Last week we discussed how local authorities in Hull were calling for taxi drivers to have to take a course before being given their licence which teaches route planning, basic language and numerical skills, and the background of the city. Today we have seen that taxi drivers from Dundee in Scotland are also going back to school in order to work towards a qualification and help them to become even better at their trade.
The course, called Road Passenger Vehicle Driving, currently has eighteen taxi drivers that have just embarked on their first Level 2 SVQ module. The course will help taxi drivers develop their customer service skills, as well as information on how to improve safety whilst on the job. The course was created due to the fact that there had been complaints from members of the public, and the council wanted to address these problems before a new influx of tourists arrives to the area to see the newly built V&A museum and waterfront redevelopment.
Stewart Hunter, licencing committee convener at Dundee City Council announced the plans for the course earlier this month and said: “The vast majority of taxi drivers are excellent, but there is a small minority who have attracted complaints. We want visitors to have a good impression of the city. We do not want people’s first image of Dundee to be negative. Unfortunately, it turned out that some people weren’t happy with the attitude or helpfulness of some drivers. Some places down south have started offering these qualifications for taxi drivers, and bus drivers and long-distance lorry drivers already have to do things like this. The Government is also advising councils to put taxi drivers through some sort of training.”
“So between the council’s feedback from the public and the advice being given by the Government, it seems as though we’re going to be moving towards qualifications for drivers.” Customer service is an important part of the job for taxi drivers, as those that are known to be unhelpful may end up having fewer fares, eventually losing money and struggling to pay for their vehicle upkeep or taxi insurance.
One of the taxi drivers on the course and chairman of the Dundee Taxi Association, Graeme Stephen was positive about the new course and said: “The course went very well and a lot of interesting points came up. I’ve driven taxis for 20-odd years but there are always things to learn, especially the health and safety aspects we have to deal with. Those will help not only with passenger safety but also our own safety.”