Taxi licensing: Show and tell (1)

Posted by Digital Gateshead

And we're off!

Kick off workshopWe're over the moon to be working with Orangebus, a local specialist digital agency. We kicked off the project on 24 January, and began Discovery with employees from the licensing and digital teams of all three councils. We held an initial workshop to establish what we know, how we know it and what we need to find out - we also decided our research objectives, project scope and came up with our purpose statement:

The purpose of the Taxi Licensing project 
Is to provide a digital, standardised application process
For all applicants
That is accessible, lawful, efficient and scalable
So that we continue protecting the public so they can travel safely


      The story so far

      Discovery research posterAfter the initial workshop, we got stuck straight into the first round of user research, which included:

      • shadowing staff from participating councils to understand and see first-hand how taxi licence applications are processed

      • focus groups

      • interviews with taxi operators and drivers to understand their motivators, attitudes and barriers with the application process

      • collaborative design and service scope workshops with the participating Councils

      Icon for pdf Download the discovery research poster (pdf) [15.28MB]


      We published the first show and tell video on February 8, which includes a brief roundup of what we set out to do and what we've done so far. We think it's useful way to show a summary of our progress, so everyone knows what stage the project is at and what's coming next.


      Shadowing at Sunderland and Gateshead

      Orange Bus sent their UX Designer, Craig, over to Sunderland City Council and Gateshead Council to spend some time shadowing employees.

      At Sunderland, Craig worked with the business support and licensing teams to gain first-hand experience of the key roles and responsibilities faced by employees. He also shadowed the customer services team to understand how requests and enquiries are handled, and to hear their frustrations around the common pain points.

      Craig also worked with us here at Gateshead to gain a first-hand view of the application process with the licensing team. He also had the opportunity to talk to some taxi drivers who were awaiting documentation.

      Taxi driver focus group

      A small focus group was held with Sunderland taxi drivers. We found they had an appetite for digital, and a driver asked Craig "when will a digital application process be available to taxi drivers?" right at the start of the session.....

      Research poster - taxi drivers

      We also learnt that drivers had different levels of digital skills and access, so this is something we would have to bear in mind when developing new processes. Drivers also told us that they often found current processes frustrating particularly around knowing their application status or what the timescales were for getting their badge. Safety was also a concern for drivers, and many would like to see CCTV installed in taxis to benefit their own safety as well as the public. 

      Next steps

      The next show and tell will be on 28 February. In this session, we'll discuss what we have accomplished so far, including taxi operator interviews across the three councils, shadowing and mapping workshops with Northumberland County Council. Watch this space!


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