Nothing has changed to stem the decline in Knowledge of London (KoL) student numbers since warnings were first made FOUR YEARS AGO, says top taxi driver school teacher.
The claims were made in a recent video release by East London’s Wizann Knowledge School owner Dean Warrington. In the short seven-minute YouTube clip, the owner of the school runs through some of the proposed changes, most notably the scrapping of ‘red-lining’, that need to be made should the KoL have a future.
In November 2019 the number of candidates studying the KoL at the testing stages, otherwise known as ‘Appearances’, dropped below 1,000 for the first time and stood at 943. In addition, there were 714 candidates that had not yet reached the testing stages, but were signed on to the KoL and learning the capital’s road network.
Fast forward nearly two years to August 2021 and the number of KoL candidates at the testing stages tumbles further to just 552, and alarmingly only a further 363 candidates are currently waiting to reach the testing stages.
In the video entitled ‘Some cold hard truths’, the Knowledge school owner asked those within the industry to SUPPORT the drive to adapt the current testing process.
Warrington goes on to say that students can expect a good to reasonable wage after completing the KoL which also guarantees a long-term job where the driver is the boss.
Some of the suggested changes taxi driver and those from within the industry are calling for increase the number of KoL students include:
Remove ‘Red Line’ on appearance testing
Remove fees to start the KOL and look into possible funding options
Remove Congestion Charge fees for all KOL students
Remove the need for final ‘Suburban’ runs test
Promote case studies based on drivers who have recently joined the industry. Was it worth it?
Promote the true earning potential of the job
Promote the role of a licensed black cab driver as a long-term career option
Promote the role on social media via targeted and trusted channels
Stop the negative ‘doom and gloom’ on social media from those in the trade comparing the industry to decades in the past
Stop closing road access to licensed taxi drivers to provide long-term confidence in the trade
Better support from those within the trade to help and mentor those studying.
Not everyone within the taxi industry believes there should be changes made, despite the dwindling numbers. One of London’s taxi schools, the Knowledge Point School, say the testing should not be made easier to help increase its popularity and improve applicant numbers.
In a recent social media post by the Knowledge Point School, they said: “We have said it before and will say it again: The knowledge does NOT need to be changed in any way.
”The Redline is there for a reason. Unprepared students will always be redlined because they are trying to get through the KoL too quickly. Quality over quantity.”