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The 'Knowledge Of London'

The Knowledge

Taxi drivers in London undergo a demanding and arduous testing of their knowledge of the city, its daily traffic patterns and the fastest routes between locations. Estimates suggest that gathering the basic understanding needed to acquire The Knowledge involves a full-time year of study, absorbing the information provided by street maps and travelling around the city itself.

The result is that drivers of official London Hackney Cabs are renowned for their detailed and intimate knowledge of London's streets and attractions. Strangely enough, scientific study has shown that possession and expansion of The Knowledge increases the size of the anterior and posterior hippocampi of the brain - the area that handles spatial memory and spatial navigation.

Compared with baseline controls and inexperienced cabbies, long-serving taxi drivers possessed considerable more developed hippocampi.

General Articles About 'The Knowledge'

The Knowledge in London from WhyGo London

London’s black cab drivers have a reputation for knowing their stuff when it comes to getting their customers to the correct location by the shortest route. This is no bluff, to become a London taxi driver you have to pass a test known as The Knowledge and it normally takes between 2.5-3.5 years for people to complete the course.

Pretty much anyone can be a minicab driver, driving an ordinary car with a taxi sign on top but to drive one of the famous black cabs you have to put a lot of time and effort in at your own expense to earn the required badge.

Applicants first have to be 21 and apply to the Public Carriage Office (PCO) to see if they are eligible. If you want to be licensed to drive in all of London you study for a Green Badge, if you only want to cover the outer suburbs you go for a Yellow Badge.

Candidates then start learning a blue book of 320 different routes through London. If you’re visiting London, at some point you’ll see guys on motor scooters with a clipboard and paper attached to the handle bars cruising around streets and checking everything out, these are potential cabbies trying to learn the streets. Once they’ve learned the first 80 they have a written test at the PCO, then learn the other 240, which are tested by way of interview with an examiner, and locations of hotels, stations, offices and any significant places.

When they’ve got through the 320 central London routes they start learning the suburban ones and after that take a taxi driving test in London. Finally they take another written and map test.

Black cab drivers in London make pretty good money but it requires some dedication and a lot of hours to qualify.


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