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“We are ready” for first week of professional driver training, AMB Driving School promises

AMB’s 5 hours of theoretical training is available in-class or on-line by Zoom. There will be 2 hours of in-car instruction before certification. Photo: AMB

The first firm approved to deliver vehicle-for-hire driver training in Toronto says “We are ready” for the flood of drivers expected to sign up for the May program start.

As the first private sector firm identified by Toronto to provide vehicle-for-hire driver training, Advanced Motoring Bureau (AMB) is now gearing up for the flood of drivers anticipated to sign up beginning this week: “We are ready. Staff have been meeting on a daily basis and will continue to do so; the curriculum, which meets all of the requirements set by Toronto, has been developed with expert drivers in mind, not novice drivers,” says Shafique Malik, who founded AMB in 1993.

Toronto’s bicycle lanes and TTC vehicles set driving in the downtown core apart from many other driving environments, and the program focuses on specific information professional drivers need in the areas of customer service, equity and inclusion, legal requirements including the Highway Traffic Act and Toronto’s By-Law 546, he notes.

“I can assure the industry that we are cutting no corners, and making no compromises. Our mission and goal is to ensure that the training makes a difference to the industry, and our instructors will work to the highest standards. Our goal is to be respected as an educational institute.”

The vehicle for hire training program being delivered by AMB will 5 hours of theory training, 2 hours of in car training and certification at completion of course. The cost is $250 + HST ($282.50)

Malik told Taxi News that it’s the “great people who make up our team” that have enabled AMB to succeed over almost three decades in Ontario.

Instructors, administrators, curriculum developers and legal advisers have all contributed over the years; Malik is particularly proud that two of his most senior team members have worked as Vice Principals in Ontario’s public education system, and bring expert educational perspectives to program development at AMB.

“The first rule of our business, of any business which wants to be successful, is to make sure you are fulfilling the needs of the customers who come to you,” Malik explains. “We are completely focussed on making sure the student who comes to us receives everything they need to succeed. AMB has grown by helping students achieve their goals. When they do, we see their friends and family members being referred for instruction also.”

AMB has won numerous awards including Toronto’s Top Driving School from Consumer Choice Awards and the Markham Economist and Sun Readers’ Choice Awards. More than 100,000 students have graduated from AMB programs including those delivered for the Toronto District School Board and the York Region Public and Catholic Boards.

“We trained 3,000 volunteer drivers for the Pan-Am games in 2015,” Malik notes with pride. “Not only did we need to make sure that the volunteers needed information on safety and logistics, but also on the fact that they were, in fact, acting as ambassadors for our city. It was an enormous job. The volunteers were great.”

When business ground to a halt during COVID-19, Malik and his team pivoted and used the down time to create video recordings of their most important in-car lessons for students and their parents to review online.

“Some people told me I was making a mistake by giving away our lessons for free, but we found that young students and their parents really appreciated having the chance to review these lessons.”

All vehicle for hire drivers in Toronto must now complete training and provide proof of training in order to be licensed. All of this training will be provided by private sector firms which were selected by Toronto through a Request for Proposal process opened in January, 2022. While additional firms are expected to be approved to deliver training in the weeks ahead, as of May 2, 2022 AMB is the only driving school announced as approved by Toronto to deliver this training. Registration information is available on AMB’s website.