TAXI drivers in Barrow have described new local knowledge tests as "insulting".

From next month, taxi drivers in Barrow will face a "local knowledge" test - quizzing them on geography, mental arithmetic and Furness landmarks.

The new test, which has previously been met with scorn by many of the town's 350 cabbies, is being brought in by Barrow Borough Council's licensing department from April 1 - a month today.

Applicants for licences will need to undergo the test and existing drivers would need to take the exam when their licence is up for renewal. Failure to reach the pass mark would result in their licence being revoked

Taxi drivers will have three attempts to take the test - if they fail the third test, they will be banned from resitting it for six months.

Bob Mullen, a taxi driver of 14 years and a representative of Furness Taxi Trade Association, described the test as "insulting".

He said: "Drivers voiced opposition to this from when it was first proposed. "The overwhelming opinion was that this test should be for new drivers only.

"Some drivers have more than 30 years' experience and feel insulted that this hasn't been taken into account and that yet again we have been railroaded into doing something we don't need to do."

Guidance issued from the council states: "Applicants will be tested on their ability to carry out elementary mental arithmetic, as encountered in calculating the change to be paid to a potential customer who overpays a fare.

"All applicants will be tested on their knowledge on the carriage of assistance animals and interaction with disabled customers and any individual who has a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010;

"Applicants will be asked to answer a number of questions as to driving skill, road information and etiquette as set out in the Highway Code.

"Applicants will be tested on their knowledge of Barrow Borough Council geography, recording the shortest routes between locations and identifying where local landmarks are.

The tests will be carried out at the town hall twice a month.