Updated: Feb 14
Preston City Council has teamed up with a training provider to assist new taxi and private hire applicants.
Preston currently requires applicants to attain a BTEC Level 2 VRQ - Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi & Private Hire Driver - which requires applicants to attend a five day course.
This is in addition to checks on medical, driving and criminal records and the passing of a local knowledge test.
This partnership with Antrec Limited has allowed the council to access funding for applicants, which could reduce the application costs by between £300 and £450 per person.
In order to assist new applicants into the trades and to achieve administrative efficiencies within its Licensing Services team, the council is now assisted by Antrec Limited to deliver regular induction sessions at the Town Hall and the VRQ training course for anyone interested in becoming a licensed driver.
The first of these new induction sessions was held on 23 January when 19 persons attended to receive information about becoming a professional driver, funding opportunities and the application procedure along with undertaking English and Math assessments.
Applicant Paul Heron enjoyed the two hour induction course at the Town Hall and said: "The training provider has been really helpful. I wasn't aware of the funding so that was a big bonus."
Councillor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for planning and regulation, praised the new driver application process saying: "The new process has provided an efficiency saving for the council and by working in partnership with Antrec Limited it has allowed us access to relevant funding streams. I hope this will encourage more people to consider being a professional driver and it should assist the trades in attracting new drivers.
"We have very high standards for taxi and private hire drivers in Preston and I am confident that these new arrangements will enable those new to the role to reach and maintain these standards in delivering an excellent service to citizens and visitors to Preston."
Frank West, Operations and Business Partnership Manager at Antrec Limited added: "We are delighted to have been chosen to work in partnership with Preston City Council.
"The qualification and taxi licence application process puts public safety and customer service at the forefront, both things we know the council are keen to champion. We look forward to continuing our inductions for new applicants and to help maintain the high standards expected of taxi and private hire drivers across Preston."
Preston has approximately 960 licensed taxi and private hire drivers. Licences are issued for a period of 3 years. The application fee is £120. Knowledge test costs £33. The DBS application fee is £44 and the VRQ training and exam is approximately £300, which funding is now available for.
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