The geographical "knowledge" test for taxi drivers in Bury is to be scrapped.

To gain a taxi licence, drivers currently have to take a geographical test correctly identifying locations and the most direct routes in the borough.

Revised taxi standards agreed by the council will see the geographical element of the test thrown out due to "changes to modern practices and increased use of GPS equipment".

The council said the new standards would "maintain passenger and driver safety and support the licensed trade".

The decision followed a period of consultation with the public and the industry, and will cover both Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

The new standards also include changes to signs on vehicles.

The current knowledge test for cabbies in Bury sees them asked to pinpoint three locations using a map, face 15 questions on road names of where premises are located and recount two journeys by the shortest route between two specific locations from memory.

The new knowledge test would not have any geographical element but would be revised to cover other topics in greater depth which are relevant to public safety such as licence conditions, safeguarding and road signs.

The council said the changes were "aimed at modernising and reflecting changes in current operating practices".

New standards include the requirement for a rear passenger door sticker on each door, issued by the council, stating "private hire vehicle not insured unless pre-booked with operator".

Signs will need to be stuck permanently to all passenger windows and must contain the plate number, registration number, expiry date and the number of passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry.

Cllr Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture, the economy and skills at the council, said: “We’ve worked closely with the licensed taxi trade and appreciate their co-operation in drawing up these changes, which reinforce our shared commitment to ensure that the service they provide meets the highest standards of safety for drivers and passengers alike.”

A spokesman for Bury Private Hire Drivers’ Association said: “The taxi industry is an essential service that ensures the community’s safe and reliable transportation.

“The council’s dedication to reviewing policies demonstrates their understanding of the ever-evolving landscape of the taxi trade and their commitment to meeting the needs of both drivers and passengers.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the licensing service to create an environment that fosters growth, innovation, and the highest standard of service within the taxi industry.”

A council report approved by both members of the licensing committee and later the full council, said: “The knowledge test was introduced reflecting the technology at the time which was a reliance on physical maps and practical knowledge of the area.

“The licensing service is conscious of the rapid development of technology which it is accepted is widely used currently by the private hire trade. “Furthermore, the council is committed to addressing concerns of the trade and members regarding decreasing numbers of licensed drivers in Bury and increasing numbers of licensed vehicles and drivers from ‘out of town’ areas.

“With readily accessible modern technology used by the trade, the licensing service believe that the geographic element of the knowledge test has been effectively rendered unnecessary.”

The new standards will come into effect for all new applications from January 1.