Tests for Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence revised

This article is more than 12 months old

For private-hire car drivers struggling to pass the vocational licence course required to continue their livelihood, there may be some reprieve.

The authorities say they have revised the tests for the Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL) to remove questions on the topics of counter-terrorism and health, which drivers have lamented were unrelated to chauffeuring.

Multiple-choice questions in a mock exam published by the Singapore Taxi Academy (STA), for example, ask about the recommended healthy range for an adult's body mass index, the symptoms of diabetes or the elements of terrorism.

Such questions have been removed from the tests recently, according to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Though health and terrorism topics will not be tested, they remain in the curriculum.

This is because "it is essential for the drivers to understand the importance of their role in counter-terrorism efforts in Singapore, and the occupational health risks that can arise from long hours of driving", an LTA spokesman said.

Ms How Shu Min, 30, who drives for Grab, agrees.

"I feel the content for private-hire drivers regarding health is good to have but not necessary to be tested," she said.

As of late last month, there were 23,900 private-hire drivers who had yet to undergo the PDVL training or to pass the exam. If they fail to secure a licence by the end of this month, they will have to stop ferrying passengers for fares.

These drivers were given a one-year grace period to get their licence.

The passing rate for the PDVL test is 70 per cent, LTA said.

Content aside, drivers who find the course and test challenging are usually weaker in English, trainers said. One driver said he failed to pass the test despite trying 15 times.

STA has been holding remedial classes for drivers who fail the course. But National Private Hire Vehicles Association executive adviser Ang Hin Kee said this does not tackle the issue of literacy.

"The authorities could have intervened early and provided progressive support in terms of literacy. There could also be career coaching and guidance to help refer those who might be better suited for other jobs," he added. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ILYDA CHUA