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Addison Lee and WizAnn Knowledge School join forces to invest in black taxi future

Updated: Feb 8

Image credit: Addison Lee

Addison Lee has unveiled a new initiative in collaboration with the WizAnn Knowledge School which aims to safeguard the London taxi industry.

The partnership aims to inject new life into the black taxi industry by offering Knowledge training to aspiring drivers at a reduced cost.

Transport for London (TfL) has recorded a concerning decline in the number of black taxi driver licences, with the current figure standing at a mere 17,625. This decline has been largely attributed to a combination of the pandemic's impact and the rigorous training demands required for licensing, amongst other issues. Recognising the critical role of black taxis in providing reliable transportation for Londoners, Addison Lee's initiative seeks to bolster the workforce and ensure the industry's longevity.

The Knowledge, a demanding test that requires candidates to master London's streets within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross, has historically been a barrier for many. With a preparation time of up to four years, the prospect has deterred potential drivers. Addison Lee's collaboration with WizAnn is set to change this narrative by allowing drivers to "earn while they learn", offering a practical solution to those already driving for Addison Lee or those interested in joining the industry.

This initiative comes at a time when the private hire sector is witnessing unprecedented growth, with over 106,538 private hire driver licences issued. By facilitating the transition of private hire drivers to the black taxi domain, Addison Lee is not only hoping to ensure the sustainability of an iconic London institution but also opening up avenues for long-term career development within the industry.

Training will be conducted at Addison Lee's West Drayton Fleet Hub, where participants will have access to comprehensive training materials, including documents, videos, and round-the-clock support, all at a significantly reduced cost. By the fourth year, the program aims to offer training at no expense to the drivers.

Addison Lee distinguishes itself by providing a robust career pathway for drivers, unlike other operators in the city. With a diverse fleet that includes courier services, standard, executive, and black taxis, the company supports drivers in their professional growth and offers a competitive package. This includes a contributory pension scheme, sick pay, holiday pay, vehicle maintenance, and the AL Rewards package, addressing drivers' financial, physical, and mental well-being.

This partnership between Addison Lee and WizAnn Knowledge School marks a pivotal step towards preserving the heritage of London's black taxi industry while adapting to the evolving demands of urban transport.

Liam Griffin, CEO of Addison Lee, said: “Operating in the capital for over 50 years, we share our strong London heritage with the Hackney Carriage industry, alongside a shared passion for providing drivers with fulfilling and fruitful careers.

“But we’re not naïve to the challenges, and we know that if we want to see the black taxi thrive, we must provide drivers with the right support and benefits to encourage them into the field. We hope our partnership will spur a positive change for the industry and uphold the rich cultural significance of London’s iconic black taxis.”

Keith Prince, Chair of the Greater London Authority Transport Committee, said: “The partnership between Addison Lee and WizAnn Knowledge School signifies a much-needed shared commitment to future-proofing the city’s transport network. With driver numbers falling, it’s heartening to see the proactive steps taken to revitalise the black taxi trade – which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the industry and the city as a whole.”

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, said: “There is a growing demand for the high-quality, safe, and reliable service that London’s licensed taxis provide, and in recent months we’ve seen a welcome increase in the number of applicants to study the Knowledge.

“We welcome important initiatives such as this one, which will encourage more people willing to do the hard work required to complete the Knowledge to join the ranks of the world’s best taxi service and to uphold our gold standard. This is vital to ensure the longevity of London’s iconic black taxis.”

Dean Warrington, Founder of WizAnn Knowledge School, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Addison Lee in this initiative to empower more drivers to embark on the Knowledge journey. Our comprehensive training programme, combined with Addison Lee’s support, will create a pathway for aspiring black taxi drivers to thrive in their career.”


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