Test your taxi driver skills

Over the grumbles of struggling taxi drivers and some immigrant-owned cab companies, a Sacramento city committee pressed on with a multi-year effort to reform the local taxi industry.

Requiring cabbies to accept credit cards, operate through centralized dispatch centers and come equipped with mobile apps to take complaints, as well as pass driving, dress and smell tests, are all part of a general menu of recommendations intended to clean up a profession with a lot of anecdotal baggage.

The Sacramento City Council is expected to extend a two-year moratorium on new taxis for another nine months tonight, as city staff works with stakeholders to discuss the finer points of some of these new rules.

What didn’t get too much discussion is a sample questionairre that could inform just how prospective new taxi drivers are vetted. It’s near the back of the city’s staff report on expanding taxicab recommendations. Besides having some wonky syntax (typed up with due accuracy below), questions test basic English and math skills, which might raise some eyebrows.

As one non-native (but well-spoken) cabbie told the Sacramento Law & Legislation Commission today, why not test for Spanish and Asian languages, since 45 percent of the city’s population fall into those categories, according to 2010 census figures.

Good question. The ones below? Mmmnot so much. But quizzes are fun, so play along and see if you’d make as terrible a cab driver as we here at SN&R (we skipped some because … shut up, that’s why):

1. Smoking is prohibited in cars. Which word closely relates to the underlined word?
A. Allowed
B. Genius
C. Banned
D. Covert
[SN&R says: “Covert.” How else are you going to get the smell of strip club out of your clothes after a night of “investigative research”?]

2. Another word for taxi is:
A. Car
B. Cab
C. Bus
D. Amusement
[SN&R says: “Stop!” At least that’s what we’re always shouting at them.]

3. Max was __________ to see me. Fill in the correct word.
A. Blank
B. Happy
C. Eat
D. Shark
[SN&R says: “Shark.” We don’t know Max, but we assume he’s a shark.]

4. The moon shines _______.
A. Bright
B. Car
C. Sad
D. box
[SN&R says: “Sad.” Always sad.]

Basic Math

1. The fare is $23.00. You are given these bills (20.00 + 5.00). How much change should you give back?
A. Three dollars
B. Six dollars
C. Two dollars
D. One dollar
[SN&R says: A cabbie is allowed to give you change? Mind blown.]

2. What is the total amount of money shown? Quarter, dime, dime, penny, nickel, nickel, penny, penny.
A. 50 cents
B. 58 cents
C. 55 cents
D. 45 cents
[SN&R says: “You didn’t show us any money. Is this a trick?”]

3. How much money is this? Twenty, twenty, twenty, five dollars, quarter (showed bills)
A. 65.75
B. 60.50
C. 65.15
D. 65.25

4. The fare is $15.50. What is the change if you are given a 20.00 dollar bill?
A. 4.50
B. 3.75
C. 4.25
D. 5.00
[SN&R says: “Borring.”]

5. How much money is this? One dollar, 5 dollars, two nickels, two dimes, and 2 pennies.
A. 6.30
B. 6.15
C. 6.32
D. 6.35
[SN&R says: Why did the question-writer switch from writing out the numbers to writing numerals, and back and back again? That’s the REAL question.]

How much money is left when you subtract a quarter, dime, and penny from $1.00?
[SN&R says: We don’t answer questions that aren’t multiple choice. That’s why it takes so long for us to clear DUI checkpoints. Also because of all the drinking.]

Next session
This session offers a tutorial of different information, followed by a review section for drivers to answer. For example, the tutorial provides information of why taxis are regulated and how different rules may apply from city to city. Sample questions from the tutorial review:

1. It is common for local government, such as city or county to regulate the taxicabs that pick up in their boundaries.
A. True
B. False
[SN&R says: Poor use of “such as” makes us think we know who wrote this question.]

2. As a taxicab driver, you must know before you pick up a fare anywhere if it is legal for you to do so, and what the rules are in that area.
A. True
B. False

3. Which of these are common driver rules?
A. Helping passengers with their luggage
B. Behaving in a professional manner
C. Taking the most direct route to get the passenger where he or she is going
D. All of the above
[SN&R says: “E. Complaining about one’s wife and playing terrible Top 40 radio.”]

4. You can lose your driver permit if you operate unsafely or are convicted of a crime.
A. True
B. False

Tutorial guide on Geographical resources drivers can use

1. GPS navigators are fool proof.
A. True
B. False
[SN&R says: “They’re certainly not reporter-proof.”]

2. North is almost always at the top of a map.
A. True
B. False
[SN&R says: “What does Kanye’s kid have to do with anything?”]

3. When it comes to travel locations and information, your _______ is a good resource.
A. Local bar
B. Visitors and Convention Bureau
C. Post office
D. None of the above
[SN&R says: They want us to answer B, but really, everyone knows bar patrons and postal carriers are much better connected. And often hang out at the same convenient spot!]

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