How to Become a
Taxi Driver

Taxi driver talking to his passenger in the backseat

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:

  • Reading comprehension

  • 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.

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.

    District of Columbia

    $14.77

    Nevada

    $13.70

    Connecticut

    $13.45

    New York

    $13.39

    Alaska

    $13.31

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    $13.18

    New Jersey

    $12.72

    Virginia

    $12.40

    Delaware

    $12.34

    California

    $12.26

    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.

    Books

    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.

    Blogs

    The NYC Taxi Blog
    A private blog about New York City Yellow Cab Taxis.

    Cabs Are For Kissing
    Observations, opinions and advice from a New York City Taxi Driver.