Passengers around London are being advised to keep an eye out for black cab drivers who don’t know their way around the capital.
All licensed Black cab drivers in London are required to have “The Knowledge” of central streets, allowing them to work out the quickest route. The Knowledge is a special test that needs to be passed before cabbies get their licenses. Depending on whether cabbies want to be a Suburban driver or an All-London driver, the time to become a licensed taxi driver will differ.
However, some cabbies who are All-London drivers are complaining that because of a shortage of business, Suburban drivers are coming into central London and illegally stealing their fares.
Transport for London (TFL) is now insisting that ID badges should be shown on the back and front of all black cabs, which informs customers whether the vehicle is permitted to pick them up. Even though each badge holder has private hire taxi insurance, a yellow badge shows that drivers are only allowed to take fares in the suburbs, while green badges denote a black cab permitted to operate in the city.
It has not previously been required to display badges at all times. However, taxi drivers with green badges, claim up to 70% of yellow badge drivers were taking passengers in central London.
“The recession made this much more of a problem.” Darryl Cox, from the London Cab Driver’s Club said. He added that the badge system was “about keeping things fair”.
The deputy director of TfL’s London Taxi & Private Hire licensing authority, Helen Chapman, said “These identifiers will bring London into line with many other licensing authorities.”