Licensing chiefs in Glasgow have announced their decision to keep the taxi driver test following a public consultation that highlighted its continued relevance.
The consultation, which received nearly 850 responses, revealed that 76% of participants believed the test upheld its importance within the industry.
While the test will be retained, there will be updates every three years to ensure the questions remain up to date. Additionally, to reduce waiting times for test results, the examination process will transition to a digital format.
Notably, drivers who previously left the trade will not be required to sit a new test if they return within a ten-year period.
Cllr Alex Wilson, SNP, who chairs the licensing committee, had initially expressed reservations about the test's efficacy. However, following a thorough review, he revised his position. Highlighting the value of seasoned drivers familiar with the city, Cllr Wilson emphasised the importance of their knowledge of landmarks and the ability to navigate the city without relying solely on navigation systems.
The decision to retain the test came after the council's licensing section received feedback from the taxi trade regarding the topographical test's relevance. Out of the 840 responses received, 58% came from the public, while 21% were from licensed taxi drivers themselves.
Those in favor of retaining the test believed the questions remained appropriate, with 75% of respondents supporting this view. Conversely, critics argued that drivers could rely on satellite navigation systems, suggesting the need for an updated test format that accommodates changed street names and reduces the number of questions.
According to the Glasgow Times, Cllr Wilson said: “We can all use Sat Nav. However, we’ve got the best drivers anywhere. We have got a fleet of drivers who know the city like the back of their hand.
“I think that’s what it comes down to, it’s not just a case of getting from A to B. We’ve got a lot of tourists within the city, our fleet of drivers are able to identify landmarks going round the city, I think that’s really important.
“It used to be called ‘the knowledge’ and I think that’s probably a fitting name for it.”