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UPSURGE IN DEMAND: Never a better time to become a Knowledge of London student says trade rep

A taxi industry representative has hinted that there’s never been a better time to train as a London cabbie given the upsurge in demand since coronavirus pandemic restrictions were eased.

Each iconic black cab driver must have a thorough knowledge of London within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. Tens of thousands of road names and places of interest must be learnt. This learning process is known as the world-famous Knowledge of London (KoL).

The KoL was introduced as a requirement for taxi drivers in 1865 and completing the test usually takes students three to four years.

Each test, known as an appearance, usually consists of four questions about the shortest route between any two points in London. An appearance takes about 20 minutes, and you'll get a score from A-D.

Depending on your score you will accumulate points; when you have enough you will progress to the next stage, when appearances will become more frequent. However, if you get too many Ds, you may be put back to a previous stage.

At Stage 3, appearances are about 56 days apart, at Stage 4 they are about 28 days apart, and at Stage 5 they are about 21 days apart. On average you will have to score on four appearances to accumulate enough points to progress to the next stage.

There are currently 19,070 licensed taxi drivers in the capital. Of those 16,998 hold All London licences, otherwise known as ‘Green Badges’, and 2,111 hold ‘Yellow‘ Suburban licences.

It is estimated the the number of taxi drivers is DROPPING at a rate of 6% year on year. Many in the industry are looking at ways to entice more drivers in to cover those that retire from the industry each year.

Suzanne Sullivan, LTDA Airport Rep, said in TAXI Newspaper: “Cab drivers are earning good money right now, so surely, we should be seeing more people wanting to get into the trade?

“My earnings are something I never discuss, and I know many drivers feel the same, but what I will say is that I wouldn’t have spent three years taking the Knowledge if it hadn’t been worth it.

“We need to do more to make sure people see the potential in driving a cab and the many benefits it offers as a career choice.”


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