Digital skills a must from March for those seeking private-hire, taxi licences

Drivers trying to secure a licence for a taxi or private-hire car will need to know how to use digital maps and navigational tools as part of a revised training curriculum.

The emphasis on digital skills will also see them learn about new technologies such as electric vehicles.

This is to prepare drivers for the future and reinforce the need for upskilling, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday.

The changes will impact all drivers pursuing a taxi driver's vocational licence (TDVL) or a private-hire car driver's vocational licence (PDVL) from March next year.

"The updated curriculum keeps pace with regulatory and technological advancements to help taxi and private-hire car drivers adapt to new and evolving developments.

"It also places greater emphasis on the use of digital tools to aid their daily driving," said LTA.

The updated curriculum was developed by Singapore Polytechnic's Professional and Adult Continuing Education Academy.

It consulted various stakeholders in the industry, including drivers, the National Taxi Association, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, and training and testing providers.

LTA said that with the new TDVL curriculum, drivers will need only 16 hours of classroom training.

They currently require 25 hours of training, comprising 16 hours in the classroom and nine hours of self-study.

For the PDVL course, drivers will need only eight hours of classroom training, which cuts out the two hours of self-study under the current curriculum.

There is no change to the duration of the TDVL refresher course, which involves three hours of classroom training for active drivers, and five hours of classroom training for inactive drivers.

LTA said the course fees will remain the same. Currently, the fees are $294.25 for the TDVL course, and $155.15 for the PDVL course.

Private-hire car drivers who wish to convert their licence and obtain a TDVL will need to attend only an eight-hour course.

They currently attend a two-day course and sit a test.

LTA added that more details on the conversion course will be announced at a later date.

In its statement, the authority also announced that vocational licence training and testing will be separated from January.

The Singapore Taxi Academy will cease to be a provider of TDVL and PDVL training and testing after its service agreement with LTA expires on Dec 31.

Drivers who wish to apply for a vocational licence or need a refresher course may register with ComfortDelGro Taxi and NTUC LearningHub.

Singapore Poly, which was appointed as a test centre in August last year by LTA, will remain as the testing provider for the vocational licence and conversion course.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2021, with the headline 'Digital skills a must from March for those seeking private-hire, taxi licences'. Subscribe