Tolerance, cultural diversity, liberal attitude… none of these are concepts traditionally linked with London’s black cab drivers. But new figures released by TFL reveal that a drive to recruit more cabbies from ethnic minorities has been a great success – with a third of current applicants for The Knowledge coming from a black, Asian or other ethnic background.
This new, multicultural taxi force is the result of a prolonged campaign by TFL to attract a less Essex-centric range of people to take The Knowledge. And the road shows, information books and other recruitment drives have evidently had the desired effect.
Not that there isn’t still a long way to go: of the 25,000 licensed cabbies in London, only 1,300 are from minority ethnic communities: a percentage that is surely reversed in the minicab trade. Women, too, are under-represented – with only 400 licensed as black cab drivers in the capital. But it can only be a step in the right direction.
Whether our new all-inclusive taxi fleet will be any more willing to drive south of the river after 10 pm, however, is quite another matter…