TAXI drivers in Allerdale now have until the end of November to pass an electronic knowledge test or they will have their licences suspended.

Cabbies have been given an extra month’s grace in the “interests of fairness” after an earlier software glitch delayed the roll-out, meaning they were not given the full year to pass.

Councillors at a recent licensing meeting agreed to extend the deadline until November 30, and that that even more time could be given to individual drivers in “extenuating circumstances”.

Of Allerdale’s 303 drivers, 238 have already passed, leaving 65 who have so far failed to pass the knowledge test.

The licensing committee had earlier approved the procurement of the software which was supposed to come into effect on November 1 last year.

Existing drivers were told that they had one year to do the test after which their licenses would be suspended but further tweaks were needed before it was ready.

The council has approached drivers by letter and phone calls to remind them of the looming deadline, though it emerged that some won’t be taking it because they are retiring from the trade.

Coun Alan Smith, of the Licensing Panel, moved that the committee followed officer recommendations and extend the deadline.

He said: “If these people have been contacted, then when the letter comes that is it finished with: they lose their licence.

“If we have been fair with them as a council; they should be fair with us as well. This involves officer time and is a cost to the taxpayer.”