Almost one in three applications to drive London’s iconic black cabs are now from black and minority ethnic (BME) background.
Figures released by Transport for London’s Public Carriage Office (PCO) show that candidates taking the London taxi ‘knowledge’ are increasingly reflecting the capital’s diverse communities.
Since the launch of a TfL campaign in 2005 to encourage more applications from these groups, the proportion of applications from people from BME backgrounds has increased by more than 50%. London is served by 1,300 licensed taxi drivers from BME communities out of a total of 25,000.
Information booklets about how to become a taxi driver have been distributed at post offices, community centres, libraries and job centres across London and publicised via a poster campaign. The PCO has also run road shows, and attended events and job fairs to support the initiative.
Transport commissioner Peter Hendy said: “Black taxis are an instantly recognisable part of London life, and an incredibly important part of our transport network. It is a welcome reflection of the hard work that Transport for London has been putting in, that this world-renowned service is now becoming truly reflective of the diverse communities it serves.”
The PCO is also striving to attract more women to the licensed taxi trade. Currently, fewer than 4% of knowledge applicants are women.