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London Black Cab Driver

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London Black Cab Driver

A London Black Cab Driver can be hailed in the street and asked to go anywhere, so you will need to have a thorough knowledge of London. This is why you must learn and pass the world-famous Knowledge test. The taxi service in London is one of the best in the world, partly because the drivers know the quickest routes through London’s complicated road network. There are thousands of streets and landmarks within a 6-mile radius of Charing Cross. These must all be memorised for anyone who wants to drive an iconic London cab.

Types of London Black Cab Drivers

There are two different types of London taxi drivers. Firstly, there is the Green Badge which covers anywhere within Greater London. The other is the Yellow Badge which covers only one of the nine suburbs of the Greater London area. Both of these involves passing the Knowledge exam.  Both badges require extensive knowledge of the areas where you will operate. This knowledge will include all of the roads as well as points of interest in that area, proving that you can navigate your way around the capital.

Prerequisites

The government have many requirements you must be able to fulfil before successfully even applying for the process. The first of which being, you must be of “good character”. This involves undertaking an enhanced criminal background check. Both criminal convictions and motoring convictions are taken into account. Furthermore, you must be medically fit which means meeting the DVLA Group 2 medical standards.

The London Black Cab Driver Knowledge 

There are seven stages to becoming a black cab driver.  Six of these are exams based. After successfully applying, you will receive a copy of the guide to learning the knowledge of London, known as the “Blue Book”. It contains 320 routes within the six-mile radius of Charing Cross. Additionally, it contains all the roads and landmarks within a 0.25-mile radius of the start and end point of each individual route.  Mastering the “Knowledge Test” often takes people around three to four years. Therefore, it is not something to be taken lightly. However once qualified, you can choose when and where you work and how much you wish to earn.

London Black Cab Driver Stage 1: Self Assessment

Within six months of receiving of starting, you can opt into taking the self-assessment. This will ensure you are on the correct path and is not a requirement. It’s based on the first 80 routes in the blue book. However, no record of the result is kept.

London Black Cab Driver Stage 2: Written Examination

This exam tests your knowledge of the blue book. It includes 5 questions on the blue book, and the major landmarks along the way (25 questions). The whole exam is multiple choice and in order to continue to the remaining questions, you must get 60% or higher. Furthermore, the test must be completed within 2 years of receiving the introductory pack.

London Black Cab Driver Stages 3-5: Appearances

This section of the process involves a series of face to face interviews with an examiner. Each appearance usually consists of four questions from the blue book. The questions will be on the shortest route from any two points in with London. The whole test will last around 20 minutes. At the end of each interview, you’ll receive a score from A to D.  Each core correlates to a certain amount of points. You must gain enough points to progress to the next stage. The appearances become more frequent. For example, at stage 3 the appearances are 56 days apart, stage 4 is 28 days apart and stage 5 being 21 days apart. However, be aware that getting too many D’s will result in you going back a stage. On average, you’ll have to score well on at least four appearances before can proceed to the next stage.

London Black Cab Driver Stage 6: Suburban Routes

This is an additional learning stage where you’ll have to learn an extra 25 routes in order to demonstrate a good knowledge of London’s streets. The examination will test that you have detailed knowledge of routes from your sector into central London and know the location of significant points of interest (such as hospitals, tourist attractions, theatres, etc.). You must also know the way from your sector to London Heathrow and London City Airports.

London Black Cab Driver Stage 7: Licence application and
pre-licensing talk

This process is mostly admin and advice on the last parts of becoming a qualified black cab driver.  This whole process may seem incredibly daunting however there are plenty of ways to help people work through the vast amounts of knowledge needed. There are Knowledge Schools which help you study for the appearances. Although they are independent and not regulated by the Transport of London.

London Black Cab Driver Conclusion

Overall, the whole process of becoming a black cab driver is not something which should be taken lightly. It’s incredibly time-consuming and difficult, however, plenty of support is available. Once successful, you’ll be part of a small section of people who are qualified for the job and will have the flexibility of earning however much you want, during the hours you prefer.

 

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