Taxi drivers must 'pass route tests, have good English' and told to adopt dress code

Taxi drivers in Sandwell will have to pass a tougher test proving knowledge of the area, good English – and will also have a dress code.

The rules on clothing, footwear and personal hygiene has been branded ‘ridiculous’ by taxi chiefs.

They will also be required to undertake training on issues around child sexual exploitation and disability as part of the new Sandwell Council rules.

There will also be ban on tinted windows and the council says it will no longer be accepting driving experience in other countries.

Prospective cabbies must have held a full UK licence for two years and will have to pay for the suitability test.

Existing drivers with serious criminal offences are to have their licences reviewed by the council’s licensing committee.

Shaz Saleem, of the West Midlands Taxi Drivers Association, said: “Some of the ideas in these new policies are ridiculous.

"Having a dress code is ridiculous. That has nothing to do with customers’ safety. That is not going to make any difference.”

Mr Saleem welcomed improvements to the knowledge test, but said drivers should not have to pay extra as it should be part of the licence.

Councillor Preet Gill, cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “The public’s safety is at the top of our priorities.

"Something which I think is really important is that they will now have to go through CSE training.

"We have started rolling it out gradually but it will now be something they all have to do.”

The current verbal knowledge test requires the applicant for a drivers licence to answer 10 questions based on the law and conditions attached to the licence.

Any applicants must answer eight questions correctly in order to pass the test, and must do so within three attempts.

But this current knowledge test does not contain any arithmetic, Highway Code, or location questions and is described in the report as ‘weak.’

The tinted windows rule does not apply to limos or those vehicles already fitted with them prior to the new rules.

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Comments for: "Taxi drivers must 'pass route tests, have good English' and told to adopt dress code"


Fully agree, I don't mind paying more or waiting longer for a taxi especially if it means the driver will be wearing a nice shirt.


this needs to be adopted be adopted by the idiots at Wolverhampton council


Existing drivers with serious criminal offences (as in appalling grammar?) are to have their licences reviewed !!!! Do these drivers never come into contact with vulnerable people? Is SMBC not aware of the number of serious sexual assaults on passengers by drivers in the last 12 months? Are they not regularly subjected to a DBS check? If not, why in hell not?


There also needs to be something written into their licence that if they fail to carry blind passengers and their guide dogs, they will lose their licence, with no right of appeal.


Absolutely agree with dress code, personal hygiene etc. Also the issue of smoking in the taxi between fares needs to be addressed and the state of some interior car seats....yuk!

Olly the cat

I hope these new regulations extend to driver's body odour. Many drivers don't seem to know what a bar of soap or a can of deodorant is for. To put it bluntly, they stink!

Our ed

My guess the same can apply to some passengers? Although realistically speaking and aside from your quite blatant ignorance, quite a few drivers I imagine do not smell. Launder their clothes regularly, shock horror! And yes take some pride in their appearance. Brush their teeth? You know, like many normal people do.

Olly the cat

Read my comment and you will see that it says many drivers, not all drivers.

Our ed

Good that you admit that many do not fall into the category which you've suggested then? So why didn't you say so?

Bit like the personal hygiene of many people in general, it varies massively, therefore human nature dictates does it not.

In other words and frankly put anyone can smell however hard some people think stereotyping does anything for their argument which it does not. Some of the comments on here are quite puerile although some albeit take a slightly more humorous route so fair enough. Hopefully it is seen as such.

Olly the cat

I agree with Our ed when he says that people in all walks of life can have poor hygiene. But anybody working in a customer service based job should not. I work in customer service for a well known national company and I am expected to be well presented and represent the company in a positive manner at all times. What would you think if you went into a department store or supermarket and the person on the customer service desk stunk like a skunk? Why should taxi drivers or any customer facing employees fail on basic hygiene?

Our ed

I do not disagree with your reasoning, never have, however I'd perhaps hesitate at saying the word many? Some maybe yes.

May i suggest sitting near side rear with the window fully ajar, bunch of pansies optional. When for example any less than immaculate driver mentions tips you could possibly reply by stating..1.slow down on the corners 2.replace the smelly tree on the rear view mirror with a soap bar. 3.add water.

Olly the cat

Funny you should mention tips, Ed. I don't tip taxi drivers who stink. I just give them the exact fare on the meter.