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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:20 am 
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Interesting wee video on the website with the driver explaining the trade when he started 22 years ago with what it's like now. Sounds about right :roll:


Bristol taxi driver says Uber put people at risk by not having drivers take The Knowledge

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bris ... er-3592696

He says drivers concentrating on their sat navs and not on the road is a danger

Hundreds of Uber drivers operating in Bristol are less qualified than other drivers as they gain their licence outside of the city, claims a taxi driver.

All taxi drivers in Bristol must sit mandatory knowledge exams to get a licence, with private hire taxi drivers needed to achieve 75 per cent to pass and Hackney Carriage drivers 90 per cent.

But Ammran Ali, a private hire taxi driver based in Eastville, claims there is no equivalent test in South Gloucestershire which is where Uber drivers are gaining their licences before operating in the city of Bristol.

As a result, he fears drivers obtaining their licence from elsewhere don’t know Bristol streets well and rely too much on their satellite navigation systems, putting passenger safety at risk as they are not able to pay as much attention to the road as they would if they knew their route.

Mr Ali says the Bristol knowledge test involves knowing the city’s main roads and how to get from one location to another.

He said: “The hardest part, for Bristol trained drivers, is the knowledge test because you have to get 75 per cent or above - a lot of people fail that.

“When I took my first test, 22 years ago, I failed miserably but when I went back to it the second time, I passed it with flying colours because I knew exactly what I needed to learn.”

Recently, Uber lost their licence to operate in London after repeated safety failures, and Mr Ali warns Bristol will become the same.

He claims more drivers are becoming available in the city because the licence process in South Gloucestershire does not require a difficult knowledge test.

He said: “I visited South Gloucestershire in April last year and I found out they have zero tests regarding roads, areas - anything.

“The driver doesn’t need to know where he is going even in South Glos. There is no requirement for them to know how to get from Parkway station to Bradley Stoke, for example. But in my opinion this is not an issue for North Somerset or Bath as they have similar tests to Bristol.”

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire council said: “All applicants have to apply through the same process, details of which can be found on our licensing pages. It covers the law around taxi and private hire legislation.”

“National best practice guidance from the DfT recommends that knowledge tests are not required for private hire drivers.

“The expectation is that private hire journeys are pre-booked and therefore journeys can be planned in advance.

“Private Hire Drivers have to take basic skills tests but best practice guidance from the Dft recommends that knowledge tests are not required.

“Sat navs are a common tool for many drivers, including private hire and taxi drivers.

“Taxi (Hackney Carriage) drivers in South Gloucestershire have to pass a knowledge test before they are issued with a licence (amongst other requirements).”

Taxi drivers who get their license from South Gloucestershire Council are allowed to operate in Bristol, but Mr Ali claims all drivers should go through the same test process.

“I had to work really hard to pass the test through Bristol City Council,” he said.

“If those who went to South Glos to get their licence had to do the tests we had to do in Bristol, I’d be much happier about the situation.”

He started working for Uber during Easter 2018, and says that he is no longer guaranteed work, claiming it is due to the amount of drivers getting their licence elsewhere.

He said: “I have to go to Bath to work on weekends because it was getting so bad in Bristol with all the Glos drivers - I had to go to a place with fewer taxis to work.”

“I can recall a time where South Glos drivers would have a go at me for pickups in Frenchay. They would be shouting and swearing at us to get out of the way and get out of their area.

“But now they are coming in Bristol which in my opinion is not fair on Bristol drivers or the customers.”

This threatens passenger safety, claims Mr Ali, as drivers ‘don’t need to be knowledgeable about the area’ to get their license.

He said: “Drivers rely too much on their sat nav, and to me, it seems they just care about earning money.

“The tests required in Bristol are to ensure maximum safety. The last thing you want to do is get somebody injured because you’re not thinking.

“I’ve had customers saying wow! You know where you’re going and you do not need to look on your map and I would say yes! Because I am a Bristol driver.”

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “All new drivers in Bristol are currently required to complete an enhanced DBS check, alongside Gold Standard training, DVLA licence check, medical check, and completion of the knowledge test. Only if these standards are met will a driver be granted a licence. Bristol City Council is renowned to have one of the most stringent licence application processes for taxi drivers in the country.”

