TAXI drivers across the district will need to pass English, maths and “knowledge” exams in new council plans to improve public safety.
Private hire and hackney carriage drivers will be tested on their language and numeracy skills to make sure they can do their job safely and professionally in a Wakefield Council initiative, launched on April 1.
They will also be required to complete a “knowledge” exam on licensing laws, customer care, road safety, local knowledge, disability awareness and personal safety.
Knottingley Coun Graham Stokes, cabinet member for corporate performance, said: “Our licensing role is there to protect the residents who use certain services, as well as the businesses which provide these services. We regularly review our licensing arrangements to ensure the best standards are used to keep everyone safe.
“These new safety measures will ensure that the public using taxis or private hire cars in this district can do so with confidence.
“It is particularly important because the nature of the job means that drivers are working alone and often with vulnerable people, so they are well equipped to deliver the best service possible.
“By working with partners and key services we can ensure that suitable standards are in place so that local people and visitors accessing licensed services receive an excellent customer service.”
The council is also planning to create a licensees charter, in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, to make the night time economy safer.
A full report on the new safety measures to be introduced is being considered at a council cabinet meeting next Tuesday.