Taxi drivers in Hampshire could soon face English language tests as part of council efforts to raise service quality and safety.
A series of proposals from East Hampshire DC designed to improve the local Hackney Carriage and private hire trade includes tougher sanctions on drivers who breach their licence and for the first time, new applicants for taxi licences would have to pass both a test to prove their knowledge about the local district and ability with the English language.
Cllr Bob Ayer, chairman of East Hampshire’s licensing committee, said: ‘Taxis and private hire vehicles provide an important service to the local community, especially in a rural district such as East Hampshire.
‘We want to ensure our taxis and private hire vehicles provide a safe, comfortable, well-respected, professional service in our district. We have worked closely with the trade to shape this new policy and we will continue to listen to their views as we move forward.’
Operators who subcontract bookings to other firms would be forced to notify customers which business is undertaking the journey.
A restricted private hire driver badge would also be introduced for applicants who wish to only carry out contract work for the local authority.
Proposals have been put together in response to feedback from the trade and the latest national taxi guidance.
A consultation on the plans will be extended to the public, taxi trade and private hire firms over the next two months.