Uber have been contacted for a comment.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:25 am 
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Bristol PHD wrote:
“The driver doesn’t need to know where he is going even in South Glos. There is no requirement for them to know how to get from Parkway station to Bradley Stoke, for example. But in my opinion this is not an issue for North Somerset or Bath as they have similar tests to Bristol.

Wonder why he would say that? :-s

Quote:
He said: “I have to go to Bath to work on weekends because it was getting so bad in Bristol with all the Glos drivers - I had to go to a place with fewer taxis to work.”

Oh, I see - he's working cross-border himself when it suits [-X

Quote:
“I can recall a time where South Glos drivers would have a go at me for pickups in Frenchay. They would be shouting and swearing at us to get out of the way and get out of their area."

](*,) So now the Bath drivers are shouting and swearing at him, presumably :x


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:44 am 
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Quote:
“National best practice guidance from the DfT recommends that knowledge tests are not required for private hire drivers.

Where is that stated in the Best Practice Guidance?

76. However, PHVs are not legally available for immediate hiring in the same way as taxis. To hire a PHV the would-be passenger has to go through an operator, so the driver will have an opportunity to check the details of a route before starting a journey. So it may be unnecessarily burdensome to require a would-be PHV driver to pass the same ‘knowledge’ test as a taxi driver, though it may be thought appropriate to test candidates’ ability to read a map and their knowledge of key places such as main roads and railway stations. The Department is aware of circumstances where, as a result of the repeal of the PHV contract exemption, some people who drive children on school contracts are being deterred from continuing to do so on account of overly burdensome topographical tests. Local authorities should bear this in mind when assessing applicants' suitability for PHV licences.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:56 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
“National best practice guidance from the DfT recommends that knowledge tests are not required for private hire drivers.

Where is that stated in the Best Practice Guidance?

76. However, PHVs are not legally available for immediate hiring in the same way as taxis. To hire a PHV the would-be passenger has to go through an operator, so the driver will have an opportunity to check the details of a route before starting a journey. So it may be unnecessarily burdensome to require a would-be PHV driver to pass the same ‘knowledge’ test as a taxi driver, though it may be thought appropriate to test candidates’ ability to read a map and their knowledge of key places such as main roads and railway stations. The Department is aware of circumstances where, as a result of the repeal of the PHV contract exemption, some people who drive children on school contracts are being deterred from continuing to do so on account of overly burdensome topographical tests. Local authorities should bear this in mind when assessing applicants' suitability for PHV licences.


Checking the route before starting a journey would be Ok if the ops actually put destinations on the jobs or that so many jobs come via IVR you don't have destinations.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:23 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
“National best practice guidance from the DfT recommends that knowledge tests are not required for private hire drivers.

Where is that stated in the Best Practice Guidance?

76. However, PHVs are not legally available for immediate hiring in the same way as taxis. To hire a PHV the would-be passenger has to go through an operator, so the driver will have an opportunity to check the details of a route before starting a journey. So it may be unnecessarily burdensome to require a would-be PHV driver to pass the same ‘knowledge’ test as a taxi driver, though it may be thought appropriate to test candidates’ ability to read a map and their knowledge of key places such as main roads and railway stations. The Department is aware of circumstances where, as a result of the repeal of the PHV contract exemption, some people who drive children on school contracts are being deterred from continuing to do so on account of overly burdensome topographical tests. Local authorities should bear this in mind when assessing applicants' suitability for PHV licences.


To be fair, for a change, I don't really think the *reported* summary of the DfT's recommendation is necessarily inconsistent with the actual guidance.

After all, the newsapaper uses the words 'guidance' and 'recommends' so it's not saying it's a blanket ban, precisely.

So I don't think the newspaper's take is a million miles away from the DfT, particularly this bit:

DfT wrote:
So it may be unnecessarily burdensome to require a would-be PHV driver to pass the same ‘knowledge’ test as a taxi driver...


I'd say that's consistent enough with saying the DfT *recommends* no PH knowledge test [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Cerberus wrote:
Checking the route before starting a journey would be Ok if the ops actually put destinations on the jobs or that so many jobs come via IVR you don't have destinations.

