Taxi Test (Hackney Carriage / Private Hire)
The practical driving test for taxis / private hire vehicles
To obtain a taxi licence, most Local Councils will require you to pass the DSA Taxi Test (first introduced in 1999). The UK taxi driving test requires a driver to demonstrate good sound driving techniques. Local authorities recognise that becoming a taxi driver has a great responsibility for road safety towards yourself and other road users; the test will require you to drive to a high, professional standard. Some Local Councils will also require you to pass the 'knowledge' test.
The DSA know you already hold a full driving licence and do treat this test like another learner test. They presume you have gained valuable experience since then and are able to control the vehicle much better than a learner. Unfortunately for you, their standards are very high, which has led to a pass rate on the taxi test of about 30% nationally! The low pass rate is in part due to poor preparation for the test. No matter how good a driver you think you are, you will no doubt have developed bad driving habits over the years and perhaps are unsure or even unaware of certain rules and procedures.
As recommended by the DSA who conduct the taxi test, the best way to prepare for the taxi driving test is to take a course of professional driving lessons with a Approved Driving Instructor. Passing Place offers this service and provides you with tailored driving lessons covering all aspects of the taxi test, offering in depth knowledge of what the driving examiners are looking for as well as a wealth of experience in advanced driving techniques.
How many driving lessons you will need will mainly depend on you current driving standard and any bad habits you may have picked up. After undergoing an assessment drive, you will be given instruction to fix bad habits, improve your knowledge of road procedure, and then taken through to taxi test syllabus to reach test standard.
The practical taxi test assessment
To obatin a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Drivers Licence you must pass the appropriate Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driving test assessment. The taxi driving test is reflective of modern driving practices.
You must provide a roadworthy vehicle suitable for the purpose of the test, which must include head restraints and seat belts. Passing Place can provide a suitable vehicle on request.
The practical test consists of an eyesight test, a wheelchair exercise (if applicable), and the driving assessment out on the roads.
The eyesight test
At the start of your taxi test you will be asked to read in good daylight (with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn) a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle with letters and figures 79.4 millimeters high at a distance of 20.5 metres (20 metres for a new style number plate). If you fail the eyesight test, you will be unable to take the driving part (but will still be able to continue with the wheelchair section, if applicable).
The practical test
The practical test will last for about 40 minutes, depending on traffic. During the test you should drive in a natural way, and should not adjust your driving to what you may feel the examiner would expect to see. The examiner will give you clear instructions which you should follow throughout the test.
During the driving section of the test you will be examined on:
1) Awareness and anticipation.
2) Correct use of speed.
3) An emergency stop, not all tests will include this.
4) Effective planning of prevailing road and traffic conditions.
5) A manoeuvre involving reversing.
6) Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Car related exercise.
7) Passenger safety and comfort
8) Wheelchair element (if requested for wheelchair enhanced vehicles)
If you are taking the taxi or 'black cab' style test, you will need to answer some related 'cabology' questions. Examples of these include the dimensions of your vehicle, its correct tyre pressures and what you should do if a passenger leaves property behind.
The wheelchair exercise
If you asked to take the enhanced assessment, then your taxi test will involve a wheelchair exercise where you should also be able to demonstrate your ability to securely erect the wheelchair ramps, floor ramp etc, safely install the wheelchair in your vehicle, secure seat belts/safety harness and also secure any wheel belts/clamps fitted to your vehicle, reverse the process by taking off the belts, harnesses and clamps, taking the wheelchair out of the vehicle and putting the ramps away
At the end of the test
On passing the test you will receive: a pass certificate, the offer of a debrief, an assessment copy, If you pass the driving element of the taxi test you will receive a TPH10 certificate. If you pass the wheelchair element you will receive a WTA10 certificate.
If you fail the test you will receive: the offer of a debrief, an assessment copy, training advice
If you fail the taxi practical test you may retake the test again at a later date. You must, however, wait a minimum period of three clear working days between appointments. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test.