More than 50 per cent of people wanting to become taxi drivers in Calderdale failed their driving standard test and English tests a new report has revealed.
In a report to Calderdale Council’s Licence and Regulatory committee, out of 68 applicants from January to April, 33 have passed the requirements of all three components of the English test required to become a licensed driver within the borough. This is 48.5% pass rate.
The licensing and regulatory committee approved the introduction of an in-house English test for all new applications for both hackney carriage and private hire licences.
The examination is part of a consistent approach across the region, whereby all authorities are considering introducing a minimum standard equivalent to ESOL Level 3.
There are currently three aspects to the ESOL Entry 3 test that the new applicants are required to pass, there is reading, writing and listening. There is no current requirement for applicants to pass an oral test.
The results of the different components showed 42 applicants passed the reading section; 35 passed the writing section and 59 completed the listening component.
Members of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Associations raised concerns to the Licensing Working Party Meeting that the test is too difficult and there was a high rate of failure.
This resulted in members, officers and members of the trade associations visiting the Heath Adult Education to carry out the test in order to ascertain the level of complexity in the test.
Members of the Licensing Working Party reconsidered the elements of the test following their visit to Adult Education and considered that spoken English was particularly important for the trade.
Members were keen to see this introduced to the test and felt that the reading / writing element was less important.
Another longstanding requirement for a new Private Hire/Hackney Carriage and Dual Badge drivers has also seen them complete and pass the DVSA driving test.
In September 2016, the Council received a letter from the DVSA informing the Licensing Authority that a decision had been made to withdraw the provision of Taxi Assessments with effect from December 31, 2016.
Since January, Kirklees Council has been providing the tests on behalf of Calderdale Council as it was based on the former DVSA driving test and they had the capacity to meet the demand required
Kirklees are currently providing the test for themselves, Calderdale and a number of other authorities as of May 5, 2017, they have carried out approximately 500 tests; 166 of these being Calderdale applicants.
Calderdale’s pass rate is 67 out of 166 which is a 40% pass rate.