News Item

NY taxi drivers drop 'Knowledge'

Even scant knowledge of New York's geography has been dropped for prospective New York taxi drivers - in favour of satnav.

Future taxi drivers are no longer being tested on the city's geography in order to obtain a licence. NY taxi drivers were never subjected to an examination as daunting as 'The Knowledge' - the famously tough test undertaken by London black cab drivers.

But questions about the locations of the New York's famous landmarks or routes between popular destinations have now quietly been dropped altogether from the test, after failure rates among entrants soared in recent years. Only 53% of would-be drivers passed the TLC test in 2013, down from ~80% during the 1990s. But pass rates have increased by up to 20% since the geography/navigation questions were dropped. However, the test still includes 10 questions on map-reading.

The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) said it was 'modernising' the 80-question test to provide a greater emphasis on safety issues and training. It added that the reduced focus on geography reflected the adoption of advanced navigation technology.

But some taxi industry experts believe that the success of internet-based taxi businesses was also a factor - drivers with these companies do not need to take the test to carry passengers, causing demand to drive official yellow taxis to dwindle.

The TLC rejected criticisms that it was simplifying the test, insisting instead that it was merely catching up with the reality of life on the road.

A comprehensive article can be found at the New York Times link below . .

  • 12 March 2015
  • RIN

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