Getting around Melbourne to become easier under new taxi plan.Melburnians and tourists will find getting around Melbourne even easier under a Brumby Government plan to have all new metropolitan taxi drivers complete a comprehensive test of Melbourne landmarks, Minister for Public Transport Lynne Kosky, announced today.
Ms Kosky said as part of the plan all new applicants for licences to drive taxis would need to pass a Knowledge of Melbourne Test in addition to existing accreditation requirements.
The newly accredited course will also include stronger literacy requirements and conflict resolution training and is the next step in the Government's commitment to improve Melbourne's taxi services.
"Taxis are an integral part of Victoria's transport network and we believe these tests will increase driver knowledge and confidence, which in turn will mean a more comfortable and enjoyable journey for passengers," Ms Kosky said.
"Improving literacy standards will result in better communication between new drivers and their passengers, particularly international tourists."
As part of the Knowledge of Melbourne test, new taxi driver applicants must correctly identify 40 locations out of 45, randomly selected from a list of 100 major Melbourne landmarks including theatres, sporting venues, hospitals and shopping centres.
The literacy components of the new course must be passed by each new driver. Drivers will have to pass the landmarks test without the use of a street directory.
Taxi drivers will also receive training in conflict resolution to help them handle and prevent verbal or physical assaults. Drivers will learn how to manage other issues including road rage from other drivers, fare evasion and intimidation.
Ms Kosky said the Brumby Government had worked closely with the taxi industry to develop the new course.
The Knowledge of Melbourne Test will be progressively rolled out to registered training organisations who are accredited by the Victorian Taxi Directorate to train new drivers from now to July.
"There are more than 45 million taxi passenger trips each year and it's important that the journey is safe and comfortable for both the passenger and driver," she added.
"Taxi drivers provide a valuable community service helping Victorians to travel safely and we hope the course will give drivers the tools to handle aggressive or abusive passengers. This new course forms part of the Victorian Taxi Safety Strategy announced last year and reaffirms the Brumby's Government's commitment to improving the state's taxi services."