Taxi driver numbers down again in Hartlepool

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COUNCILLORS will meet next week to consider the impact a new driving test is having on the numbers of Hartlepool taxi drivers.

Since April 2011 all new hackney carriage and private hire drivers have been required to take and pass the Driving Standards Agency Taxi Test.

The test costs £79 and includes a practical and theory test to make sure the applicant can transport passengers in safety and comfort.

Since the test was brought in, Hartlepool Borough Council has seen a significant drop in the number of new applicants in recent years.

In 2012, the council issued 32 new driver licences, compared to 38 in the previous year.

At its height around 90 new drivers were applying each year between 2007 and 2010.

But a council report says the introduction of the tests also coincided with the loss of various job creation schemes and employment grant funding that previously helped new taxi drivers apply.

The report states: “It is not possible to state, with any certainty, why the number of new applications has fallen over recent years.”

The council’s licensing committee will consider the update and the impact of the tests.

The committee is due to meet on Wednesday at Hartlepool Civic Centre at 10am.