The professional qualification, which is designed to support and enhance key skills and behaviours, includes modules on; road safety, transporting children and young people, maintenance & safety inspections, customer service and legal regulatory framework. It is requirement of the council's licencing regulations that all taxi and private hire drivers complete the course as part of the licence application.
Following the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, LMC became aware of issues surrounding recruitment to the taxi sector nationally and, in response to this, cut the cost of the 4-day course to £100 and have increased the number of places available. The courses run each month and are well-subscribed and the fee is waived for people in receipt of means-tested benefits.
Adam Foulds, who has just completed his course, feels that it is an essential qualification for all drivers:
The course provided all the information I needed to become a professional driver and it was useful to meet other people and learn from them. It covers all the legal requirements, as well as giving us the opportunity to test our local knowledge of the area, ensuring we are giving our customers the best service.
He added that the whole process of applying for the licence was time-consuming and feels that this could be improved.
It is a long process and you have to wait for test dates, which means you can't work. I would rather pay more money and have the process speeded up, to be honest.
To enrol on the course, applicants must first register with Lancaster City Council. Each course runs for 4-days and there are start dates throughout the year.