Everyone’s familiar with the Black Cabs seen around London but if you think they are the same as any other taxi service around the globe then think again. Many would argue the London’s Black Cabs are the most reliable and professional cab service in the world and there’s good reason for that.
Anyone interested in perusing a career as a Black Cab driver will need to pass a grueling test known as “The Knowledge of London” or “The Knowledge” for short. This test has been given to prospective Black Cab drivers since 1865. Most candidates spend anywhere from 2 to 4 years in preparation for this intense exam. Candidates must know 25,000 streets, 100,000 landmarks and 320 main routes. They are required to know every minute detail within the 6 miles radius of city center. You won’t find any GPS or Sat Nav devices in any Black Cab. Your driver will know the city well enough to know the best route to your destination, how to avoid traffic and will get you there in record time. No need to google an address to give to the driver either, just let him know where you are heading and rest assured he’s familiar with the location and will know the best route to get you there.
You’ll find these elite drivers to be a wealth of information. They are a great source for information about the city, travel advice, recommendations or just to hear a few amusing stories. You are always guaranteed an interesting conversation on your journey.
The look of the traditional Black Cab has changed in recent years. Today not all Black Cabs are black. You’ll find many in an array of colors or multi colored. Often they are covered in advertising.
Almost all Black Cabs are owned by the driver and operate as their own independent business. When you step inside a Black Cab it’s almost as if you’ve just entered the driver’s home. I’ll never forget the look on a driver’s face the time I hopped in a cab with a friend visiting from New York when she began unwrapping a turkey sandwich she had in her bag. After being scolded for her lack of Black Cab etiquette, she argued that she always eats while riding in NYC cabs and couldn’t understand why there was an issue. I’m sure he got a lot of millage out of that story by using it to entertain his next several passengers.
With all those years of hard work and preparation Black Cabs are, needless to say, not the most economical way to get around London. If you are trying to stick to a budget on your London holiday then there are a host other more cost effective ways to get around the city but no trip to London is complete without at least one Black Cab adventure.
Experience London as a local by choosing one of ’s for your next home swap. Stay in or and after a day of sightseeing you can trust a Black Cab to get you home safe and hassle free. Just be sure to never eat your lunch on the ride, it’s a dead giveaway you’re a tourist.
Thank you travel writer Lisa Medeiros. Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_