If you enjoy driving for extended periods of time and meeting new people, a career as a Taxi Driver may be a great fit for you. This article will provide all the information you need about what you need to become a Taxi Driver, as well as skills that can help you excel in this field.
What Does a Taxi Driver Do?
A Taxi Driver operates a taxicab in order to drive customers to and from their destinations, such as homes, airports, work and shopping centers. This individual either owns or rents their taxi, and can work part or full-time as a driver. Taxi owners are usually under contract with a dispatch company, which refers clients to them for a fee. Drivers also have the option to lease the cars from a dispatch company for an additional fee.
Being a Taxi Driver requires good driving skills and a clean driving record, as well as excellent customer service skills. Common responsibilities of a Taxi Driver include:
Driving customers to and from destinations
Looking up or following directions on a map or GPS
Helping with loading and unloading of luggage
Answering dispatch calls and referrals
Cleaning and maintaining the vehicle
Taxi Driver Skills
A Taxi Driver must be able to safely drive their vehicle, follow directions as well as have knowledge of typical traffic times to get passengers to and from their destinations as quickly as possible. However, a Taxi Driver must also have excellent customer service skills, as they spend all their working hours with people of different ages and cultures. Taxi Drivers should have active listening skills to be able to understand where customers are heading. They must have good interpersonal skills to make the passengers feel comfortable, explain the reason for any detours or longer-than-average wait times and offer alternative directions. Taxi Drivers have to drive for long periods of time, often in traffic, and sometimes in rough weather conditions, which requires patience, a calm attitude and the ability to stay alert.
Other key Taxi Driver skills include:
Problem solving skills
Ability to carry heavy luggage
Ability to make minor repairs to vehicle
How Do You Become a Taxi Driver
Education and Training
There is no formal education required to become a Taxi Driver, although most workers do have a high school diploma or equivalent, which is helpful when reading and following directions and calculating fares.
While individual cities have their own qualifications for Taxi Drivers, most require candidates to have a clean driving record, a valid Driver's License (Class C, B or A), passing a background check and passing random drug and alcohol testing by the taxi company.
Some cities may require aspiring Taxi Drivers to complete some training, which can be offered for free by the taxi company, or can be taken at a community college or taxi school. The training can last anywhere from one day to a few weeks, and focuses on traffic laws, safety issues, taxi operation, etc.
Most municipalities also require a passing score on a test, for which there is typically training or a guide distributed, after which a Taxi Driver certificate or license will be provided for a fee.
Finding a job
There is a growing demand for Taxi Drivers; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 13 percent increase, with a projected 7,480 annual job openings across the country through 2024. This demand is caused by an increase in people who seek ride-hailing services through smartphone apps.
A Taxi Driver resume should include experience in driving passengers, following directions and providing excellent customer service.
When searching for job openings, it may be advantageous to contact local taxi dispatch companies to inquire about openings.
A cover letter for this position would express an interest in the position, as well as describe the communication, interpersonal and time management skills that make you a good candidate to become a Taxi Driver.
Insights from a Taxi Driver
The following section gives you a more personal look into the daily life of a taxi driver. Read on to get a clear picture of what is like to be a Taxi Driver.
What should someone consider before becoming a Taxi Driver?
A taxi driver is an honorable job but it can be unhealthy. Sitting for long periods can damage your back and of course make you gain weight in the process as well. It would be a good idea to schedule exercise in your daily routine.
What type of person excels in this job?
Taxi drivers need to be punctual. And have a very good understanding of their surroundings and whereabouts for location purposes. It would be a good idea to work locally.
What is the common career path for a Taxi Driver?
There is no educational requirement to become a taxi driver. All you need is a driver's license personal documentation to get certified. Age requirements change depending on where you live. AIn some cases, you may be required to perform a health exam to make sure you have no condition that can put you and your passengers in danger. Having unpaid tickets in your record can impact your eligibility.
What are some of the most important skills for Taxi Drivers have?
A Taxi Driver needs good driving skills and understanding of the roads and traffic. Also, time-managing skills are very important. The ability to handle money and technical vehicle knowledge is a must. Being friendly and approachable also helps the business grow.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Taxi Driver?
You get to meet so many people from different backgrounds. It's very eye-opening when you get the chance to communicate with some of these people. And the fact that you are helping them reach their destinations, is very rewarding. Also, with experience, you become a master in navigating around cities, and everywhere else.
How Much Do Taxi Drivers Get Paid?
Taxi Drivers make an average of $11.30 hourly. The highest-paid drivers make $18.25, and the lowest-paid earn $8.57.
Top 10 States for a Taxi Driver’s Salary
Taxi Drivers in the following states make the highest average hourly rates in the U.S.
Taxi Driver Resources
These resources will provide more information about a career as a Taxi Driver.
On the Web
Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association
A non-profit trade association of and for the private passenger transportation industry.
Taxi Driver Wisdom: 20th Anniversary Edition
A celebration of the witty, philosophical perspective on human nature culled from real quotations from real cab drivers who've been around the block.
The New York State Taxicab Driver's Companion
A comprehensive manual for beginning Taxi and Limo drivers in New York State as well as the reference guide to experienced livery drivers.