24th time lucky as cabbie passes test

Persistence has paid off for one taxi driver who finally obtained a licence to drive a cab — after 24 attempts.

Figures provided by the National Transport Authority show that one applicant for a taxi licence finally succeeded in passing the entry test after failing on 23 previous occasions — in the space of 18 months.

Two other individuals only succeeded in qualifying for a taxi plate on their 12th sitting of the test.

The NTA has confirmed that the two-part test to become a taxi driver has a high failure rate with more than half of all applicants not being successful.

Over an 18-month period up to September 2015, a total of 1,853 persons attempted the tests overseen by the NTA with just 856 obtaining the required marks — a pass rate of 46%. 

The test which examines both industry and area knowledge is designed to verify that applicants know the regulations governing the industry as well as having a good working knowledge of the county in which they wish to operate.

The industry test examines the applicant’s knowledge of the industry’s rules, map reading, fare and charges and health and safety matters as well as knowledge of their vehicle.

Existing taxi licence holders who wish to be licensed to operate in an extra county must pass the area knowledge test for that county.

NTA figures show that over 41% of successful applicants pass the test on their first attempt, with nearly a further 25% being successful on their second attempt.

However, over 2% of those who passed needed to sit a minimum of eight tests before they qualified to obtain a licence.

On average, it takes 2.4 test attempts to pass the test for successful candidates.

The NTA administers the tests for prospective taxi drivers but decisions on the granting and issuing of licences, including vetting, reside with gardaí.

The industry knowledge section consists of 54 questions and the area knowledge part has 36 questions in a test lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. Candidates need a score of 80% in each section to pass.

There are currently 27,056 active driver licences across the Republic — down from a peak of more than 47,000 in 2009.


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