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All new applicants for a hackney carriage or private hire driver's licence must pass a knowledge test.  This is to make sure that all drivers have a good working knowledge of the local area, the Highway Code and taxi law.

Before you can take the knowledge test you'll need to attend an interview with a licensing officer.  At this interview, the officer will give you information about when you can take the knowledge test.  The test must be booked in advance.

Existing hackney and private hire drivers may also have to take a knowledge test if:

  • we receive relevant complaints about them
  • their driver's licence isn't renewed in time before the expiry date

What is included in the test?

You will be asked 48 questions in total and there are 4 sections to the test which are:

  • Local geography.  You'll be asked 24 questions about the local area and you must get at least 18 correct.  You'll be asked before the test if you'll mainly work from the East, Mid or West of the district and you'll be asked questions about this area. The questions will relate to routes, local landmarks and popular destinations.
  • Highway Code.  All drivers must have an excellent knowledge of the Highway Code.  You'll be asked 8 questions about this and you must get at least 6 correct.
  • Numeracy.  You'll be asked 8 questions about this and you must get at least 6 correct.  These will be basic maths questions and hackney drivers will also need to answer questions about tariff charges.
  • Taxi law and policy.   You'll be asked 8 questions relating to basic taxi law and our hackney and private hire driver and vehicle licensing policy.  You'll need to answer at least 6 questions correctly.

Test procedure and rules 

The test must be pre-booked and you'll need to let us know before the test if you'll be working from the East, Mid or West of the district.

You must bring photographic ID with you to the test - even if you have met the licensing officer previously.  This must be either a driving licence or passport.

When you sit the test, a licensing officer will be present at all times.  You may ask them any general questions but they will not be able to help you with the test.  The following items cannot be used during the test:

  • Mobile phone
  • Calculator
  • Pager
  • Personal laptop/PC
  • Other communications equipment
  • Paperwork/documentation
  • any books/magazines or similar
  • Any other equipment/materials that may help with the test

If you are taken ill during the test or if you need to leave the room for any reason, the test will be stopped and you may need to re-sit the test at another time.  The licensing officer present will make a decision on this and will tell you at the time.

A serious view will be taken of any action that may be seen as cheating during a test and if the licensing officer present feels that cheating has taken place, the test will automatically be failed.

Test results

You won't receive the test results immediately but a licensing officer will contact you within 3 working days of the test to let you know if you've passed.

If you don't pass the test first time, you'll be able to take it again after at least 2 weeks have passed.

You'll be allowed 3 attempts at the test in total and if you haven't passed after the third attempt you'll need to wait at least 12 months before you can take the test again. 

There is no fee payable if you pass the test first time but if you need to re-sit the test this will cost £30 each time payable before you take the test.