The council’s licensing committee has introduced specialist training for Slough’s cab and taxi drivers, to ensure disabled customers can be assisted during their journeys.
The mandatory Passenger Assistant Training (PATS) will come into force from 1 January 2019.
It will focus on disability awareness training, as the committee are keen on making sure cab and taxis in the borough are accessible to all; with drivers being equipped to support and meet the needs of passengers wishing to use their services.
It will mean all new applicants looking to secure a Hackney Carriage or private hire driver’s licence will have to undertake this training before a licence is granted.
The training will also be compulsory for existing Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers. And their training must be completed within one year of 1 January 2019.
All current Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers - including combined licensed drivers - which have previously completed PATS training, will be exempt from the new requirement.
Current holders of a Hackney Carriage or private hire driver’s licence who haven’t undergone the training by 31 December 2019 will have their licence suspended until they fulfil this essential requirement, and can produce a valid certificate as confirmation of their attendance.
The training was approved by the licensing committee last month (18 October), in line with recommendations in the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy, published in July this year.
The committee have 14 PATS providers in place, who will be ready to carry out the training across the borough in the new year.
Councillor Pavitar K. Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection and a member of the committee, said: “I am extremely passionate about making sure the needs of our diverse community are met, and the services we provide reflect our commitment.
“I’m delighted we are supporting the borough’s drivers to ensure our cabs and taxis will be accessible and able to meet the varying needs of Slough’s residents.”