PCO License Training

There isn’t really any set pco license training or training providers for getting your PCO license but there are certain things you can do to make the process run a lot smoother and ensure you have a good chance of getting your license first time.

Requirements

First off make sure you fulfil the requirements for becoming PCO licensed (Age, Character, Medical fitness, Route finding skills, Driving ability) then the only training you will need to take is to help you pass the topographical skills assessment. This is for the ‘route finding’ requirement of the job as most of what you will be doing is driving, something which you will have probably been doing for quite a while.

Route Finding Skills

Private Hire Driver London MapYou can see the exact specification for the topographical skills assessment on the topographical skills specification list page which will give you an insight into what you will need to know and there are . This will give you an idea of the type of questions you will be asked and you can prepare for these buy buying an A-Z map and a Road Atlas. If you want more coaching and training then most approved testing centres will offer training and advice before your test although you will often have to pay for this service.

A list of accredited topographical testing centres can be downloaded here and this includes their details, costs, and also whether they provide training. Costs for your topographical test range from £25-£50 for a half-day session including training, the assessment, and the pass certificate.

Further Training

Apart from this there is no other formal training apart from when you get a job with a licensed operator who may have their own training and also your own personal training in order to keep to certain standards so that your customers get the best service.

PCO Topographical Skills Specification & Training

The Following is the complete topographical skills specification list and this should prove helpful as anyone wishing to obtain a PCO “London Private Hire Drivers Licence” will need to undergo a Topographical Skills Assessment Test before their PCO Licence can be granted. With this information you should be able to study for your test and have the confidence to pass first time and continue your journey of getting your PCO Licence. Please note, not only do we carry out the topographical skills  assessment test but we also provide fully tailored topographical training packages which guarantee to get you PASSED the first time round. Please read our site for more information.

Part 1 – Overview

1. Introduction and background

2. Assessment structure

3. Module/Unit descriptions

4. Guidance on structure

5. Guidance on delivery – instruction/assessment methods

6. Recording evidence

Part 2 – Topographical Test: Module/unit structure

Part 3 – Detailed assessment criteria

Module/Unit 1: Ability to comprehend a map index, read a map and locate streets or places on a map

Module/Unit 2: Route selection (Local)

Module/Unit 3: Route selection (Intermediate)

Module/Unit 4: Route selection (Long distance)

Module/Unit 5: General Topography

 

Part 1 – Overview

1. Introduction and background

1.1 The PCO award in private hire topographical skills has been designed to meet the needs of private hire drivers wishing to work within the Greater London area. To fulfil the statutory requirement the Licensing Authority requires applicants to show to the authority’s satisfaction (whether by taking a test or otherwise) that they possess a level of:

(a) knowledge of London or parts of London, and

(b) general topographical skills, which appears to the authority to be appropriate.

1.2 In consultation with the private hire trade associations in London, and following widespread public consultation in July 2002, this specification has been developed and is considered to represent the appropriate standard of topographical skill that a private hire driver in London needs to demonstrate in order to become licensed.

2. Assessment structure

2.1 The assessment comprises five specific units or modules, which are:

Module 1 – Map reading ability

Module 2 – Route selection (Local)

Module 3 – Route selection (Intermediate)

Module 4 – Route selection (Long distance)

Module 5 – General topography

2.2 Paragraphs 2.3 to 6.1 below are intended to give practical guidance examples as to how an applicant can be assessed. These examples should not be regarded as prescriptive or necessarily appropriate to every applicant, but should be used as a framework for assessing each applicant in accordance with the detailed examples contained within Part 2 of this document entitled

‘Module Unit Structure’.

2.3 Module 1

The fundamental topographical skill of being able to understand how to use a map, index and grid reference system is assessed in Module 1.

2.4 Modules 2, 3 & 4

Each route selection module requires the applicant to identify the location of the start and finish points, demonstrate the appropriate route between the two points and answer a question related to the selected route.

It is considered appropriate that candidates can demonstrate the ability to use maps of different scales depending on the type of route to be planned. This can be achieved by requiring candidates to demonstrate a variety of route types. By asking for a broad range of skills, the assessment remains fitted to all types of private hire driver in all areas of London.

It is proposed that the assessment system would allow a candidate to select the area of the start points according to personal preference e.g. borough, postcode etc. of their home address or operating centre.

This allows the system to be designed to meet the needs of individual candidates, with questions based on the area in which they choose to operate. By tailoring the questions in this manner, not only are applicants demonstrating topographical skills but also applying their personal knowledge of London.

