don’t believe this will result in drivers being licensed who can’t speak English.”
He added: “We wouldn’t put this forward if we thought it would be detrimental to standards.”
A good move for the private hire industry?
While authorities promise that standards ill be upheld and in many ways, improved, we would love to hear your thoughts. Is the A-Z test essential or is scrapping it the right way forward? Share your opinions with us.