A PILOT scheme for taxi drivers to "earn as they learn" is being introduced in Basildon to combat a drop in cabbies since the Covid pandemic. 

The scheme allows trainee taxi drivers an extended period to pass the "topographical section" of the knowledge test on local routes, as well as being able to work as a private hire driver while training. 

The scheme was suggested in response to concerns highlighted by the Basildon Taxi and Private Hire Forum that the trade is experiencing a reduction in the number of licensed drivers, including new applicants, following the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Councillor Danny Lawrence, chairman of Basildon Council’s licensing committee, welcomed the scheme to boost the number of taxi drivers in the town. 


He said: “We are keen to encourage new driver applicants into Basildon, to boost our driver numbers and help our residents who want to access quality local transport options. 

“We hope that by giving drivers the chance to earn while they are learning our local areas, they will be supported to pass the topographical test to achieve the same professional standards as other licence holders. 

"This will then mean they can have a licence giving them greater flexibility to drive private hire or hackney carriage vehicles licensed by Basildon Council, with all the benefits that brings.”  

In order to become an “Earn as you learn” licensed driver the applicant will still need to meet existing pre-licensing criteria to ensure appropriate passenger safety, including passing a criminal record check, a driving assessment, medical and passenger assistance training, as well as other checks. 

The council’s licensing team will continue to engage with the Basildon Taxi Forum and representatives of the taxi trade as the pilot scheme progresses. 

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Regular updates and a final report will be presented to the licensing committee to monitor progress and consider future options. 

“Earn as you learn” is a nine-month pilot scheme. 

The application window opens on Monday and will close on March 31. 

For further information contact licensing@basildon.gov.uk.