Updated: Jul 24
The Mayor of London dismissed concerns that the Knowledge presented an ‘obstacle’ to those applying to become a black cab driver.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, responded to questions raised by Andrew Boff, a Conservative London Assembly Member, regarding the role of The Knowledge in the application process for a London taxi licence and the demographic challenges faced in the industry.
Boff questioned the extent to which The Knowledge, the intensive training and assessment program for London taxi drivers, presents an ‘obstacle’ for individuals seeking to obtain a Black Cab licence. In response, Mayor Khan praised the world-renowned reputation of London's taxi drivers, attributing their high standards of service to their unrivaled ability to navigate thousands of landmarks and streets within the city.
Boff also raised concerns about the lack of diversity in Black Cab licence applications and asked the Mayor about his efforts to tackle this issue. Mayor Khan expressed a strong desire for the industry to reflect the remarkable diversity of London's population. In his response, he highlighted encouraging statistics that indicate progress in this area. According to recent demographic data, 20 percent of taxi drivers come from ethnic minority backgrounds, while 62 percent of those studying to become a taxi driver also belong to ethnic minority communities.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, responded to the written questions: “London taxi drivers are world-renowned for setting the gold standard for taxi services, due in large part to the Knowledge of London. Taxi drivers have an unrivalled ability to recall of thousands of landmarks and streets within London.
“As set out in previous question, Transport for London has carried out a review of the Knowledge of London and has agreed with taxi trade representatives to progress a number of actions. Discussions with the trade continue about how to ensure the gold standard is retained while ensuring the Knowledge remains relevant in the modern world.”
Khan added: “I want taxi drivers to be as diverse as possible to reflect the magnificent diversity in London.
“I am encouraged to see that the taxi trade is becoming increasingly more representative of London. The latest demographic statistics shows that 20 per cent of taxi drivers are from ethnic minority backgrounds and 62 per cent of those studying to become a taxi driver are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“Transport for London (TfL) publishes demographic data for taxi and private hire licensees and for Knowledge of London candidates.
“Becoming a London taxi driver is a career open to all, subject to the driver meeting certain licensing conditions.
"TfL sets out the licensing requirements, the assessment process and the benefits of being a taxi driver in its Knowledge of London prospectus.
“Clearly there is more that can be done across the taxi and private hire industries until the driver population is truly representative of London. I know that TfL has regular discussions with the Knowledge schools and attends careers fairs to highlight the benefits of becoming a black cab driver. I would encourage taxi trade representatives to undertake similar promotional activity.”