Compared to other countries, the regulation of taxis in the United Kingdom are quite complex and rigorous. Getting a license to drive one is not as easy as just completing a driver’s test.
If you are planning to get a license to drive a black cab in London, you would need to invest a lot of time, money, and energy in passing the requirements to actually make it. The whole process takes at least 34 months.
What are the Different Kinds of Taxi Licenses and Why are Black Cab Licenses Harder to Acquire?
There are basically two types of license you can choose from: The Hackney Carriage License (Black Cab) which is when you want to pick up passengers curbside. Then you have the Private Hire Vehicle license which is for those who prefer to work with a taxi operator.
In London, drivers who want to be able to drive a black cab would need to pass a test called The Knowledge to show that they know the streets of London like the back of their hand.
When the driver has passed The Knowledge test, he becomes a bonafide member of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers. They also are given badges: A yellow one of suburban areas, and a green badge for all of London. The green badge is harder to attain. (Source: The Guardian)
How Much Does it Cost to Get a London Cab License?
One thing is for sure, it isn’t cheap. Aside from the basic application you would need to pay for examinations and other licensing fees to get them. Depending if you are applying online, or on paper you’re looking at spending around £1,000 to £1,300. (Source: Taxi Insurer)
Who are Qualified to Drive Cabs in London?
When you apply for a license as a cab driver, the first thing you would need to prove is that you are of good character. This means you will be willing to go through a thorough background check. This enhanced criminal record check will be conducted by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). (Source: Taxi Insurer)
Your license will not be granted for any of the following reasons:
- If you have any convictions for violent offenses like manslaughter or murder.
- If you have multiple convictions of any type of violent offense within the last 10 years.
- If you are currently serving a custodial sentence.
- If you are convicted or penalized for serious sexual offenses like rape or indecent assault.
- If you are listed on the Children’s or Adult’s barred list.
- If you have multiple convictions or penalties in the last 12 months or multiple penalties within the last 5 years.
How Hard is the Knowledge Test?
The streets of London is quite difficult to navigate through. Which is why taxi drivers are expected to know each nook and cranny to be able to transport their passengers efficiently.
The test known as The Knowledge takes at least 4 years on average to study. It literally requires a great amount of knowledge to pass. Not only does it include street names, but aspiring black cab drivers would need to know the directions they run, landmarks, and establishments.
The test is quite extensive that it has been compared to getting a medical or law degree. (Source: The Medium)