If you wish to become a taxi driver then the steps involved will vary between local councils, this blog explains how it works in Crawley, it may differ slightly in other areas.
Firstly have a look at the Crawley council website for information on how to start the application process.
The DVSA Taxi Test
Crawley Borough Council requires all applicants to pass a DVSA Taxi Test before they get their Private Hire Licence, more information on the test can be found on the gov.uk website. It is worth mentioning people often have misconceptions about DVSA Driving Test, such as you must do push-pull steering, have a look at my other blog post to put some of there misconceptions at rest.
Stopping on the left
You will be asked to stop on the left a few times, this is to check that you have good awareness and planning skills to find a safe place to stop to drop off your passenger, when you stop secure the car (handbrake and neutral) so your car has not risk of moving off while your passenger gets out. When moving off make sure you check your blindspot, a habit that driver often forget, as there could be driveways, side roads or pedestrians in the blindspot that you need to acknowledge.
Have a watch of this video for more information on stopping on the left.
Turning the car around
As mentioned on the gov.uk website, during your taxi test you will be required to turn the vehicle around to face the opposite direction during the test. It is down to you to choose how to best do this, but you must show you can do it safely and legally, so reversing INTO a side road is best practice, avoid reversing out onto the main road as the traffic will be travelling faster and it will be more dangerous. Of course you could also do a turn in the road (3 point turn) or turn around using the mouth of a junction (taxi turn), ensuring very good observations, so checking mirrors and both blindspots frequently to ensure you always know what is around you.
Can you confidently say what the above three signs mean? If not you need to revise road signs, as on the test you will also be asked some theory questions, typically 10 questions, 2 "Cabology" questions, 3 Highway Code questions and 5 questions on road signs. I suggest you have a look at the theory section of my website to help revise the Highway Code, also have a look at the 'Know Your Traffic Signs' book/PDF. Below are the Cabology questions.
You will be ask 2 Cabology questions for a Private Hire Licence, below are the typical examples of questions you will be asked, please note the questions may differ if you are applying for a 'Black Cab' licence.
Question: As a licensed taxi driver, what must you carry with you at all times?
Answer: Cab drivers licence and badge (displayed in a conspicuous place)
Question: If you found an item of property left in your taxi, what would you do with it?
Answer: Hand it in at a Police Station within 24 hours.
Question: What is the minimum legal requirement of a tyres tread depth?
Question: If the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are driving are 35psi at the front and 40psi at the rear, what would you consider the correct pressure for the spare to be?
Answer: 40psi, because it would be easier to deflate than inflate a tyre at the roadside.
Question:As a Private Hire taxi driver, what is your main responsibility?
Answer: The safety and comfort of your passengers.
Question: How would you show consideration for passengers alighting from your vehicle?
Answer: Stop close to the kerb and avoid proximity to obstructions (street furniture,trees, grass, puddles etc)
Remember - The examiner expects you to be an experienced driver and to drive like one, not like a learner, so if it is safe to get up to the speed limit then do it! Also have a look here for some final tips on general driving.