Thursday, March 20

Bournmouth Taxi Test.

More than 100 Bournemouth taxi drivers have been suspended for failing to take a health and safety exam which has been branded as demeaning and silly. The course covers topics such as how to talk to customers, assessing their body language in the rear-view mirror and even “conflict management”.
Another part amazingly tells them how to lift a suitcase. This teaches the driver to “risk assess” before doing so, by sizing up the shape of the load, the surrounding environment and their fitness level.
But a large proportion of the cabbies in Bournemouth, Dorset, opted out after branding it “patronising common sense.”
Council officials have now suspended 101 licenses and they will only be given back if the drivers sign up to the tax-payer funded course within the next two months.
One local cabbie says “I admit that some of the information is useful, like how to react if you come across a serious accident, but the majority is just common sense. “It’s an idiot’s course, it’s ridiculous.” “You are even told how to say hello to a customer and lift luggage - it’s quite patronising really.”
Their drivers were given until February 2008 to sit the exam and were told they would be suspended if they did not meet the deadline.
Text books covering topics including licensing regulations, carriage of luggage, route planning, disability awareness and customer service were given to the drivers.
In the customer service book, drivers are told to revise a diagram about how to talk to passengers. It has three childish green speech bubbles with glaringly obvious examples of greetings to say as a customer climbs into the taxi, like “hello Mrs Smith”, “nice to see you again” and “good morning, how are you?”
Drivers are also told to learn how to read body language from their rear-view mirror.
The book states: “Being able to recognise body language and facial expressions is essential when dealing with customers.
Drivers are also advised on “conflict management techniques” to help cool difficult situations with passengers and are recommended to remember five symbols to help them.
They are a “wise owl” which symbolises teamwork and co-operation to achieve a solution, a “wily fox” which represents winning something while losing a little.
The “soft teddy bear” approach appeases others by down-playing conflict; the “man-eating shark” represents the driver winning the argument or conflict while the “elderly turtle” approach means you walk away.
Another book has a large section on “Carriage of Luggage and Parcels”.
There is a diagram showing a human-shaped model bending down to lift a box.
Bournemouth council was the first authority to adopt the course as a requirement for the town’s taxi and private hire drivers.
“We are proud to be an authority who is leading the way by providing our drivers with this training" they say.
“Almost 700 of our drivers have successfully qualified and should be congratulated on their achievement with a number of others currently training. “We have to take firm action against those drivers who have not trained.” As well as the 700 drivers who have completed the course, another 200 have signed up to it while the rest have been suspended.
My god lets hope this silly training scheme doesn’t become more widespread. The books sound like something written for five year olds, what’s the world coming to.


Karl said...

I pinned this post to the station taxi notice board in Brighton. Our council always goes for cookie ideas like this and there are big hints in the news that it will be thus. Lord above what next? Looks like the only way we can rebel is by turning the course into a festival of sarcasm. Maybe even turn up pissed.

Bob said...

karl:I won't be a bit surprised if and when it goes nationwide. As for turning up pissed, well that will be the next stage, compulsory alcohol and drugs tests. Oh and maybe that will include tobacco as well.

roshin said...

Any body have a idea about knowledge test