he contest, which is being run by Peterborough City Council, started with a rigorous selection procedure to choose the finalists from more than 800 licensed taxi and private hire car drivers. This involved dozens of drivers taking a written examination on their knowledge of the Highway Code and Peterborough City Council's licence conditions. The outcome is that nine drivers have reached the final stage that will identify the eventual winner - Luciano Serritella, Mohammed Shabir, Majid Ali, David Snowdin, Basel Makansi, David Ross, Ghulam Rasool, Amjad Lodhi and Tariq Mahboob.
The final stages of the event are due to take place at Conders Garage, in Newark Road, where the finalists will take part in a series of gruelling, advanced driving tests that aim to challenge their concentration, anticipation, knowledge of the city's streets and hazard perception. Judges from the Cambridgeshire Advanced Driving Group will choose the Taxi Driver of the Year, who will receive a cash prize of £500 as well as the title.
The driver placed second will receive £300 and the cabbie in third place will take away £200. All nine finalists will be given prizes and certificates, which will be presented by the cabinet member for environment and community safety, Councillor Graham Murphy. The casualty reduction officer for Cambridgeshire Police, PC Mick McCready, commented: "Taxi drivers are ambassadors for the city and should set a good example to other road users."
Ken Gray, the city council principal taxi enforcement officer, remarked: "The standard of competition has been very high. Taxi drivers provide a vital service to both the city's residents and its visitors. This competition highlights the importance of maintaining high standards in several different areas. The driving test will be a thorough examination of their driving skills and we're looking forward to seeing who comes out on top."