As a licensed taxi driver in the Capital you must have a detailed knowledge of roads and places of interest in London – known as the Knowledge.
How long it takes to become a licensed taxi driver depends on whether you want to be an All London driver or a Suburban driver.
London or the suburbs?
All London drivers, also known as Green Badge drivers, need a detailed knowledge of London within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.
Initially, there are 320 routes or runs to learn, along with all the places of interest and important landmarks on and around these runs.
It takes between two to four years to learn and pass the All London Knowledge. Once you are licensed you can work anywhere in the Greater London area.
Suburban drivers, or Yellow Badge drivers, need to choose from one of the nine suburban sectors and know between 30 and 51 runs in detail, depending on their chosen sector, and all places of interest and important landmarks on those runs.
It takes around two years to become a licensed Suburban taxi driver. Once qualified you can only work in the sector you are licensed for.
You can find out more about the two types of license available on the Licence types page.
Knowledge makes your brain grow
The brain will grow as you learn and put into practice the Knowledge, says research by the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience.
On scanning the brains of 16 London taxi drivers, who had spent an average of two years learning the Knowledge, they found they had a larger right hippocampus than control subjects.
Find out more on the study on the Wellcome Trust website.