London Taxi Knowledge Blue Book Runs
As part of the London Taxi Driver knowledge test you will be required to learn the Blue Book runs. These are issued by the Public Carriage Office and in total there are 320 to learn.
The routes are simply a list of journeys and the following three are example runs:
• Manor House Station, N4 to Gibson Square, N1
• Thornhill Square, N1 to Queen Square, WC1
• Chancery Lane Station, WC1 to Rolls Road, SE1
The Blue Book Runs are the foundation of knowledge and there is no easy way to learn them.
It is essential that you follow the correct ‘advised’ procedure for learning each of the runs. The reason for this is simply because an examiner will not ask you to recite the run exactly as it is within the blue book. Instead, he or she will ask to identify the run which nearly corresponds to the official run.
For example, he will not ask you to take him from Manor House Station to Gibson Square (List 1, No. 1) because you could have memorised the route from a computer, map or printed route without ever having undertaken the journey. Instead you could be asked John Scott Health Centre (near Manor House Station) to Almedia Theatre (near Gibson Square). It is imperative that you learn the blue book runs so that you can answer questions posed by the examiner from any point within the ‘circle’.
Failure to achieve this will mean that you will have to cover all the same ground again to collect points you could have seen first time. Once you have learned the value of knowing points at the start and end of each route, what about points along the route? Do not try to learn these at the same time; it is too much to absorb all at once and will only lead to confusion. These points take care of themselves at a later date. If we now add other runs that you will encounter later in the Blue Book you will see how you learn points naturally between the beginning and end of the journey from point A to point B, thus, acting as revision for parts of a previous route.
Gradually you will see how the quarter mile radius falls into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, constantly building your topographical “Knowledge”. Remember, the important thing is to get a mental picture of the map in your head, so that when you do call-over practice or attempt to answer the examiner’s questions you should have a visual image in your mind’s eye of the route and the points at the beginning and end. It is easy to be tempted into racing through the “Blue Book”, doing as many runs as possible, but in the long term you will get through the knowledge quicker if you concentrate on the quality of your learning rather than the quantity.
“Calling-over” (revising runs by repeatedly reciting them) is very important, as it is the only way possible to see how well you are remembering the journeys you have already made. When you call basic “Blue Book” almost anybody can assist you and you should do this as often you can, but what you should be doing is moving toward calling alternative point to alternative point as soon as possible.
The following is an example of a London Taxi Knowledge Blue Book run:
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To complete the Knowledge takes an average 18 months to 4 years. Take a look at our guide on How to Become a London Taxi Driver for even more in depth advice.