London Taxi Drivers – The Knowledge


As I am sure you are aware, working as a London taxi driver requires you to pass The Knowledge London test, often referred to simply as ‘the knowledge’. This test is like no other in the UK requiring immense amounts of study and dedication.
I have the utmost respect for London cabbies knowing what they have to go through to get their green badge. Having a couple of friends who are working as taxi drivers in London, I can safely say that I am glad I didn’t have to sit the knowledge test! There are 400 runs (routes) as mentioned in the Public
Carriage Office "Guide to Learning the Knowledge of London" (the 'Blue Book') and more than 1000 pubs bars and clubs in central London. There is a written test and you will also be tested ‘one to one’ in interviews called ‘appearances’.
Helpful Learning Resources...
You will need to exercise your memory to make the most of your study time, some prospective cabbies also drive The Knowledge London routes on mopeds because driving the routes allow you to visually remember them, this is the best way to learn. Either way you wil need some learning resources.
There is a CD information pack full of loads of good info and resources you can print off and use on the computer, you can order it online and it is called 'Become a London Taxi Cab Driver' (links below) ...I first found out about this via a friend who has since passed the knowledge and is now working as a full time black cab driver. I have had a chance to look at the materials myself and it is a very useful and comprehensive tool to have as an aid to your study and for mock testing yourself.
Features include...

  • Essential information about the Knowledge
  • The eligibility requirements
  • How and where to apply
  • The History of the Black Cab
  • Completing the Application Form correctly
  • What the selection process involves
  • Actual Interview questions
  • Advice on how to tackle the Blue Book Runs
  • Where to find FREE information and resources
  • Complete list of points
  • Complete runs
  • 30,000 points in text format
  • Sample blank maps

In Summary...
This information is spot on and is just what you need... highly recommended by colleagues, especially as it costs so little at the moment. Doing the knowledge in London really requires all the help you can get so the sample maps are very useful, the complete runs and list of points are invaluable as are the interview questions. There are loads of links and tips on how to find free information. There is also a free bonus CD included at the moment on how to pass your interview - I cannot comment on that part as I have not seen it, but the price is right! ;-)
Click Pic or Link Below...
Safe driving peeps!

If you buy dont forget to leave your comments below.

p.s. i had a link to an old online the knowledge London taxi mock test. will post here if i remember.

How to Become a Taxi Driver


how to become a taxi driver
Become a Taxi Driver
Taxis have been around since the 1700s, it is an established profession whos essence has not changed much despite massive technological advancement. When you become a taxi driver you will be responsible for the safe passage of customers to their destination, in return they will pay you for your services. Charges are dictated by a meter or by distance, ultimately maximum rates are controlled by local government policy.

Taxis come in many forms, from hatchback cars to mini buses but they all fit into two major categories:

The most common type is the Private Hire Taxi. All private hire taxis must (by law) carry customers who have booked work through a licensed operator. The are not allowed to pick-up clients using any other method. A lot of this type of work comes from supermarkets, people going from home to the city and other places where people are unlikely to find a black cab

The second type of taxi is the Hackney Carriage, they are know worldwide for their iconic design but actually come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The main difference with this type of cab is that customers can flag one down in the street, bookings from an operator may also be part of the drivers work. Most work for thi type of taxi comes from airports and city centres.

Working Life

becoming a taxi driver
Most drivers choose their own hours, for a lot of people this is why they want to know how to become a taxi driver in the first place. It can be a very appealing prospect but it requires self-discipline and motivation. Some choose to use a settle car hired out by the taxi company they work for, fees are normally charged weekly. Others are owner/drivers who buy their vehicle or obtain one on finance to purchase one, the drawback being that they must pay for insurance and any vehicle maintenance costs.

The nature of the job means that to make a good living you will need to work unsociable, sometimes long hours. It can be tough on the back as long periods of sitting are often punctuated by heavy lifting as you help customers with items they may be carrying. Patience and a cool head are essential as some passengers can be difficult to deal with. See how much it costs to run a Taxi.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Taxi Driver

As standards of safety are raised there are increasingly more conditions to be met before you can begin work. Most councils will require you to undergo a criminal records bureau check (CRB), a medical examination to test your fitness to drive, and a local street knowledge test. In some places driving proficiency tests are in place. You must be over 21 years to become a taxi driver but insurance will be difficult to obtain for those under 25.

For more info check out our Working as a Taxi Driver FAQ

How to Make Extra Money as a Private Hire Taxi Driver.

Working for an operator efficiently
When you first become a taxi driver, radio work from your operator will be your main source of income. If you hire a settle car the fees can seem quite intimidating. 
Recently in response to my article ‘What Operator to Work for’, Tamsin contacted me about her partner paying 40% of his earnings to the operator, I advised her that he may be better on a fixed rate  settle car as percentage deals mean the harder you work the more you pay. Percentage deals can be good if you only drive part time because you are not bound to earning a specific settle fee before you start to profit. The guys at my old company who used the settle cars had to earn £260 per week before they made a penny, hence why they were all full-timers. Never be afraid to ditch an operator, be loyal to yourself, shop around to see who will give you the best deal for you.
I always recommend  people to use settle cars to begin with for reasons covered in my article ‘Rent or buy your Taxi? But once you know the job is for you then owning a car becomes a more sensible option as it is slightly cheaper in most [not all] cases after you take into account things like Private Hire Insurance. Another benefit is the flexibility of having your own car, this comes in hand if you want to source your own work .

