If you enjoy driving and think you know London like the back of your hand, then working as a London taxi driver could be the perfect driving job for you. However, it takes a lot of know-how before you get behind the wheel of those famous black cabs.
If you want to be a London taxi driver, you will need to send away to the PCO (Public Carriage Office, a subsidiary of TfL, Transport for London) for an application pack and medical assessment form. There are two different types of driving licence for London taxi drivers: the ‘green badge’ licence, and the ‘yellow badge’ licence. The green badge allows you to work as a taxi driver throughout all of London, whereas the yellow badge restricts you to working in the London suburbs.
Before you apply, ensure that none of the following restrictions apply to you. In order to apply to be a London taxi driver, you must be at least 21 years old, and be a UK or European Union (EU) citizen, or be eligible to stay and work in the UK. As well as this, you must hold a full drivers licence from Great Britain (GB), Northern Ireland (NI) or the European Economic Area (EEA).
To become a London taxi driver, you will need to pass a series of tests, including written, oral and driving tests; in addition you will need to be classed as medically fit.
The required medical test for London taxi drivers is a DVLA Group 2 Medical Examination and can be conducted by your own doctor, if you have been with your doctor for at least 12 months. The test covers a range of health and fitness issues including heart problems, diabetes, psychiatric problems and more. You will need to pass this test to secure a driving job as a London cabbie.
As well as this, you will also need to obtain a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service check, previously known as a Criminal Record Bureau check, or CRB check) to prove you are of good character.
Preparing For Taxi Driving Jobs In London
Once you have sent away for your application form and medical assessment form, you should get yourself a copy of the Blue Book, and start studying. The Blue Book contains the London routes you need to know in order to become a London cabbie. It is available in digital format as well as paper – the digital format can be easier to learn from as you can print out one route at a time to practice.
It is advisable to start your study before you receive a reply from the PCO, so that you have more time to prepare. If your application is accepted, you will receive a Knowledge of London introductory pack, which includes a DVD and a guide to learning the Knowledge of London.
The Self-Assessment Test For Taxi Driving Jobs
As soon as you feel ready, you can contact the PCO to inform them that you are ready to sit your first self-assessment.
The self-assessment test comprises of a written test that you will mark yourself under the supervision of a tutor. The tutor will take you through your answers and let you know how you have scored on the test.
The self-assessment is entirely optional, but it is an excellent way to see if you are ready to take the real tests. It does not count towards your final test, and the results are not stored on any official system.
The Written Tests For Taxi Driving Jobs In London
The written test for London cabbies is in two stages. In order to pass, you must obtain a score of at least 60 percent.
The first stage tests your knowledge of the London routes and it is multiple choice. The second stage tests you on points of interest throughout London. Many London taxi drivers have commented that both stages are difficult and thorough, so ensure you are ready before you take the test.
The Oral test For Taxi Driving Jobs In London
These are more commonly known as ‘appearance’ tests, during which an examiner will ask you about varying points of interest and the best way to get from one to the other. With thousands of streets and landmarks to memorise, it is regarded by drivers as one of the most difficult tests in the industry, taking years to learn.
The Final Driving Test
There are three different kinds of driving assessment you can take: the standard driving assessment, the enhanced assessment (which includes a wheelchair exercise) and the upgrade assessment (if you have already taken the standard assessment and now wish to take the wheelchair exercise assessment).
The driving test lasts approximately 40 minutes and includes an eyesight test. If you fail the eyesight test, you will not be able to continue on to the driving part of the assessment.
During the driving assessment, you will be asked to complete a series of manoeuvres, and you will also need to drive without directions. You will also be asked a series of questions by the examiner, many of which are taken from the Highway Code.
Getting Your Licence
If you have been successful in all of the previous stages, then you will be invited to apply for your licence to become a London taxi driver. All you need to do is show your driver’s licence and pay the licence fee, and it’s all yours.
If unfortunately you are not successful in your London taxi driver test, there are a whole host of other types of driving jobs in London you may want to consider.
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