The Shropshire Star reports that taxi and private hire drivers in Telford are to be trained by the company police forces use to give speed awareness courses.
From this month, anybody applying for a licence from the council will have to undergo an hour of training before taking an extensive exam on rules and regulations on becoming a taxi or private hire driver, plus a practical driving test.
TTC Group, which will run the Knowledge and Driving Standards Test, aims to explore some of the challenges and scenarios facing the drivers, including the rules and regulations of holding a hackney carriage or private hire licence and how to report collisions.
This comes as the Department for Transport is currently in consultation on whether to enforce more extensive checks on taxi drivers in efforts to close loopholes in the system and ensure the safety of residents.
Angie Astley, assistant director of neighbourhood and customer services at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “Our officers apply the highest standards when we license drivers, and our partnership with TTC is to ensure the safety of anyone using a taxi or private hire vehicle.
“Every driver applying for a licence with Telford & Wrekin Council will receive one hour of training with an experienced road safety expert before sitting a Knowledge Test on what it means to be a taxi or private hire driver and the behaviour expected of them.
“Prior to any licence being granted, drivers must pass this test in addition to taking and passing the Driving Standards test, which is a one-hour practical exam on the road.
“If you book a private hire vehicle or hail a taxi that has been licensed by Telford & Wrekin Council, you should be safe in the knowledge that they meet our high standards – our officers will act on anyone who doesn’t.”
Spot checks conducted in Telford by police officers last year resulted in three private hire drivers facing enforcement action for picking up unbooked fares.
Andy Wheeler, business development director at TTC Group, said: “We have a proven track record in improving driving safety and behaviour and this latest contract will tap into our expertise and systems to help Telford & Wrekin Council ensure every taxi driver on local roads has gone through the right knowledge and practical driving tests.
“Hopefully, the individuals looking to secure their badges will also benefit from the new approach, advice and guidance we can offer.
“Education can play a crucial role in improving the safety of our roads.”