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Black cab fightback: the Knowledge might become a formal qualification

James Manning

This week, in the latest stage of the black cabs-versus-Uber saga, Sadiq Khan suggested bringing in formal qualification status for The Knowledge. Every London cabbie has to pass this mammoth Victorian-era test, which involves memorising 25,000 streets and all the ‘places of interest’ within six miles of Charing Cross. It takes an average of three and a half years, and official certification could allow Knowledge boys and girls (as they’re called) to apply for study loans. Which seems fair, given some apprentice cabbies spend hundreds of thousands of pounds qualifying.

Hang on, though – the Knowledge is pretty impressive, but there are plenty of other London skills that also deserve to be properly enshrined…

Oxford Street Pedestrian Diploma

Teaching all the necessary skills to navigate London’s most unpleasant street, the OSPD will cover minimum walking speed, shopping bag management and not taking up the whole fucking pavement. If/when Oxford Street gets pedestrianised, unqualified visitors will be funnelled into a segregated lane.

Tube God Degree

Can you navigate from the Central line at Bank to the District line at Monument in less than three minutes? Are you quicker than CityMapper at getting around signal failures? Do you always, always, always know where the doors are? Then you might just be able to pass the TGD. No, it doesn’t come with a fare discount or anything.

London Cycling Proficiency Test

The old-school Cycling Proficiency Test taught kids how to indicate properly without falling off the bike. The new London version would address all the basics plus a number of extra, city-specific skills: avoiding cement trucks, lobbying politicians, lycra snugness, pretending not to have seen zebra crossings and advanced swearing. 

Craft Beer Brewing Certificate

Craft beer mania has created a perilous new breed of London homebrewers – hence the need for proper regulation. If you haven’t got a CBBC, don’t even think about making any of your friends try that horrible shit you’ve been concocting under the stairs.

In other cool London transport news, this animated tube map shows the busiest times on the tube.

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