Taxi test online

June 20, 2003

Your diary entry "Taxiing on the internet" ( THES , June 13) claims that I think aspirant London cabbies can "learn" routes online when what I advocate is online testing. The syllabus for London's Knowledge demands drivers know 320 runs and places of interest. The testing method has changed little since 1851. It involves one-to-one 15-minute interviews, known as appearances, during which candidates are tested by an examiner.

The frequency of these interviews - for example, every 56 days - is determined by their score, which is based on the examiner's assessment.

It can take four years to pass the Knowledge, twice as long as 20 years ago. This would put off many potential candidates from entering the taxi trade. Why not supplement the appearances with online testing. A blended approach would be more objective.

Walter Skok
Kingston University Business School

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