English proficiency tests

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Saturday 19 March 2016 11.12am
I noted in Thursday's Standard that TFL and the Mayor are thinking of introducing an English proficiency test, and a kind of "Knowledge lite", in an effort to clamp down on the ever increasing numbers of minicabs and minicab drivers swamping The Capital.
I'd have more respect for both City Hall, and Palestra, well perhaps some respect, for I have absolutely none at the moment, if they stopped being mealy mouthed, and admitted that their 'end game' is the complete eradication of black cabs, save for a handful for tourists to admire and photograph, like beefeaters and Buckingham Palace guards.
Over the past 15-20 years I have watched as the authorities have chipped gradually away at licenced black cabs, while giving out minicab licences to all and sundry, a great deal of whom were recent immigrants, whose criminal records, (if they had any), were impossible or too difficult to check on, while indigenous applicants, both for minicab and black cab licences had to quite rightly have a CRB check.
Don't misunderstand me, if someone from Krakůw, Poland, or Sofia, Bulgaria, comes here legally, and has no criminal convictions, let them drive a black cab or minicab by all means, but it saddens me as a Londoner to see what was once an iconic and honourable trade, being relentlessly and wilfully, gradually crushed out of existence.
Sunday 20 March 2016 9.12am
When my girls were young and went out I would tell them always to get a black taxi home and left the cash for fare on top of kitchen table!
Monday 21 March 2016 8.19am
I understand your point. Maybe I donít feel as strongly about it, but I surely understand. Well.. not much could be done. Nowadays there is hardly any country without immigrants. It is the freedom of the modern world to be able to work wherever you want, no matter if you have criminal record or not.
Monday 21 March 2016 9.46am
johnmayers wrote:
I understand your point. Maybe I donít feel as strongly about it, but I surely understand. Well.. not much could be done. Nowadays there is hardly any country without immigrants. It is the freedom of the modern world to be able to work wherever you want, no matter if you have criminal record or not.


If the authorities are aware of any relevant criminality, e.g. in the case of children for instance, they WILL step in, but other than that John, you're unfortunately right.
As to your comment Jan, you did that a) because you're a good mum, and b) because you're old school.

In regard to DJs OP, I'm sure you're right about TFLs intentions, that was a large contributory factor toward my hanging up my badge over four years ago now, I could see the writing on the wall, writ large.
I feel genuine sympathy for the young guys doing the job now, and the kids still doing the Knowledge, in the vain hope of getting a reasonable living.
They'll get a living of sorts, but where driving a black cab was once a great job, and drivers were respected by John Q. Public, it's now just a job, like many others.
In my thirties and forties, I could go out and work three long days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, take every job that raised their hand, take them anywhere and everywhere they asked, then have Monday to Thursday off.
Forget that old canard about south of the river, I didn't care if they wanted Crouch End, or Colliers Wood, I'd go anywhere if the job could pay what was on the meter.
Monday 21 March 2016 12.41pm
Tom having been an annoying habit of remembering phone numbers, I can remember when Mini Cabs first came out, must have been 1962ish, WELBECK 4444! My friend took me to the Old Vic to see a play, it over ran slightly, I had this brainwave she could get a mini cab thing back to Wood Green , trooped around found a phone box, phoned the number ,which rang and answered almost immediately ...think it cost her half a day's pay to get home!

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