A new knowledge test for taxi drivers in Victoria has hit the industry hard, with almost 99 percent of those sitting the test failing to satisfy the requirements.
The ABC reports that just six out of 444 people sitting the test between July and December last year successfully completed all of the three modules required for accreditation.
That group included both future and current taxi drivers, and has prompted warnings from existing drivers that the test is unworkable.
Of the 444, 54 people passed one or more modules and 17 existing drivers failed a module twice, losing their accreditation in the process.
The test is compulsory for potential new drivers in metropolitan Melbourne and drivers with less than five years’ experience.
The three modules include questions on navigation, customer service and driver behaviour while also examining a driver’s grasp of the English language. Drivers who fail the test are granted one additional chance to pass it within 12 months.
Driver Karen Downey has 35 years’ experience driving taxis in Victoria, and was the first to pass the test.
“Sometimes you have to read the question two or three times to work out what it is they want to know, and then there's multiple correct answers for the same question,” Ms Downey said.
Ms Downey said the scores from failed tests were currently kept from participants, who were only given a ‘pass’ or ‘not yet competent’ rating.
Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel described the results as "very poor", saying the industry has ignored warnings that a high fail-rate was to be expected from the new test.
The Taxi Industry Association has hit back, however, saying drivers need to work on improving their results rather than blaming the test.
In response, the Taxi Services Commission said it is working on a study guide for taxi drivers in an effort to boost the pass-rate.