If you are thinking of beginning a new career as a taxi or private hire driver, then you may need to take a taxi driving test depending on your local authority. The taxi assessment will allow you to work as a private hire or taxi driver and accept fare for paying passengers. A step you should take before committing to the test is to consider taking professional taxi training prior to taking the test.
Local Authorities that require you to take the taxi test:
If you live outside of these counties then visit: Find your local council. Here you can find out if you need to take a taxi test.
The test is approximately 40 minutes long and includes roughly 10 minutes of independent driving to ensure you can make decisions safely and without prompt. You will also be asked to complete an eyesight test by reading a number plate on a stationary car. You may use glasses/contact lenses but if fail, you will not be able to continue with the rest of the test.
To pass your test you are allowed to commit up to 9 faults, if you acquire 10 or more faults this will count as a fail and you will not pass your test. If you commit any serious driving errors or make a situation dangerous this will be marked down as a major fault and you will fail your test. There is no limit as to how many taxi assessments you can take.
3 types of taxi test assessments:
- 1. The Standard Assessment
- 2. The enhanced assessment includes an exercise involving a wheel chair
- 3. Upgrade assessment If you have already completed the standard test, but want to carry passengers who require a wheel chair – this is for you.
About the Taxi Test
The driving examiner will be assessing you on skills that are applicable to taxi drivers.
1. The test will last approximately 40 minutes. You are allowed up to 9 minor faults and zero serious faults, visit: Marking sheet if you want to know what the test sheet looks like.
2. You will perform an eye sight test before entering the vehicle. The distance is 20 meters for new number plates and 20.5 meters for vehicles with old style number plates.
New style number plates begin with two letters and then 2 numbers afterwards for example: BC22 CBA
3. Whilst on your test you may have to perform an emergency stop. When performing this you will have to demonstrate that you can stop the car in prompt fashion, under control and without skidding.
4. You will be asked to carry out a manoeuvre which involves turning the car around in the opposite direction. The three possible ways of turning the car around are the following:
• Using a side road on the left to do a U-Turn. See diagram
5. You may be asked to carry out U-Turns or be asked on a number of occasions to pull up on the left at a safe and convenient place, to let passengers in or out of your vehicle. Avoid parking next to lamp posts and trees as this could be potentially hazardous for your passenger. Whenever you have been stationary at the side of the road, remember your important safety check – you will need to do your right shoulder to check to check your blind spot before pulling away.
6. Effective use of the mirrors is vital as a taxi driver and obviously this is one of the areas the examiner will be monitoring whilst you are on your test. You should use both the interior mirror and door mirrors when necessary and react to what you see.
7. Using the direction indicators in good time so other road users benefit is very important. Signalling too early can be misleading and signalling too late doesn’t give other road users enough time to react to your signal.
8. Understanding and reading road traffic signs and road markings correctly will be expected from you, as they are there to help you anticipate and plan your journey. Whilst driving you will need to show that you are aware of your surroundings and be able to react to a variety of situations, for instance signals or information given by emergency services, traffic wardens or just by other drivers.
9. You need to signal correctly and in good time to let other road users know your intention – other road users need to see and understand what you plan to do.
10. You will be expected to understand and comply with traffic signs and road markings, as they are there to help you anticipate and plan your journey. Whilst driving you will need to show that you are aware of your surroundings and be able to react to a variety of situations, for instance signals or information given by emergency services, traffic wardens or just by other drivers.
11. You must be able to demonstrate your ability to make progress when the speed signs and the road and traffic conditions dictate it is safe to do so – equally it is important to demonstrate that you recognise and comply when in a lower speed limit areas.
12. During your test you will have to be aware of the separation distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, this also applies to the distance away from parked vehicles.
13. When turning right in front of oncoming traffic, overtaking or meeting oncoming vehicles you will have to show good judgment and awareness at no point at all should you cause another driver to brake or swerve.
14. Demonstrate that you are aware of other road users at all times. Plan ahead and predict how the actions of others will affect your driving; leaving plenty of time to react – be especially of pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders etc.
15. Some taxi licensing authorities require you to take the wheelchair assessment as part of your test. Please check with your local authority before your driving test as you will need to know how to operate the entry ramp and secure your passengers safely.
Highway code and Cabology Questions for the Taxi Test
At the end of the driving part of the taxi test you will be asked some questions. You will be asked a total of 10 questions which will include the following:
• 5 questions on road signs from the highway code.
• 3 general questions from the highway code.
• 2 cabology questions.
Cabology question and answers
Q. As a licensed taxi driver, what must you carry with you at all times?
A. Cab drivers licence and badge (displayed in a conspicuous place).
Q. If you found an item of property left in your taxicab, what would you do with it?
A. Hand it into a Police Station within 24 hours.
Q. What is the minimum legal requirement of a tyre tread depth?
A. 1.6mm across 3/4 of the entire width of the tyre.
Q. If the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are driving are 35psi at the front and 40psi at the rear, what would you consider the correct pressure for the spare to be?
A. 40psi; because it would be easier to deflate than inflate a tyre at the roadside.
Q. As a Private Hire taxi driver, what is your main responsibility?
A. The safety and comfort of your passengers.
Q. How would you show consideration for passengers alighting from your vehicle?
A. Stop close to the kerb and avoid proximity to obstructions (street furniture, trees etc).