Laughter is the Best Medicine

Cracking London’s Legendary Taxi Test

– [Narrator] Let’s say you’re in London. You need to get from the London Eye to Buckingham Palace. Taxi! Buckingham Palace, please. – We would leave on our
right, Belvedere Road, left to Italy Street. – [Narrator] Wait, you know
the whole route already? – Oh, we have to. All London black cab drivers
have to have completed The Knowledge. We need to know all the streets and roads in London to provide that service. – [Narrator] All of them? Oh, okay, let’s go see
where the Queen lives. London is famous for its black taxis. You need to get to somewhere, no sweat because every black cabbie has to pass an insanely hard test known as The Knowledge. Like this guy. – Hello, my name’s Peter Allen. I’ve been a London taxi driver for nine years. How can I help? The Knowledge is the test that you have to pass in order to become a London taxi driver. It’s the toughest taxi test in the world. The first thing you have to do is learn what’s called The Blue Book. As a cab driver, it’s your bible. You have to learn 320
routes around London, so that’s 640 quarter of a mile areas. You have to learn 25,000 streets and roads within a six-mile radius
of Trafalgar Square in London, you have to learn every single point of interest, place of interest, apartment building, housing estates, police stations, mosques,
synagogues, churches. – [Narrator] A few moments later. – Barber shop, furniture shop, china shop, nightclub, bars, restaurants, everything, anywhere
where a paying passenger may want to go. – [Narrator] Okay, then,
let’s go the exam center. – My name is Katie Channels and I’m The Knowledge of London manager. So, the exams are several phases of oral appearances. It’s basically an interview-type situation where you describe the streets and roads, attempting to use the shortest distance between Point A and Point B. At the beginning, we might ask them the name of a theater,
where that theater is, and by the end of The Knowledge, we’d expect them to know what is actually showing at that theater. – [Narrator] On average, it takes two to four years to learn The Knowledge. The best way to study is to go out onto the streets on a scooter. Isn’t that right, Abbas? – My name is Abbas Ekta. I’ve been studying The Knowledge for about four and half years now, and my next appearance is in about three weeks’ time. It’s like a full-time job. You wake up in the morning, go out on a bike a couple of hours, come to the college, study, study, study. Whilst I’m sleeping, I’m
studying as well, yeah. – [Narrator] One in five
who attempt The Knowledge actually pass. That’s the same success rate as a U.S. Navy Seal. GPS and sat navs are banned in the exam, but why not use them on the streets? – My GPS is here. And if we get somewhere and we see a road’s closed, we need to
say, “Right, that’s closed, “but I know that if I go left here, “that will take me there. “If I go right here,
that will take me there.” We need to be able to do all that as well as having a conversation with the person in the back and solving the world’s problems at the same time. – [Passenger] Leicester
Square to Big Ben, please. – So, you’d leave Leicester Square by Irving Street, turn right into Charing Cross Road, go forward to —

100 thoughts on “Cracking London’s Legendary Taxi Test

  1. So to get a mediocre job as a taxi driver you have to be a freaking human gps?!?! Why??? GPS will also tell you when a road is closed ahead of time it's more efficient

  2. Jeez this is pretty sad. 2+ years of studying, 1/5 chance of passing the test. Pay probably isn't that good. Confined to a car at city speeds for most of your day. And now we have autonomous cars.

  3. People don't understand that even Telsa is nowhere near full autonomation, give it at least another 5-10 years for it to be a realistic reality

  4. Knowing major routes and destinations absolutely makes sense. Knowing every single street though seems like an unnecessary high bar to set.

  5. I'm a born Londoner and have been driving for years. I can honestly say that having a knowledge of London beats a sat nav hands down anyday. However sat navs are great don't get me wrong as I use them a lot, but they can be really unreliable at times due to the gps losing signal in tunnels and sometimes they can lagg giving you your turning not on time. Also central London is forever changing on a daily basis from traffic diversions to car accidents and new no entries signs etc.. If you are in a crucial situation where you are running late this is where you can't be relying on a sat nav as it's too risky. Also when your food turns up late from Uber eats because the scooter driver got lost lol. Real time always wins.

  6. I am about to finish my LLB which took 3 years and another year for bar and combined LLM program. You can be a lawyer in 4 years so I don't understand why someone has to spend 4 years just to learn a map of London, and learn 35,000 street names which a GPS can provide instantly. It would make sense in the 1950's but in 2018, a GPS actually provide you info even with the traffic data. I would call this 4 year knowledge test a complete waste of 4 years of wasteful learning which could be applied towards becoming a lawyer or even B.Sc in engineering sort of degrees instead.

  7. Huge shocker most black cab drivers are white. Not a surprise, most of the time, these ridiculous tests are nothing but a way for certain occupations to keep minorities out. What they do is make the minorities follow the test to the letter while the white guys get away with everything. Those who like get through. It's 2018, no one needs to fucking learn the roads anymore like this with GPS. I hope all those black cab pricks get run out of business.

  8. I have been reading comments on here asking why we don't use GPS, it's because we find them offensive (Why spend years studying only to cheat?) 9 times out of 10 they will pick the wrong way either due to bad traffic, or missed temporary closures, sending you the wrong way down a one way street that might have changed a week ago. They take too long to recalculate (Yes, 5 seconds IS too long when you have a fare paying passenger eager to get to work). Oh and the best bit is, on the odd occasion it could come in handy, the battery is flat from not needing it for a year or so!

  9. Bullshit in London the system is too stressful. New York not so hard for an texi Driver .what the Rass they are trying to do turning taxi driver into Doctor.

  10. i believe its more usefull to let them use a GPS. and with the experience they have had from driving around london all the time. they can drive you there without the GPS.

  11. Someone who as the old saying goes….jack of all trades and master of none…….typical modern attitude….id rather use satnav than use my brain…..wait till Trump turns the satnav system off….then where will you be…..yes we will try to lead the world after brexit with our own satelite system……dream on…….USE YOUR BRAIN….Uber want you working for £2 per hour so they can fill their pocketz at your expense……thats how they are multi biĺlionares……and pay no tax.

  12. Imagine that, a street is closed, my Waze app already knows this in advance, and finds the next shortest route. Black cabs are also known for scamming the shit out of gullible tourists much like anywhere else. It's one of the reasons taxi companies want Uber and Lyft and all those things banned, because there's no room for scamming there.

  13. thanks for good article
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  15. You don't have engines in your "khaas", you don't speak english "oo unglush", go back to India, and play superpower.

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