Taxi drivers will have to prove knowledge

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CHANGES to taxi licensing which will include new cabbies having to be tested on their English and maths are set to be agreed.

The changes are set to come in following a six-week consultation.

The proposals include a requirement for new drivers to take a knowledge test that covers specific routes and checks their understanding of English.

It would also include a basic maths test to show they were confident in taking payment and giving change.

Other changes proposed include allowing the council to license stretch limousines and other special vehicles.

Taxi firms had contacted the council to voice their concerns over proposed changes which would have removed age limits on cars used as taxis.

Drivers said they felt the current rule that only cars aged five years or less could be licensed meant Wellingborough’s standards were higher than other towns, something they wanted to preserve.

They were also concerned about high emissions from old cars.

The council has now suggested that the requirement that a car is no older than five years when it is first registered could be reinstated, but that an exception should be made for special occasion cars which aren’t used very often.

Council community committee chairman Cllr Peter Morrall said: “We wanted to introduce changes to our licensing policy, to bring us more in line with other councils and to make sure our standards are as high as they can be.

“Having said that, the taxi drivers and operators know their trade and their customers best of all and we value their opinions, which is why we asked them what they thought and why we’re willing to compromise on the points they’ve raised.”

The community committee will discuss the proposed changes at a meeting on Monday.