London taxi drivers are instantly recognisable, thanks to their distinctive black cabs. But did you know that each driver’s badge number is unique? So, what does a taxi driver’s badge number correspond to?
London cabbies display two types of licensing badges – a green ‘All London’ licence and a yellow ‘Suburban’ licence for the smaller sectors in Greater London. Each time a Knowledge of London student passes the test and reaches the required standard, a new badge is issued with a unique licensing number for the new driver. This becomes their badge number for the rest of their career.
Due to the chronological nature of the numbers, it’s possible to date when all cabbies first received their badges. As of 2023, the numbers currently sit in the 81,000s. Back in 2009, the number was in the 70,000s. However, a small number of drivers have historically low numbers, some of which have been passed down through generations of licensed cabbies in their families.
Interestingly, some drivers’ badge numbers are also higher than when they first started working as a cabbie. This can happen if a driver has lost their original badge – duplicate badges are never created, so a new number is issued.
London’s famous black cabs are a symbol of the city, and the unique badge number system is just one of the many quirks that make them so special.