Obtaining a taxi driver’s licence in Prague likely to be more difficult

Photo: Kristýna Maková, Czech Radio - Radio Prague

Tests for future taxi drivers in part of the Czech Republic including the capital could soon get a little harder, requiring more than geographical knowledge or how to operate a taximeter. Under an amendment being prepared by the Transport Ministry, individual municipalities could opt for stricter rules, for example, requiring taxi drivers to complete psychological and foreign-language tests.

Photo: Kristýna Maková, Czech Radio - Radio Prague
New traffic legislation being proposed by the Transport Ministry appears likely to make it a bit harder for future cabbies to secure a license, depending on whether they are adopted by municipalities. While the eastern city of Ostrava is not planning on changes based on the proposal, Czech TV reported on Monday that Prague is aiming to take advantage, requiring taxi drivers to successfully complete a foreign language test as well as psychological evaluation. The Czech capital has more than 6,500 cabbies – in the future it could become trickier for new drivers to join their ranks. Even so, Vit Hofman, spokesman for Prague City Hall, confirmed that Prague is very much on board.

Tomáš Neřold, photo: Czech Transport Ministry
“We very much welcome the inclusion of new psychological testing and we are also considering some kind of a language test.”

Further changes proposed could also limit the maximum age of taxis in service or make it easier to remand taxi drivers’ licences in the case of transgressions, as well as tighten restrictions for service providers. Tomas Nerold, the spokesman for the country’s Transport Ministry, explains:

“We want them to bear responsibility for the driver truly having a [valid] license.”

That, however, has been met with scepticism by at least some in the taxi business. Daniel Tarjovski of the Czech Association of Taxi Concession Holders had the following response on Czech TV:

Daniel Tarljovski, photo: Czech TV
“I cannot imagine how any taxi service operator could bombard City Hall daily with thousands of requests to determine whether on any given day drivers had their licences in order.”

Along with Prague the country’s second-largest city Brno has also signalled it will adopt the proposed changes, reportedly expanding them even for so-called ‘You Drink and We Drive’ services in which a professional driver takes the owner and their vehicle home.

Liberec, north of Prague, by contrast, wants to make it easier for taxi drivers to obtain licences and easier to retake tests if need be, Czech TV said.