Yes, and the punter may change their minds, or it may be a multi-drop job, etc.

And, of course, people often mis-state their destination, either because of error, or they're trying to get a cheaper fare [-X


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:50 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
Yes, and the punter may change their minds, or it may be a multi-drop job, etc.

And, of course, people often mis-state their destination, either because of error, or they're trying to get a cheaper fare [-X


And how many operators quote a fare to the passenger,very few. Private hire drivers often are asking where is this place even when they are outside it.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:38 am 
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Quote:
I'd say that's consistent enough with saying the DfT *recommends* no PH knowledge test [-(

Not sure I agree.

The statement from the council, via the press, was quite straight forward, they say the DfT recommends no PH knowledge.

If that was the case then the DfT wouldn't also have stated 'though it may be thought appropriate to test candidates’ ability to read a map and their knowledge of key places such as main roads and railway stations'. .

No way can both statements be true.

What the DfT are saying, IMO, in that guidance is that the PH knowledge needn't be as stringent as the taxi knowledge, especially in light of bringing into the licensing system those that worked under the contract scam.

No way are they saying they recommend no knowledge tests for PH.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 am 
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I agree to a degree, but I think you're maybe over-interpreting what the council said here. Or taking a too literal approach, or too legalistic, or whatever - maybe the result of some sort of legal background and knowledge :shock:

Could witter on about this for hours, but in a nutshell there's maybe two main problems here:

1 Councils and/or the press often have to reduce complex issues to shortened, easy-to-understand bullet-style points.

2 The DfT's guidance is to a degree contradictory. It recommends no taxi-style knowledge tests, then says that there can be some testing. And, unfortunately, also uses the word 'knowledge' with regard to this watered-down level of testing. So maybe there's taxi-style knowledge tests, and there's testing of knowledge. Or whatever.

But I think the council was just trying to say that the DfT recommends no taxi-style knowledge but perhaps something less stringent is OK.

So not a knowledge test in the sense that it's generally understood.

And the DfT's guidance uses vague, non-committal and open to interpretation language like "it may be unnecessarily burdensome" and "it may be thought appropriate". And, of course, it's just *guidance* not hard and fast rules.

So when the council here says that the DfT recommends no knowledge test, then I think that's a reasonable interpretation of what the DfT is saying, in a short and concise way. In particular, the inclusion of the word 'recommends' is important - the council isn't stating that there should never be PH knowledge tests.

It might have been useful if the council's statement had said no 'taxi-style' knowledge tests, which I think is effectively what the council meant, and would have been slightly more consistent with the DfT. The DfT is trying to distinguish between a proper knowledge test and something else, which I think is essentially what the council is trying to say.

But of course, these things often more about opinion than fact, and that's just my opinion, and your opinion obviously differs.

But all this brings to mind another couple of stories from yesterday, both of which illustrate the dangers of over-analysing things that shouldn't be interpreted too literally.

Eg, the Inverness fare thing:

Inverness Courier wrote:
The committee heard arguments from both sides before choosing the status quo, with the only suggested change to charges being a rise from £100 for soiling a taxi to £120.


You don't need to be a genius to guess that that isn't literally correct. The tariff card states that that's the maximum charge, and car has to be taken out of service:

Highland Council tariff card wrote:
Soiling Charge – maximum of £100.00 payable by an offending passenger, where a vehicle requires to be removed from service for cleaning in order for it to be restored to a usable state and condition.


But personally I think it's a bit less acceptable than the South Glos knowledge thing, because it's a bit more categorical - eg doesn't use a word like 'potentially').

That said, I wouldn't say it's obviously unacceptable in terms of a newspaper report.

The report on the Redditch medicals, on the other hand, said:

Droitwich Advertiser wrote:
REDDITCH taxi drivers could face more rigorous checks under the council's proposals to tighten its licensing regulations.


Which I think we both agree misrepresents the true position [-X


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:22 am 
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On the other hand, when I write something like this, readers should know that it's obviously exaggeration, and not supposed to be taken literally.

Unless, of course, someone is on the wind up [-(

In a thread about Highland Council fares, StuartW wrote:
Small towns 166 miles apart, with little more than sheep inbetween, apart from Inverness.


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