2.5 Module 5: General Topography

Whilst Modules 1, 2, 3 & 4 are assessing the fundamental topographical skills required of a private hire driver, Module 5 is designed to assess their more general knowledge of London and, as such, it should be assessed without reference to a map or other aid.

It is suggested that the subjects of questions 5D to 5I (as set out in Part 2) would relate to major locations e.g. airports, towns, cities etc. outside the Greater London area.

3. Module/Unit descriptions

3.1 Module/unit 1 is designed to assess the fundamental topographical skill of being able to understand how to use a map index and grid reference system. Module/units 2,3 and 4 require the applicant to identify the location of the start and finish points, demonstrate the appropriate route between two points and answer a question related to the selected route.

3.2 Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to use maps of different scales depending on the type of route to be planned. This can be achieved by requiring candidates to demonstrate a variety of route types.

3.3 It is proposed that the assessment system would allow a candidate to select the area of the start and finish points according to borough, postcode etc of their home address or operating centre. This would allow the system to be bespoke to the needs of individual candidates, with questions based on the area in which they choose to operate. By tailoring the questions in this manner, not only are applicants demonstrating topographical skills but also applying their personal knowledge of London.

3.4 Module/unit 5 is designed to assess the more general knowledge of London and as it should be assessed without reference to a map or other aid. It contains a series of questions on the general knowledge of London in relation to routes and motorways radiating outwards from central London. It may also

 

be relevant, for example, to include, where appropriate, the locations and routes to such places as major stations or transport hubs, famous tourist sites, points of local interest in the applicants chosen area, or locations relevant to the nature of the private hire operation the applicant intends to join.

4. Guidance on structure

4.1 The assessment is written in terms of learning outcomes, assessment requirements and underlying content. The learning outcomes summarise what candidates need to do to successfully achieve each unit. Each outcome is

then translated into concise bullet points of assessment requirements indicating what candidates need to demonstrate as their assessment for the unit. The content section of the specification details the underlying knowledge that candidates need in order to meet the assessment requirements.

4.2 The content will provide trainers with the coverage required by any training programme. Assessments should be designed to meet all assessment requirements. At the end of each unit there is a guidance section giving advice on assessment, delivery and available resources.

5. Guidance on delivery – instruction/assessment methods

5.1 The method of delivery is not prescriptive. The service provider will select an instruction/assessment method, or combination of methods, tailored to best meet the needs or requirements of individual applicants.

5.2 It is expected that the service provider will be able to take account of an applicant’s preferred method of learning and to tailor the assessment so as to maximise the performance of the applicant.

5.3 The delivery of each module should be structured in such a way that the instructor/assessor has enabled the applicant to:

  • learn effectively
  • demonstrate understanding
  • prove understanding.

6. Recording evidence

6.1 For each applicant, a record of the assessment and standard achieved must be retained and presented for inspection on request by the PCO or the applicant.

 

Part 2 – Topographical Test: Module/unit structure

Requirement Implementation Achievement Standard
Module 1Comprehension Ability to read English (or any other language specified by the Licensing Authority) Mandatory
Module 1Ability to read a map A:Understand index reference: A1: Understanding alphabetical indices Mandatory
A2: Understanding of page reference Mandatory
A3: Understanding of grid reference. Mandatory
B:Location identification: B1: Identification of correct page Mandatory
B2: Identification of correct grid square Mandatory
B3: Identification of location Mandatory
C:Location identification: C1: Identification of correct page Mandatory
C2: Identification of correct grid square Mandatory
C3: Identification of location Mandatory

 

Requirement Implementation Achievement Points
Module 2Local Route Selection Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 2A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
2B: Using an atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
2C: Name the nearest station to each of the pick up and drop addresses
Module 3IntermediateRoute Selection Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 3A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
3B: Using atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
3C: Identify ‘n’ postal districts, post towns or postal localities this route travels through.
Module 4Long DistanceRoute Selection(Routes to major locations in south east England) Using skills obtained in Module 1 complete the following: 4A: Find pick up and drop addresses. (Write page and map reference)
4B: Using atlas or mapping tool plot and demonstrate route from pick up address to drop address. Mandatory
4C: Name a minimum of2 motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the drop address.

 

Requirement Implementation Achievement Standard
Module 5General TopographicalQuestions To be answered without the use of an atlas or mapping tool. 5A: Name and draw the4 primary compass points Mandatory
5B: Name 4 counties bordering London
5C: Name 4 motorways which radiate from the M25 Mandatory
5D: From central London, which direction is XXX? Mandatory
5E: From central London which motorway would you use to reach 5D? Mandatory
5F: From centralLondon, which direction isXXX?
5G: From central London, which motorway would you use to reach 5F?
5H: From central London, which direction is XXX?
5I: From central London, which motorway would you use to reach 5H?

