Multi mobility app Free Now has experienced growing demand for its online training programme that helps aspiring taxi drivers pass the National Transport Authority's SPSV Entry Test.
Since the start of 2022 the volume of registrations for the complimentary training programme has continued to rise, with 20% more candidates registering in April versus January of this year. And according to current driver data, almost 60% of new driver partners who joined the Free Now app in 2022 have completed the training initiative.
The online training programme, called The Manual, can be used by aspiring drivers as an educational support to help them prepare for the SPSV entry test, which requires a 75% pass rate.
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Free Now is encouraging more people to use the training programme to help them achieve their SPSV license and replenish the depleted national fleet, which has decreased by approximately 30% in the past decade.
Research conducted by Free Now among taxi driver partners this month reveals that the majority (60%) enjoy working as a taxi driver and would recommend it as a career choice. According to drivers, the top three benefits of working in the taxi sector include working for themselves, flexibility of choosing their own working schedule, and ability to maintain a good work/life balance. 30% of drivers also called out the social aspect of the job and passenger interactions as their favourite part of the job. When it comes to challenges facing aspiring candidates hoping to join the taxi fleet, almost a quarter of registered taxi drivers said that difficulty passing the SPSV entry test is a barrier, and current taxi fares are a challenge according to 37%. Over a third (35%) feel that lack of awareness surrounding positive aspects of the job could inhibit future drivers from joining the sector.
The average candidate spends approximately 60 hours of study time on the Free Now training platform, and typically completes both the training programme and SPSV entry test within 12 weeks, although some can finish the process sooner in line with their own schedules and study approach. The training is free to access and available to anyone who wants to sit the SPSV entry test, with new participants welcome to start whenever they choose. All drivers who complete the training and subsequently pass their SPSV entry test can avail of a €500 bonus if they register as a driver with Free Now, helping them with some of their initial start-up costs. Free Now has committed an overall investment of up to €750,000 in the rollout of its training programme and sign-on bonuses this year for new drivers, with an overall €4 million invested since the programme first launched in 2017.
Statement By General Manager Of Free Now Ireland
General manager of Free Now Ireland Niall Carson stated, "The rising number of candidates registering for our training programme since the start of 2022 is great to see as it reflects fresh interest in careers within the taxi sector at a time when the national fleet remains depleted post-pandemic. The online programme is very user-friendly and accessible, offering a flexible learning support that enables autonomous learning for drivers who want to pass the SPSV entry test and start a new career as a taxi driver.
"Taxi drivers play a key role as part of Ireland's wider public transport network - and as the only on-demand service, they help to keep people moving and cater to individual transport needs, including working at peak times. It’s so important that they are supported in pursuing and maintaining their careers as essential providers of an essential service.
"We hope that our continued investment in this training programme will help to support Ireland’s changing transport needs and complement other much needed measures, including the government's proposed legislative changes designed to support the night-time economy sector, as well as the National Transport Authority's proposed taxi fare increase. A collective effort is crucial to support taxi driver retention and encourage more drivers to join our national taxi fleet and pursue what for many is a very rewarding and flexible job."
Statement By New Licensed Free Now Driver Partner
Newly licensed Free Now driver partner Qi Nian from Co. Dublin stated, "The Free Now training programme was a great learning support when I was preparing for the SPSV entry test earlier this year, and I'm delighted that I passed and am now a fully licensed taxi driver. As a new member of the national taxi fleet, I'm looking forward to the flexibility of the job, helping passengers get from A to B, and hopefully some memorable chats and laughs along the way!"
More information and registration is available at Manual.Free-Now.com/login.
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