High failure rate in taxi driver test


FEWER THAN a quarter of those who sat a public service vehicle exam to begin working in the taxi industry have managed to pass, according to figures released by the National Transport Authority.

The figures also show that 27 prosecutions were brought against taxi drivers last month, while there were more than 180 complaints.

Since May 2009, when a new skills development programme was introduced for entry into the taxi industry, more than 11,000 tests were taken, including resits. Of this figure, just over 2,500 were passes. Those who sit the exam must achieve a score of 80 per cent to pass.

The entry test is comprised of two modules. The industry knowledge module features 54 multiple choice questions relating to the rules and regulations of operating in the industry such as questions about fares and charges as well as information about customer service, including disability awareness, equality and diversity.

The second module is area-specific and comprises questions related to the county in which the applicant wishes to work including locations of places of interest and routes from one place to another.

The entire test takes an hour and 45 minutes and costs €86 to take.

Existing drivers have also been required to sit an industry knowledge test. More than 70 per cent of the almost 10,500 drivers who sat this test passed it.

Other data released by the authority shows there were 27 taxi-related prosecutions taken against drivers in June this year.

About 10 of the prosecutions involved the use of vehicles that had not been licensed as taxis and eight involved people who were not licensed to work as taxi drivers.

Other offences included standing for hire in an area that was not a designated taxi rank and failure to comply with roof-sign requirements.

More than 180 complaints about taxi drivers were received by the authority. Almost half of these related to the behaviour of the driver and a third related to overcharging.

A spokesman for the National Transport Authority said it engaged test development experts to assist with the development of the question bank and the setting of the pass rate.

“The score of 80 per cent is set to ensure that those who pass the test have a very good working knowledge of the industry and the area in which they plan to stand or ply for hire,” he said.

“This in turn helps to to raise industry standards nationwide.”