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Addison Lee, London’s largest private hire and taxi firm, has today announced a new partnership with the WizAnn Knowledge School to safeguard the future of the black taxi industry, and support drivers looking to establish a successful career in the field.
The number of black taxi drivers licensed by TfL has faced a steady decline in recent years, with latest figures showing just 17,625 taxi driver licenses in the capital1. Joint forces have been contributing to the ongoing workforce decline, such as the pandemic and the extensive training required.
To help address this shortage, and ensure Londoners have ongoing access to all forms of reliable transport, Addison Lee has partnered with the WizAnn Knowledge School, to provide private hire drivers with the Knowledge training at a discounted rate.
To become a black taxi driver, applicants must pass ‘the Knowledge’, learning every road within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. This process typically takes up to 4 years and has the potential to deter new recruits looking to kickstart both their career and their earnings.
Addison Lee’s partnership with WizAnn aims to tackle this challenge, by giving drivers the opportunity to ‘earn while they learn’ and is open to existing Addison Lee drivers and private hire drivers interested in pursuing a career with the firm.
With the private hire industry continuing to surge across London – with new figures showing 106,538 private hire driver licenses2 – there is a growing opportunity to support these drivers to pursue long-term, fruitful careers in the black taxi industry.
The firm will be delivering the Knowledge training for private hire drivers at its West Drayton Fleet Hub, and all materials – from training documents to videos, and a 24-hour support group – is being provided at a discounted rate, laddering up to no costs for drivers in the fourth year.
Liam Griffin, CEO of Addison Lee, commented: “Operating in the capital for over 50 years, we share our strong London heritage with the Hackney Carriage industry, alongside a shared passion for providing drivers with fulfilling and fruitful careers.
But we’re not naive to the challenges, and we know that if we want to see the black taxi thrive, we must provide drivers with the right support and benefits to encourage them into the field. We hope our partnership will spur a positive change for the industry and uphold the rich cultural significance of London’s iconic black taxis.”
With a full suite of services and owned vehicles, Addison Lee offers a clear career path for drivers unlike other operators in the city. With its courier, standard, executive, and black taxi fleet on its platform, the firm is able to provide drivers with career development, supporting them with their next move and progression.
Drivers with Addison Lee also benefit from a leading driver package, including a contributory pension scheme, sick pay, holiday pay, vehicle maintenance, and the AL Rewards package, providing drivers with financial, physical and mental wellbeing support.
Dean Warrington, Founder of WizAnn Knowledge School, added: “We are excited to collaborate with Addison Lee in this initiative to empower more drivers to embark on the Knowledge journey. Our comprehensive training programme, combined with Addison Lee’s support, will create a pathway for aspiring black taxi drivers to thrive in their career.”
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, commented: “There is a growing demand for the high-quality, safe, and reliable service that London’s licensed taxis provide, and in recent months we’ve seen a welcome increase in the number of applicants to study the Knowledge.
“We welcome important initiatives such as this one, which will encourage more people willing to do the hard work required to complete the Knowledge to join the ranks of the world’s best taxi service and to uphold our gold standard. This is vital to ensure the longevity of London’s iconic black taxis.”