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TFL’S TAXI KNOWLEDGE RE-TEST: What's required to regain a taxi licence if the driver hands it back



Former taxi drivers licensed by Transport for London (TfL) who have not held a licence for two years or more, are required to undergo a Knowledge of London re-test as part of their re-licensing process.


The test aims to ensure that taxi drivers possess up-to-date knowledge of their licensing area, including significant changes to roads and locations since they last passed the Knowledge of London test.

During the re-licensing process, former taxi drivers will have the opportunity to meet with a Knowledge of London Examiner in an informal setting. In this meeting, examiners will outline the requirements for re-licensing and address any queries the drivers may have regarding the re-test process.


Following the meeting, the drivers will be expected to book a re-test examination at their own convenience and when they feel prepared to meet the required standard. The examiner will provide guidance on the amount of revision deemed necessary for success.


The re-test will consist of a oral one-to-one examination with a Knowledge of London Examiner, with a duration of approximately 30 minutes. Drivers must demonstrate sufficient knowledge to be re-licensed, in addition to meeting all other licensing criteria.

If a driver's performance in the re-test is deemed insufficient, regardless of their score, they will be given the opportunity to attend a further one-to-one examination within a specific timeframe determined by the examiner. This period allows for additional learning of the required information.


However, if the driver's knowledge remains inadequate following the second examination, they will be required to enter the Knowledge of London Examination system at stage 3, 4, or 5, as per the marking scheme outlined by TfL. Essentially, the driver will have to start afresh and work their way through the stages of The Knowledge once again.


THE RE-TEST PROCESS


All London Applicants / 'Green Badge'


You will be asked six questions that demonstrate your route-finding skills within the six mile radius from Charing Cross. You may also be asked routes going from a location within the six-mile radius to London Heathrow and City Airports.

Each question will be marked out of 10 and one mark will be deducted for each point that you fail to identify. Further marks will be deducted if you:

  • Give an unacceptable amount of incorrect street names – Call a route that is not the most direct available.

  • Call a route that involves making banned turns or u-turns, contravening ‘no entry’ signs or travelling the wrong way down one-way streets. Candidates must be aware of recent major road changes that will affect them when driving a taxi – Show hesitancy in the delivery of your answer that would indicate that you cannot recall the route quickly enough to be able to drive confidently and safely in London traffic.


The start and finish points asked in these questions will be selected to test your knowledge of:

  • Points of interest where you would be likely to pick up fare paying passengers as a working taxi driver

  • For instance, you could be asked a run, the Natural History Museum to Golders Green Station; or Royal Courts of Justice to Honor Oak Park Station.

  • Shorter runs in central London may also be asked, such as Victoria Station to the Prince Edward Theatre.


In addition, you will be asked to identify the location of 10 points of interest which will test your knowledge of major points, but also new buildings or new tourist attractions since you were last licensed. One mark will be awarded for each correct answer.


Suburban Applicants / 'Yellow Badge'


The Knowledge re-test will be carried out in the same format as for All London applicants. The questions will reflect the above although they will relate to the area that you are applying to be relicensed for.


Marking System


The re-test will be marked out of a total of 70: 10 marks for each of the six runs, and 10 for the additional points of interest.


Your score will determine the outcome of the re-test as follows: The first re-test will be a pass or fail.


  • 42 – 70 Pass – Re-Licensed

  • 0 – 41 Fail – Return for a second re-test


From your second re-test onwards, your score will determine the outcome as follows:


  • 42 – 70 Re-licensed

  • 28 – 41 Further re-test (after a third score of between 28 and 41 you will revert to Stage 5 appearances)

  • 18 – 27 Revert to Stage 5 appearances

  • 10 – 17 Revert to Stage 4 appearances

  • 0 – 9 Revert to Stage 3 appearances


Finally, once you have attended the first meeting with an examiner you will have a maximum of two years in which to complete the above process and become re-licensed. After this you will have to re-apply for the Knowledge of London (this does not apply to those applicants who after two years are still on Stage 3-5 appearances).


Suzanne Sullivan, a Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) Airport Rep, said in TAXI Newspaper: “I have been dealing with drivers, who for whatever reason have not renewed their licence. Two years then pass and then it all changes and things get a lot more complicated

if you want to be relicensed. There has been a steady increase in the number of drivers in this situation, due to Covid. Some drivers took up different careers in order to make a living and carried on in their new trade of choice, even though the cab trade was busy again. Time passed by and before they knew it, two years had passed, and they were required to sit a Knowledge of London re-test.


“TfL do all they can to support cab drivers on a re-test. They set up an informal talk to discuss what is required and drivers are given a clear set of guidelines setting out the basic test will have to pass.


“The drivers I’ve been dealing with told me the process is scarier than doing the Knowledge the first time. I advised them to go out and look at all new points, but especially new hotels that will be commonly asked for by customers. I’m sure it can be dauting, but it’s a myth if you hear a driver saying they are ‘being held back’ for whatever reason. TfL do not want cab drivers back on the Knowledge, it’s in their interest to relicense them.


“My advice to any driver, is not to let your licence lapse. Even if you miss the deadline to renew, make sure you reapply within two years to avoid the additional stress.”

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