A report has warned that forcing taxi drivers to take additional licensing tests could force ethnic minorities and women out of the trade.

A recent report on ensuring public safety in minicabs, commissioned by Transport for London (TfL), looked at the effects of introducing further licencing requirements on London taxi drivers.

Evidence suggests that requiring taxi drivers to take an advanced driving assessment to obtain or keep their licence would have a negative impact on ethnic minorities and women.

This is because of the extra cost of taking the test and the loss of income while training for it.

It is expected that most drivers will have to cover the cost of the advanced driving test themselves.

It currently takes 16 to 24 weeks to get a Private Hire Vehicle driver licence and can cost approximately £724 for the application.

Because of the higher proportion of women working part-time the test may act as a greater barrier to women entering and remaining in the profession.

The report also says that drivers that holding an EU driving licence will find it harder to pass the additional driving test because the requirements involved differ from EU requirements.

But Helen Chapman, TfL’s interim director of licensing, regulation and charging, said the proposals would be “pivotal” in protecting the public.

Ms Chapman added: “The experiences of passengers and their safety is at the heart of everything we do.

“We’ve worked hard to drive up the standards of the industry, from significantly increasing the number of compliance officers to ensuring passengers know who their driver is and what the vehicle details are.

“With the dramatic recent changes in the private hire industry transforming passengers’ experiences we need to go further.”

There are more private hire drivers than ever. From 2009 to 2017 the number increased from 59,000 to 113,600.

TfL have estimated on an average day there are approximately 265,500 minicab trips across London.

TfL will decide whether or not to adopt the proposals in the upcoming months.

Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport, said: “Keeping Londoners safe is our number one priority, and since Sadiq took over as Mayor we’ve been determined to drive up standards across the private hire industry.”