If you are a London-based public hire taxi driver then you will already know how difficult the Knowledge test is. This is why GoTaxi has published numerous articles explaining what the Knowledge test consists of and how you can prepare for it, however even with this advice you will still need a considerable amount of dedication. Thousands of taxi drivers in London have passed the Knowledge test and each will tell you that it is no mean feat, which is why it is not surprising to hear that taxi drivers in Melbourne are struggling with their own version of the test.
According to recent reports, a Knowledge test was introduced in Melbourne after numerous passengers complained that taxi drivers in the area had no idea where they were going. Therefore, from now on all new taxi drivers and any driver with fewer than five years’ experience must take the Knowledge test in order to prove that they know their way around the city. The test also includes questions regarding customer service and how to properly treat fares that have physical or mental disabilities.
Out of the 234 taxi drivers who took the test only 1 passed – Karen Downie, who trains drivers at a company called 13Cabs. This means that the fail rate is a massive 99.6%, however the Taxi Services Commission claim that they were not surprised that so many people failed the test as this is the first time taxi drivers in the area have ever had to prove their knowledge. Graeme Samuel, the chairman of the commission, said: “The taxi industry has reacted to the low pass rate and has already changed the way they train taxi drivers in a bid to lift standards and help drivers pass the test. This is good news.
“As more knowledge-specific training is rolled out and drivers are brought up to the appropriate standard, we should start to see these numbers climb. What all of this shows us is something that passengers have been saying for many years, that drivers aren’t being sufficiently trained before attempting the knowledge, and this needs to happen if we are ever going to see drivers pass the knowledge and lift the standards within the industry.”
As so many taxi drivers failed the test there have been concerns that there will soon be fewer taxis on the road in Melbourne, however the Taxi Services Commission has assured the public that this will not be the case. Some of the questions included in the test were multiple choice, such as what a customer means when they ask to go to the “G”: the Geelong, the post office or the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the answer is the Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as the MCG).
Other questions in the test focus on making sure drivers know the quickest routes to certain landmarks and places of interest, including museums, restaurants and bars. Some of the questions also test whether drivers actually know road laws, taxi insurance regulations, and their legal rights, such as: “When are you within your rights to refuse to carry a fare?” (The answer to this in Melbourne is if the passenger is being violent, filthy or offensive).
Taxi drivers based in London may be surprised to hear that some taxi drivers didn’t know the answer to the question “A passenger says: “Could you help me get my shopping from the boot?” What should you do?” which further highlights the fact that taxi services in Melbourne are not up to scratch. Even though most London based public hire taxi drivers will get a question wrong every now and again when taking the Knowledge test, they tend to know more about customer service and the rules of the road than their Melbourne counterparts.
Hopefully, with more training taxi drivers in Melbourne will be able to pass the knowledge test and offer their fares optimal customer service. At the same time, taxi drivers in the UK should learn from the mistakes of other taxi drivers and make sure they study as much as possible before taking the Knowledge test for a better chance of passing.