 

Part 3 – Detailed assessment criteria

Module/Unit 1: Ability to comprehend a map index, read a map and locate streets or places on a map

Description of unit

This is the fundamental topographical skill. It is important for a driver to be able to understand how to use a map, index and grid reference system.

Summary of outcomes

1) Ability of the private hire driver to read and understand a map index and map grid referencing.

2) Ability to apply grid references of specific streets or places. Locate their positions and map pages.

Content

1) Ability of the private hire driver to read and understand a map index and map referencing.

2) Ability to read a map this includes, understanding an index reference and identifying a location.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to read map indexes and references Understand alphabetical indicesUnderstand page references
2) Ability to apply map indexes and references Understand applied map indexes and references
3) Location Identification Identify the correct pageIdentify the correct grid squareIdentify the location

 

Module/Unit 2: Route selection (Local)

Description of unit

Using experience gained in unit 1, the candidate is expected to locate the start and finish points of a route (less than five miles), and show an appropriate route between these two points.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points by writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For local routes

1) Find start and finish addresses. (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to plot and demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Demonstrate a variety of route types and ability to use maps of different scales.

4) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses

 

Module/Unit 3: Route selection (Intermediate)

Description of unit

This unit requires the candidate to locate start and finish addresses. Use an atlas to plot the routes (between five to thirty miles) and to identify the postal districts, post towns or localities the route travels through.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For intermediate routes

1) Find start and finish addresses (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

4) Identify an unlimited number of postal districts, postal towns or localities a specified route travels through.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses
4) Identify an unlimited number of postal districts, towns or localities a specified route travels through Recognise an unlimited number of postal districts, towns or localities a specified route travels through

 

Module/Unit 4: Route selection (Long distance)

Description of unit

This unit requires the candidate to locate start and finish addresses and the nearest station to them. Use an atlas to plot the routes (over thirty miles) and to demonstrate a variety of route types. Finally to name two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the finish addresses.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must be able to identify the location of start and finish points writing the page and map reference.

2) Use an atlas to demonstrate the route from start address to finish address.

3) Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

Content: For Long distance routes

1) Find start and finish addresses (write page and map reference number).

2) Using an atlas to plot and demonstrate routes from start address to finish address.

3) Demonstrate a variety of route types e.g. the quickest route, the shortest route or the route avoiding motorways.

4) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses.

5) Name a minimum of two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used in reaching the drop address.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) Ability to locate start and finish addresses Find start and finish addresses
2) Ability to use an atlas to plot a route Use an atlas to plot a route from start address to finish address
3) Be able to name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses Name the nearest station to each of the start and finish addresses
4) Demonstrate a variety of route types • Show knowledge of different route types
5) Name a minimum of two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used to reach the finish addresses • Know at least two motorways or ‘A’ class roads used to reach the finish addresses

 

Module/Unit 5: General Topography

Description of unit

Unit 5 is designed to test the candidates’ general knowledge of London and as such it should be tested without reference to a map or other aid. The candidate has to answer a series of questions about routes and motorways radiating outwards from central London.

Summary of outcomes

1) The candidate must know the compass points and develop a good sense of direction.

2) Learn the major motor ways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25.

Content

1) Know the primary compass points and develop a good sense of direction.

2) Learn the major motor ways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25.

3) Learn the counties surrounding London.

Outcomes and assessment requirements

Outcomes Assessment requirementsTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1) The candidate must know the primary compass point Know the primary compass points and be able to apply this knowledge
2) Learn the major motorways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25 Learn the major motorways originating from London and radiating outwards from the M25
3) Learn the counties surrounding London Learn the counties surrounding London

 

Details About TfL’s Topographical Skills Test

One of the major requirements for your PCO license application is that you understand the details about TfL’s Topographical Skills Test. Pretty obvious when considering your job will be taking people from one place to another. Private hire journeys are pre-booked so all of them can be pre-planned. However, you won’t need the same level of knowledge as a London black cab driver.

TfL have changed the whole Topographical Test content and delivery. All previous Topographical Test Centre accreditations have been withdrawn from 1st October 2016. This means if you have been offered a Test Certificate after October 2016 it’s invalid. TfL are fully aware of centres who continue to back-date Test Certificates and continue to investigate these centres.

