BLACK taxis could be destined for the junkyard, according to an influential think tank.
The Adam Smith Institute wants The Knowledge – the London route test that all taxi drivers must pass – to be abandoned in the age of sat navs and Uber.
Black cab drivers say it would be a disaster for passengers.
And if The Knowledge becomes another casualty of the modern world, it’s the end of the ultimate memory test, which has its roots in the days of horse transportation.
It was created after the Great Exhibition of 1851, when hansom taxi drivers could not find their way from Hyde Park, where the event was held, to their ticket destinations.
Later, a law stipulated that black cabs had to be large enough to accommodate a passenger wearing a bowler hat.
And in 1847, the Town Police Clauses Act allowed drivers to urinate on the rear left wheel of their cab.
Today, mastering knowledge typically takes three to four years.
Students begin with the Blue Book, which lists 320 runs within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross station.
After all, they have to know more than 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks.
Some work 70-hour weeks and tinker with scooter learning routes.
And the learning process gives aspiring taxi drivers a bigger brain.
In 2011, a University College of London study found that the hippocampus, the area associated with memory, had grown in those who had completed The Knowledge.
Many taxi drivers imagine a piece of string running along the route.
Examiners ask drivers to identify key landmarks within a quarter mile of the start and finish point of each Blue Book run.
You may also want candidates to offer routes that avoid traffic lights.
A reviewer is said to favor obscure items like London’s smallest public sculpture – two mice nibbling cheese on Philpot Lane.
But the failure rate is high – 70 percent drop out of learning the knowledge.
Now only time will tell if the black cab has reached the end of the street.
by Mitch Winehouse, former cab driver
I WAS late to become a taxi driver.
I ran a successful window company and sold my stake to my partner and wondered what to do.
At 48, I had enough to live on for a few years, but my wife said, “Why not be a cab driver?”
Most people do it in their free time, but I could do The Knowledge full-time in my own car.
I’m 71 now, but I can still remember every route from the Blue Book.
Amy loved to ride with me and make me recite all the roads.
She was 14 or 15 at the time, checking to see if I was right.
When she became famous she loved being driven by me.
She was supposed to be incognito, but she rolled down the window and called hello to people on the street. she was so funny
She was the most famous person I’ve ever driven, but once I drove David Hasselhoff.
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8761709/knowledge-uber-black-cab-route/ The secrets of knowledge as Uber threatens the legendary Black Cab route test with extinction