Many private-hire car drivers yet to pass licensing test as deadline looms

Some 5,300 private-hire car drivers have undergone a vocational training course but have not passed the test, which means they may be taken off the road when a licensing regime takes effect next month.

A significant number of the drivers, or 3,800 of them, attempted the test at least once but were unsuccessful, while the remaining 1,500 did not sign up at all for the test.

Another 17,700 drivers may similarly have to stop providing chauffeuring services after June 30 because they have not registered for the Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence training, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a press release yesterday.

The LTA said that about 42,900 drivers were granted the one-year concession period, which ends this month, to provide chauffeuring services - such as for apps like Grab and the now-defunct Uber - while the new vocational licensing regime was phased in.

They had applied for the new licence before July 1 last year.

The LTA said 19,900 drivers had attended the 10-hours of vocational training and passed the test.

The passing rate was 70 per cent, the LTA said.

The Straits Times reported earlier that the authorities had removed questions relating to health and security in the test - subjects which drivers felt were unrelated to their work. These topics, however, continue to be part of the curriculum.

Drivers and at least one Member of Parliament have proposed that the test for the new licence should not be conducted just in English, but also in other major languages.

Responding to this, the LTA said yesterday: "The provision of chauffeured service puts drivers in contact with a wide range of commuters every day.

"Hence, private-hire car and taxi drivers must be able to speak simple English to communicate effectively with all commuters - both Singaporeans and tourists. Drivers must also be able to read English, so that they can navigate roads and buildings, the names of which are primarily in English," it added.

The LTA encouraged drivers who need help to improve their English to sign up for the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications Workplace Literacy Programme, or an equivalent course.

It added that for those needing help with the course content, there are remedial classes conducted by the Singapore Taxi Academy and ComfortDelGro Taxi training centres.

Those who would have to give up chauffeuring next month can approach the Employment and Employability Institute or Workforce Singapore for employment assistance, the LTA said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Many private-hire car drivers yet to pass licensing test as deadline looms'. Subscribe