SACRAMENTO – The president of Sacramento's taxi union is speaking out on behalf of his drivers.
"We agreed on the simple test, you know, then we start taking the test, it's totally different," Sacramento Taxi Cab Union president Kazman Zaidi said about the a computer version of a English and math proficiency test.
Drivers must pass the test in order to renew their licenses – a requirement that was part of a taxi cab regulation overhaul the Sacramento City Council passed in May.
Zaidi said cab companies locally have lost 50 percent of their business to ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. And the proficiency test (a two-part test, one part on paper, one part on a computer) is another hurdle making it harder for cab drivers to stay afloat.
He said most of his drivers speak English as a second language, but can't read and write it well.
"If you are going to put somebody on a computer for an hour and a half, do you think he can pass that test?" Zaidi questioned.
News10 obtained a sample test from the City that was given to cab drivers. The questions on it are similar to ones on the actual electronic test, according to a city spokesperson.
Among the sample questions:
"Smoking is prohibited in cars. Which word closely relates to the underlined word? Allowed, genius, banned, covert"
"The fare is $23.00. You are given these bills (20.00 + 5.00). How much change should you give back? Three dollars, six dollars, two dollars, one dollar"
Zaidi said the sample questions are not like the computer version they represent, though he did not say how they were different.
Drivers so far have actually scored better on the computerized math and English portion than the paper portion, which covers cab codes and regulations. On first attempt, about half of the drivers passed the 15-question regulatory portion, while 75 percent passed the computerized portion.
News10 has a request in with the city to look at the computerized test.