Doing the Knowledge

London Black Cabs – The Knowledge

London & UK Black Cabs

Even if you are not from the UK you will know about the very common, very popular, and very British Black Cabs. The black cabs of UK have gained a lot of popularity due to their constant, consistent place in the media. London and many cities in the UK have a huge number of black cabs, circulating and roaming the streets, helping transport passengers from one place to another. The London black cabs have been called a London icon. You must wonder, how all these black cabs of London particularly know their way around the city of London? Surely, before GPS, it wasn’t easy to know the shortest route between point A to point B, and get it right every time. This is where doing The Knowledge comes in handy. As the name suggests, The Knowledge is in plain terms, knowledge of the city of London’s road and routes. All licensed London black cab driver must be aware of all the roads and routes in the city, before they are granted a black cab license by the PCO. By all road and routes, we mean that anywhere in a six-mile radius of Charing Cross, the cab driver must know where to go when a customer names a location.

The need for The Knowledge to become the standard for London Black Cab driver training came after the Great Exhibition in 1851, at that time the black cabs were pulled by horses. A lot of the London cab drivers didn’t know the roads and routes, which caused a lot of issues for people visiting London. This led to looking into the whole situation.

It was decided to set a minimum standard for all black cab drivers in London so that people who wanted to be London cab drivers could tested and controlled. In today’s date The London Knowledge has become a very stringent, lengthy and difficult course, this is set in 5 different examinations, or departments, after which you are awarded the green badge of a London Black Cab driver. In all cases The Knowledge and passing its examinations derives from learning and the ability to remember the roads and routes. The requirement of a good memory is needed, you will need to understand and remember the roads and routes. People who mediocre with the roads and routes but don’t have a good memory will have to work very hard if they want to be a black cab driver. But there is always the GPS that we have now!

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London Black Cab The GPS System

The GPS system was first introduced in road going vehicles in 1995. Since the previous 28 years, the GPS system has become much more advancement and has improved with technology. Multiple companies operate GPS systems, and they are almost as common as mobile phones, they are installed in all smartphones in today’s world. Google Maps is the leading GPS system in the world, with the easiest user interface compared to all other GPS systems. The number of GPS devices worldwide in 2019 was roughly about 6.4 billion and the number is increasing number constantly. However, London Black Cab drivers debate that GPS systems cannot be more superior than the assurance that The London Knowledge provides them. This has been a massive topic of debate for many years and is particularly the reason why a most London Black Cab drivers still don’t use GPS. This is understandable since GPS still can still be further improved. Most systems still have system issues like showing routes that aren’t exactly the shortest or easiest, or not being able to detect traffic properly. It could be that they are used to it, or want resist to change is the reasoning the London Black Cab drivers are refusing to let go of the Knowledge. It is a sacred thing among London Black Cab drivers to be able to remember every road and route, off-route and track in and around London. This has become a big hurdle in GPS systems being introduced in London Black Cabs. As long as The Knowledge doesn’t lose to GPS and driver performances drop for a long time due to the non-use of GPS, it’s basically harmless. If the London cabbies want to drive without GPS and rely on The Knowledge, they have every right to.

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