Knowledge test for taxi drivers in North Lanarkshire extended to private hire

A requirement for taxi drivers in North Lanarkshire to pass a geographic knowledge test is being extended to private hire drivers as well.

North Lanarkshire Council adopted the measure at a meeting of the finance and resources committee.

Councillor Claire Barclay said: “As a frequent user of private hire cars I have had issues with drivers not knowing the area and relying on satnav.”

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She recounted one attempted journey to Ravenscraig where the driver ended up taking her to a new build housing estate.

The council officers reporting to the committee had recommended continuing the status quo, in which only taxi drivers are required to pass a knowledge test as they can be hailed down at any location without any requirement for pre-booking.

This recommendation was due to the fact only five complaints against private hire drivers had been made in the past five years.

However, several members of the committee said, based on their own dealings with constituents the true number of drivers displaying a lack of the required knowledge was surely much higher.

Councillor Jim Hume moved for the extension of knowledge tests rather than maintaining the status quo, and members backed this change by 24 votes to 11.

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Service