London's taxi service is the best in the world, in part because our cab drivers know the quickest routes through London's complicated road network. There are thousands of streets and landmarks within a six mile radius of Charing Cross. Anyone who wants to drive an iconic London cab must memorize them all: the Knowledge of London.
The Knowledge was introduced as a requirement for taxi drivers in 1865.
Mastering the Knowledge typically takes students three to four years; it's a challenge, but plenty of help and support is available if you are determined.
As a taxi driver, you can choose when and where you work and how much you earn. Do you have the pride and passion it takes to become a London cabbie?
There are two different types of London taxi drivers:
Whichever licence you choose to apply for, you will have to accumulate an encyclopedic knowledge of the streets and places of interest in that area. This will prove you can navigate your way around the Capital.
To become a London taxi driver you need to send us an application. Find out about applying for a taxi driver licence.
Following satisfactory character and medical checks, you will be sent a Knowledge of London introductory pack.
In this pack you will be given:
The Blue Book lists 320 routes (known as "runs") within the six mile radius of Charing Cross. You will need to learn these routes, plus all the roads and landmarks within a quarter mile radius of the start and end points of each route.
You will be invited to attend an initial talk with other successful candidates. Here you will receive advice from a Knowledge of London examiner about the different stages of the Knowledge and the best way to approach your studies.
The Knowledge is done in seven stages, which are outlined here.
To check you're on the right track, within six months of starting you can take the self-assessment, which is based on the first 80 runs in the Blue Book. Taking the self-assessment is optional and no record of the result is made.
When you are ready, you will sit the written examination. You will be tested on your knowledge of the Blue Book runs (five questions) and the major landmarks ("points") along the way (25 questions). This is a multiple choice test and the pass mark is 60%. This test must be undertaken within two years of being sent your introductory pack.
You will then attend a series of one-to-one oral "appearances" with an examiner. Each appearance usually consists of four questions about the shortest route between any two points in London. An appearance takes about 20 minutes, and you'll get a score from A-D.
Depending on your score you will accumulate points; when you have enough you will progress to the next stage, when appearances will become more frequent. However, if you get too many Ds, you may be put back to a previous stage.
At Stage 3, appearances are about 56 days apart, at Stage 4 they are about 28 days apart, and at Stage 5 they are about 21 days apart. On average you will have to score on four appearances to accumulate enough points to progress to the next stage.
You will need to demonstrate a good working knowledge of London's suburbs by learning an additional 25 routes.
Well done! You can make the final application for the issue of your licence. You will then join a group of other successful candidates to receive advice about your responsibilities as a taxi driver from a Knowledge of London examiner. You will also be given your badge and licence at the talk.
Download a detailed description of the Knowledge test.
Download a copy of the appearance guidance notes for examiners.
Most people who apply to become a licensed taxi driver and take the Knowledge of London exam use a scooter to help learn the runs.
You may want to attend one of several Knowledge schools to help you study for appearances. These are independent schools that are not controlled or regulated by Transport for London.
Open: Monday to Thursday 09:00 to 19:45, Friday 09:00 to 17:00. (Knowledge Point West open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 21:00.)
About: Established in 1985, Knowledge Point is London's most central and well established Knowledge school. We are placed between Kings Cross and Caledonian Road Station and have a second location in West London. We have classes and facilities to accommodate all levels of Knowledge students and our teachers are not only qualified taxi drivers but qualified teachers also. We understand that the Knowledge is not only about runs or points. KOL is more than that. It's a way of life. It's a language. It's a culture.
Twitter:@taxitradepro / Facebook: Knowledge Point School Limited / Instagram: Knowledge Point School
Phone: Knowledge Point Central 0207 700 3999, Knowledge Point West 020 8961 9996
Address: Knowledge Point Central, 39-41 Brewery Road (1st Floor London Taxi Company headquarters), Islington, London N7 9QH
Knowledge Point West, 7 Cullen Way, London NW10 6JZ
Open: Monday to Thursday 10:00 to 21:00pm, Friday 10:00 to 17:00.
About: WizAnn Knowledge school offers classes, apps and study materials at all levels, including facilities for Yellow Badge and Green Badge suburbs. Free introductory seminar for beginners on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:00.
Phone: 0207 018 7328/020 3289 9114
Address: 4 Connaught Road, City Airport, London E16 2DB
Open: Monday to Friday 10:00 to 22:00, except Tuesday 10:00 to 18:00 (classes/call-over rooms).
About: Family-run school. Opens occasional weekends. Offers all-inclusive package.
Address: Jubilee Sports Ground, The Avenue, Highams Park, London E4 9RZ
Open: Monday to Friday 08:00 to 20:00 with extended hours Tuesday to Thursday until 22:00.
About: The London Knowledge School is an extremely encouraging, friendly, welcoming, inclusive school to learn the Knowledge of London. We are based in Grays, Essex near the A13 and M25.
Phone: 01375 371 247
Address: Lawrence Trading Estate, Askew Farm Road, Grays, Essex RM17 5XE
Open: Monday and Wednesday 18.30 to 21.00.
About: We at the Beginners Knowledge School seek to install the knowledge and confidence to get you where you need to be. Classes available.
Phone: 07506 036026
Address: Congreve Hall, Tatum Street, London SE17 1QR
Open: Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 to 17:00.
About: Daily class 11:00 to 14:00 working through points sheet. Call-over session for all levels 14:00 to 17:00, along with 1-2-1 tuition.
Phone: 07940 396 738
Address: Tooting Baptist Church, Longley Road, Tooting SW17 9LD
Open: Monday to Friday 08:00 until late, Green and Yellow Badge call-over club 08:00 to 20:00.
About: Free bike parking, compass direction tutorials, 30-minute introduction to the cab trade session, friendly working environment with students on all levels from Blue Book to 21s and suburbs.
Phone: 0208 254 3859
Address: Thames House, Hartwell Street, E8 3DU
Phone: 07932 605 422
Address: Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Road, Brixton, London SW9 7PH
Phone: 07963 082 390
If you have any special needs or learning difficulties such as dyslexia please contact the Knowledge department to ensure that you receive reasonable adjustments at your appearances. You will be required to send proof to ensure appropriate adjustments are made.
If at any time during the examination process you have a complaint or a query you should contact us. All complaints and appeals are treated in confidence and will not have any adverse effect on your progress through the examination system.
While studying the Knowledge you are obliged to notify us of any changes in your status, such as the following:
How to contact us: