Transport for London (TfL) has announced changes to its Knowledge of London assessment described as “business as usual” changes.


It has been reported that the red line policy will be retained, however if a candidate accumulates 4 ‘D’ grades, they will revert back to the beginning of the same stage, as opposed to the start of the previous stage.

New time limits to be set for each stage:

  • Stage 3 – 3 years
  • Stage 4 – 2 years
  • Stage 5 – 1 Year

At the end of the time limit candidates will be required to attend a meeting with the Knowledge of London manager to discuss their progress.

Re-test update

A previously licensed taxi driver has to undertake a re-test if they have two years or more of not being licensed.

The new process will involve the guidelines being sent, but the person then invited to attend a talk with a Knowledge of London (KoL) examiner to discuss the re-test process and what standard of topographical knowledge will be expected from them.   

Learning the Knowledge

There are two different types of London taxi drivers:

  • All London (green badge) – Drivers can ply for hire anywhere in the Greater London Authority area
  • Suburban (yellow badge) – Drivers can ply for hire in one of the nine sectors in the suburbs of the Greater London Authority area

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.

Stage 1: Self assessment

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.

Stage 2: Written examination

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.

Stages 3-5: Appearances

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.

Stage 6: Suburban examination

You will need to demonstrate a good working knowledge of London’s suburbs by learning an additional 25 routes.

Stage 7: Licence application and pre-licensing talk

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.

Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.

Taxi or private hire legal issue?

If you are facing a taxi or private hire legal issue or difficulty, speak to us today for a free no obligation case assessment.