Only book your training & test with a company that has the full authorisation to carry out the Tests. Ask the centre manager for their proof that they are authorised to carry out the tests and where the TfL assessor is. The TfL assessor must be present at all Tests from October 2016. Failing to acknowledge this means your fitness and repute to hold a licence could be tarnished so much that you will never be able to apply for a PCO Licence again!

What will I be tested on?

During the assessment you will need to demonstrate the skills listed below which will give you a general idea of what is required:

General Topographical Skills

  • You need to be able to read and understand basic written English – instructions for one task will be provided in writing only to test this.
  • You need to be able to look-up and locate streets, stations, and hospitals within the Greater London A-Z Map Book.
  • You need to be able to identify major stations, post towns, districts, hospitals, stations, and postal districts from a map book.
  • You need to know the 4 primary compass points – N,S,E, & W.
  • You need to know the names of the counties bordering London – e.g. Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey etc.
  • You need to know the motorways that radiate from the M25 – e.g. M20, M1, M11, M4 etc.
  • You need to be able to specify the direction from London of a major town – for example you may be asked which direction from London is Brighton? You will need to answer South in this example.
  • You need to know which motorway you would use to reach a major town/airport – for example you may be asked which motorway to reach Brighton? You will need to answer M23 in this example.

 

Route Planning Tasks
Get your AA Guide Now

  • You need to be able to plan a local route between two points in the Greater London A-Z Map.
  • You need to be able to plan a route between 5 and 30 miles between two points in the Greater London A-Z Map.
  • You need to be able to plan a route that is over 30 miles from Central London, using the Greater London A-Z Map, A UK Street Map, and a local map of the destination area (all maps will be provided) using a motorway where appropriate.
  • You need to be able to plan a route that is over 30 miles from Central London, using the Greater London A-Z Map, A UK Street Map, and a local map of the destination area (all maps will be provided) avoiding all motorways.

As you notice you will have to be able to use a  Master Atlas A-Z  of London which include knowledge of the points of the compass and the motorway network and we strongly recommend you buy a copy to aid you with your topographical skills training.

Where can I take the Topographical Skills Test?

NO company in London is legally authorised to independently take the Topographical Tests. However, we have been authorised and approved by TfL to host the Topographical Tests in East London . All you need to do is:

  1. Call 0343 222 4444 and request to book your Topographical Test with The Vehicle Site.
  2. Call The Vehicle Site on 020 3780 1055 and book yourself on some training on the morning of your Test day. We offer priority training slots for all clients who have booked with us. You also get a free re-sit.
  3. Attend your appointments and please don’t forget your glasses!

All our test start times are in the afternoon. This enables you to book your training session on the same morning of the test. Priority slots will be given to those whom have booked the Test with The Vehicle Site. Take advantage of our FREE TEST AND FREE RE-SIT by opting for our Platinum Package.

If you want our advice, it’s better to book a training session prior to the exam date, like a week or two before your actual date. We offer full training on the most up-to-date modules and only when you’re ready to take the test will we book you in at our same site in Barking.

Why Not Take A Topographical Trial Test?

We also have a Topographical Trial Test. This is where you can come into our office and take a trial Topographical Test with us. We’ll give you detailed feedback and pinpoint areas of concern. The trial test is done under strict examination conditions in a professional environment. No talking or cheating! It’s an excellent way to prove you are ready for the real thing with TfL. For £25 it’s got to be a bargain! Book now.

Remember, when taking the Topographical Test with TfL you only get 2 chances and if you fail twice your application is rejected and you have to re-submit a new application from scratch.

The Topographical Test preparation options with us are endless, so if you have something in mind give us a call and lets see what we can do.

There are some firms who offer “cash for certificates” this is illegal and please note, when such firms are caught, they and those people that took advantage of this illegal route will be punished, TfL will revoke such licenses.

Have a think about it…. We want you to get on the road legally, start earning money legally and stay legal!

Exemptions

You will not need to take the topographical skills assessment if you have evidence of any of the following:

      • You were previously licensed as a London private hire vehicle driver and had passed a TPH Skills Assessment
      • Are a licensed All London or Suburban London taxi driver
      • Are a professional London tourist guide (e.g. Blue Badge Driver Guide)
      • Can provide evidence of a relevant vocational qualification in passenger transport (eg NVQ or equivalent)

If this is the case then include a photocopy of this in your PCO license application.

Topographical Skills Specification List & Training

The new modules for the Topographical Test have been introduced and we’ll be providing the full training on these. The best thing for you to do is give us a call and we can discuss your options. 020 3780 1055