June 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of The Knowledge

black-cab

 

150th anniversary of The Knowledge  

The Knowledge celebrated its 150th Anniversary and on Thursday 25th June Boris Johnson met with newly badged black cab drivers at City Hall.

The Knowledge, overseen by TfL, is an extensive process that potential black cab drivers have to successfully complete before taking to the city’s roads in a black cab. It is comprised of six stages and takes cabbies two to four years to successfully complete. During this time, potential black cab drivers have to memorise 25,000 streets and 100,000 landmarks within a six mile radius of Charing Cross. It is seen as the most prestigious taxi driver test in the world.

Anniversary of The Knowledge

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, met to congratulate newly ‘badged’ black cab drivers at City Hall, said that cabbies do a “fantastic service”, and set out his vision for the future of the black cab trade. This included:

  • Doubling the number of officers in the TfL Compliance Team. The team is responsible for tackling illegal minicab activity. Currently, there are 41 members of the team, but this will be increased to 82. This follows the doubling of the (MPS) Cab Enforcement Unit since Boris Johnson came into office. The new recruits will be involved in “Operation Neon” to crack down on illegal minicab activity such as touting for hire, and not wearing a badge.
  • Changes to taxi regulations for the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). The zone is a world first, and will launch in central London on the 7th September, 2020. TfL is planning to discuss changes to licensing regulations with the industry body before providing a finalised plan.
  • A £65m fund to encourage cabbies to purchase ZEC taxis, allowing cabbies to get up to £8,000 in grants if they go ahead and purchase a zero-emissions capable taxi.  
  • Cap the number of private hire vehicles. Over the past year the number of private hire vehicles has risen by over 13,000 to 80,500. It’s estimated that if this continues, in two years there will be more than 100,000 private hire vehicles on the roads which will lead to more pollution.
  • Review of minicab regulations to ensure that drivers have a better geographical knowledge of London and a good grasp of the English language.
  • Introducing technology to the black cab which will allow customers to pay their fare using a card, contactless or Apple Pay. Only around half of black cab drivers currently accept payment by card, yet this will make their service more accessible to people who do not have cash on them.
  • Expanding the number of taxi ranks in the city to connect areas with poor transport links.

As a major provider of taxi insurance, we’ll be interested to see how the vision for the future of the black cab trade translates in reality. 

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