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Guildford taxi 'Knowledge Test' rise questioned

2 minute read
Guildford taxi 'Knowledge Test' rise questioned

Published at 12:34pm 8th January 2019.

A Guildford councillor has questioned a rise of more than 100% on charges for cabbies to take the Knowledge Test when their Uber competitors use satnavs.

Cllr James Walsh said the proposed changes by Guildford Borough Council on fees for hackney carriages and private vehicles seemed to be a “disadvantage”.

The council is now seeking feedback from taxi drivers over the changes which include the cost of the Knowledge Test for a hackney carriage doubling from £48.05 to £100.50 under the new measures.

The exam tests drivers on their navigation skills around their borough as well as understanding of legislation.

Officers say this is due to a change in the way costs are calculated and to the rise of Uber in the borough leading to more drivers switching to work for the mobile phone app taxi service.

A one-year licence for a hackney carriage will increase by £28.95 to £249.74 in April. 

And taxi drivers will see the bill for renewing their five-year licence go up by £422.43 to £970.97.

Councillors agreed the proposed changes at Guildford’s licensing committee on Monday (January 7).

Cabbies can now comment on the proposals and if no objection is raised they will come into effect on April 1. 

Speaking of the Knowledge test cost increase, Cllr Walsh said:
“How essential is that in the age of satnavs? It seems like a competitive disadvantage as they are effectively paying double than last year for something Uber drivers will not use.”

Mike Smith, borough licensing team leader, said there was still justification for the test as it made sure drivers were aware of legislation as well as locations and that not everyone always knew the postcode of where they wanted to go.