“I would not want anybody watching to be put off becoming a cabbie because there are concerns and there are challenges,” said the London Mayor.
Keith Prince, a London Assembly Member, probed both the London Mayor and TfL’s Commissioner in March before the coronavirus outbreak took hold in the UK, asking what more could be done to stop the drop in numbers taking up the Knowledge of London (KOL).
A focus on making the KOL an accredited qualification and the “protection of the hailing process” were high up on the list of the capital’s transport leaders.
Sadiq Khan, London Mayor and Chair of TfL, replied: “TfL has been for some time working closely with the Office for Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). We are trying to explore ways for TfL to gain accreditation for The Knowledge. We are also, by the way, separately promoting The Knowledge as well.
“My understanding is - and the Commissioner can come in - that there are some changes required to The Knowledge for Ofqual to be satisfied. If you would not mind just for a moment letting the Commissioner add?”
Mike Brown, Commissioner of TfL, said: “Yes, that is true. It has become apparent that some of those would require quite significant changes to The Knowledge of London processes. It is not something that we have previously discussed and whether we would pursue that or not, but it is something that I will need to now forward with taxi trade representatives to see if that is something that would be worth considering.
“Notwithstanding all of that, we do continue to promote The Knowledge and the How to Become a London Taxi Driver brochure, as you know, is out there. It includes successful case studies, very importantly because real examples are very important in this regard, of students from different backgrounds have gone through The Knowledge of London process. That brochure is available on our website.
“Of course, there are also things like mandatory card and contactless payments, disability access and protection of the hailing process which is helping to ensure that the trade remains fit for the future. We are trying to do a number of things in proper consultation and dialogue with taxi trade representatives on this issue.”
Sadiq Khan added: “I would not want anybody watching to be put off becoming a cabbie because there are concerns and there are challenges. When you speak to cabbies, a lot of them love their job and so, yes, I will continue to do what I can to promote the trade.”
Image credit: LEVC