Before anyone is allowed to drive one of the famous London black cabs they will need to pass a test known commonly as The Taxi Knowledge or London Knowledge. There are two types of licence which a taxi driver can apply for; the first is a yellow badge or suburban licence. Passing this test enables the driver to select from one of the nine suburban sectors in the city of London. On passing the test the taxi driver will be restricted to routes and work in his or her selected area. Below is a map of the nine areas in their respected numbered segments.
Many drivers concentrate on one particular sector and once they have obtained their licence they then apply and expand into neighbouring areas. There is nothing to stop anyone applying for more than one suburban area as there is no limit however if you are considering more than two sectors you may as well apply for a Green badge licence which gives the taxi driver a distinguised green badge licence to cover the whole area with an All London Licence.
Before assuming that this will be an easy task there is one very important factor to remember, you will need to remember and familiarise yourself with all the possible routes as sattelite navigation aids are not permitted. Not only will you need to remember each and every route but some 30,000 points of interest which includes schools, landmarks, police stations and tourist attractions.
So how long does it take the average person to learn the London Knowledge? On average between 3 and 5 years but it really depends on the individual, how serious are they about passing, how committed are they and how much time can they dedicated to learning the routes? Without a doubt they are going to need to Download The Blue Book of runs containing each of the routes and landmarks.