To become a London cabbie, you have to learn what is called the Knowledge: the location of every street within a 10km (six-mile) radius of the centre.Â This takes years of part-time study.Â If you fail the exam, you do not get a license.Â — The Economist
What a great idea!Â I wish that was the true in Shanghai.Â Maybe then the confused, lost laowai passenger wouldn’t be giving directions to the cab or wondering why the cab driver left him off 2 blocks away from where he wanted to go.Â Everyone would get to their destination.Â I think that would be a great way to solve the problem of cab drivers who can’t figure out how to get to my apt when its only 5 blocks away.
But the flip side is that if they screened cab drivers that strongly, few would pass and then there would be less cabs to be had at all.Â This would be a big problem. I think everyone has at one point spent more than 20 minutes looking for a taxi, particularly in the rain. Some people, myself included have spent over 1 hour looking for a taxi and finally ended up having to walk or take the bus.Â How ridiculous!Â Well, then I think it would be worse to have fewer taxis than to have more competent drivers.
Perhaps the Shanghai city government can require ongoing study and memorization of Shanghai city streets for cab drivers to keep their licenses.Â Every 3 years or so they must take the city streets test and demonstrate greater proficiency than the previous time to keep their license. Â Sounds like a good plan to me!Â Perhaps they can do the same thing with English proficiency, especially leading up to 2010 World Expo…