Money making Ideas
Making extra money as a taxi driver is fairly easy, you will need to obtain an operator’s licence from your local council, details will be on their website; a list of which you can find here. Its far easier to obtain this document that it is to become a taxi driver (in most cases) so don’t stress. Once you have this document you are then allowed to advertise for work.  Most of my work came from Airport Transfers, its a great way to go if you live near one.
  • Websites like www.freeindex.co.uk are good places to start, freeindex is a FREE local business directory that brought me quite a few clients looking for airport transfers.
  • Get your business (thats you!) on google maps, when people search for ‘airport taxis in Liverpool’ google presents a map of local businesses, again i got some work via this method. Details of how can be found here.
  • Build a website, it only has to be basic! Hosting can cost as little as £3 a month. A domain name can be had for £5. You can even do it for free. Once build you site will be indexed by google and people can find you this way. If you live in London  there will be hundreds of other sites fighting to be top of google so you may not be able to compete, but this can be worthwhile for less competitive areas. If there is any interest i will do a more in-depth article on the subject.
  • Advertise in local papers, free magazines. This is hit and miss but its worth running a one month trial in your local rag to see if the ad brings you enough customers.
  • Advertise IN your car! I printed out a piece of photo paper advertising my airport transfers and mounted it on the dashboard, people would often ask for prices and take my contact details. I got a good amount of work this way.
  • Print business cards, hand them to choice customers. Print leaflets and see if you can leave them a in local shops, pay some kids to post them for you!
  • See if any local businesses want to advertise on your car, they can use magnetic strips or window transfers, think of all the faces that will see the ad as you drive about, its a strong selling point. You could even advertise your own services in this way.
  • Act as a middle man, I would often get calls from people looking for a 6-12 seat taxi, I would then call some of the lads at work or a local airport transfer business [who I had an arrangement with] and see if they wanted the customer, you just add your percentage on top of the quote! Everyone’s happy.
  • Hire out your car, see if another driver wants to use the car in your down time. Charge him a settle fee that beats local operators. I used to know a husband and wife team, she drove in the day and he used the same car to work the night. The secret to a happy marriage perhaps?

There are loads of ways you can bring in extra income, just try to think outside of the box. Becoming a taxi driver shouldn't mean you are limited only to picking up radio work, with a little effort you can open up multiple sources of revenue. Don’t worry about being the cheapest, I was competing against people running illegally without licences or insurance. If you get hung up on being the cheapest you will end up skint and the customers you attract are often the most difficult to deal with (unrealistic).

If you have any other ideas please leave them in the comments below!

Drive Safe...


Voucher Code 10% off Discount @ www.Taxi-Mart.co.uk


Just a quick update, Taxi-mart.co.uk have an online shop that sells pretty much every accessory you could need for your taxi... Car vacuum cleaners, money belts, sick bags, door guards (to protect against careless idiots) , CarPoint seatbelt stoppers, portable toilets, she-wee, coin dispensers, receipt books....etc....etc ....and a load of other stuff that I don’t have the will to list here.

Taxi-Mart has a juicy 10% discount voucher code which could save you a good few quid. When you go through to check out on their site, use this code:


TMS-02

There is no expiry date for this code so it should last forever.


Rent or Buy your Taxi?


This is a question I am often asked and my answer is always the same, if you are going private hire you should rent first buy later. A lot of the time my advice falls on deaf ears for the simple reason that once someone falls in love with the idea of buying their own shiny new car then there is no telling them otherwise.

I will be honest; lot of people go and but their own car and never look back but the main reasons I say you should rent are:

If you are not in a good financial position the last thing you need in more financial commitments, renting will help you build up some cash.

You never know how you will react to driving a taxi, some love it some detest it... You will not know your genuine feelings for weeks or months. It’s much harder to quit with debts hanging over your head.

You have much more flexibility to work if you rent, if you buy a car on finance the bills don’t stop when you have a week off.

Renting often works out at the same cost as buying a new car. My Skoda cost £210 a week to run excluding petrol, to rent the same car from the operator costs £200 so you see there is not much in it. Read more on: Costs of Running a Taxi



If you are convinced you want to buy a car or you have tried rentals and it’s time to move on then I would recommend you buy a second hand car, try to keep below £5000. And either pay cash or spread term of the loan so your repayments are lower, I would aim for no more than £160 per month. After all, this will be deducted from your overall income. Try to avoid hire purchase as its very hard/impossible to get out of the agreement and they will have no sympathy if you struggle to make repayments.
It’s worth remembering that some councils require your car to me no older than 3 years.

Check out my article on 9 Ways to Make Extra Money as a Taxi Driver