16.2 C
Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeUKThe knowledge exam of black cab drivers can be made easier

The knowledge exam of black cab drivers can be made easier


The encyclopedic knowledge exam of the black cab drivers could be made easier for the second time this century as the number of recruits for the industry declines.

In 2000, the number of routes a taxi driver had to learn was reduced from 468 to 320. But while it used to take an average of 18 months to memorize the capital’s complicated road network, it now takes most taxi drivers four years to pass for the easier exam.

It is feared that new recruits will be deterred from taking the job because the knowledge is so difficult to acquire. Since January 2021 there has been a drop of nearly 3,000 drivers, many lost due to the pandemic.

Transport for London (TfL), which regulates trade, has launched an official assessment that may again recommend another reduction in the number of aspiring cabbies to learn.

Last week, leading representatives of the taxi industry held a special meeting to discuss why average study time for the exam had increased despite the reduction in the number of routes candidates had to learn. Many there agreed that it would be better if the exam took an average of two years of study.

Exams now more ‘modular’

One theory was that younger people are used to modular exams and are less likely to learn subjects that are “parrot fashion”.

However, Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, insisted that satnavs could never replace All London Knowledge because mapping algorithms are not as effective in the capital.

“The question is why does it take longer on average to pass on the Knowledge?” he asked, adding that he didn’t believe people are getting “dumber.”

“Education has changed enormously in the past 40 years. Exams and courses are more modular these days, but that’s not how the Knowledge works.

“There is absolutely no need for a reduction in the requirements placed on a London taxi driver.

“The question the TfL review will ask is why it takes longer on average to pass the exam. I don’t think it’s because London is bigger.”

The Knowledge was introduced in 1865 when taxi drivers drove horse-drawn carriages. TfL promotes the job in its prospectus as offering a “flexible career”, allowing drivers to be their own boss and “work around family commitments”.

The prospectus adds: “It’s recognized as one of the toughest exam processes out there, but the knowledge is also why London’s taxi drivers are considered the best in the world.”

Mr. McNamara was adamant that the navigation system would not replace the Knowledge, despite some taxi drivers using them to signal grunts on certain roads or boroughs.

TfL has been approached for comment.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories