Carlisle taxi drivers' spoken English to be tested

Cabbies in Carlisle will have to pass a verbal English test to gain a licence.

Scrapping the current written test follows concerns some drivers cannot communicate with passengers.

Carlisle Taxi Association chairman Wayne Casey said there was a "reasonable expectation" a driver would be able to speak English.

The city council said it had received applications from people born in countries including Bangladesh, Poland, Afghanistan and Romania.

The move was agreed at a meeting of the authority's regulatory panel earlier.

Applicants currently sit a written test which assesses their geographical knowledge, disability awareness and understanding of cash, tariffs and their licence.

The new test will be free but, if the driver fails, re-sits will cost £10.

It will apply to new applicants, but existing licence holders may be asked to take it if their language skills are "called into question", the council said.

Other councils, such as Wrexham and Liverpool, already have verbal tests for taxi and private hire drivers.

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