Taxi Driver Job Description
Friendly, well-groomed applicants with clean driving records are the most sought-after candidates for taxi driver positions. Candidates with schedule flexibility are preferred, as 12-hour shifts, night, holiday, and weekend work are often required. Flexibility to travel is a plus as well, as trips outside the city of employment are made occasionally. There are no formal education requirements for taxi drivers; however, the position does have minimum age requirements that vary from state to state. This age requirement ranges from 21 – 26. Drivers are also required to be licensed in the state in which he or she will be driving, and motor vehicle records are checked for violations. The preference is for applicants with a two to five-year period of no violations, based on the state of employment.
Taxi Driver Duties and Responsibilities
While the minimum age requirement and the clean driving record requirements may vary from state to state, the primary duties performed by taxi drivers are more uniform. These core duties include:
Taxi drivers are responsible for utilizing a vehicle that is leased from the cab company to pick up passengers from a specified location and quickly and safely deliver them to their drop-off destination.
Load and Unload Passengers
They are expected to provide professional and courteous service to all passengers. As a part of this customer service, taxi drivers assist riders with their luggage, bags, grocery, etc. when they enter and exit the vehicle.
To ensure that passengers have a safe riding experience, drivers are responsible for performing routine checks on their vehicle such as measurement of fluid levels and tire inspection and reporting any problems.
Taxi drivers have to maintain accurate logs of mileage, travel time, fares, and work hours. This is important for payroll and tax purposes.
A clean vehicle contributes to a more pleasant and comfortable riding experience for passengers. Taxi drivers help create this greater experience by washing the outside of the vehicle and cleaning and vacuuming the inside of the cab.
Taxi Driver Skills and Qualifications
Taxi drivers should enjoy driving and have a good knowledge of getting around in the city or cities in which they will be driving. Interpersonal skills and the ability to follow directions are also sought by employers. Other preferred skills/abilities employers look for:
- Communication – Taxi drivers must be able to effectively interact verbally with dispatchers from whom they will receive passenger pick up instructions and with passengers from various levels of society who they are responsible for driving
- Map Reading – Maps may be utilized to determine the most efficient way to get a passenger to his or her destination
- Math – Basic math skills are required to count cash fares and give back accurate change and to calculate hours, mileage, and commissions
- Problem Solving – Taxi drivers must be able to make quick decisions concerning route changes in the event of closed roads, construction, and/or heavy traffic and resolve passenger complaints
- Driving Skills – The ability to maneuver the vehicle safely in high traffic and adverse weather conditions is necessary for passenger safety
Taxi Driver Education and Training
Education above the secondary level is not required for taxi drivers and for many companies, a high school diploma is not a requirement. On-the-job training is provided for most positions, with one to two years of driving experience preferred.
Taxi Driver Salary and Outlook
Taxi drivers are frequently paid daily. This pay is usually commission based according to the fare total. The average salary for drivers is $24,300. The lowest 10 percent earn an average of $18,250 and the highest earn a median salary of $38,500. One of the benefits for this position is a sign on bonus that ranges from $500 – $1,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the growth rate for this position will be average through 2026, with a rate of five percent.
Interested in learning more about what it takes to be a successful taxi driver? If so, check out the following websites and books for more information:
National Taxi Workers’ Alliance (NTWA) – Founded in 2011, NTWA is the only national union dedicated to taxi drivers. The mission of this organization is to help protect drivers’ full-time work status and pay, rights, and offer consumer protections. NTWA has affiliates in New York City, Philadelphia, Austin, Montgomery County, and San Francisco and several organizational drives are taking place in other cities throughout the United States.
Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) – TLPA is a nonprofit association established in 1917 for the private passenger transportation industry. Its 1,000-taxicab company membership is served through the provision of representation in federal legislative issues, which affords the protection of industry rights and opportunities as well as the expansion of them. The site offers the collection and distribution of industry information, professional development, and education forums.
Streetwise: How Taxi Drivers Establish Customer’s Trustworthiness – Authors Diego Gambetta and Heather Hamill offer insight into determining individuals’ trustworthiness. This is a critical skill for taxi drivers because an error in judgement can result in the loss of life. Using an analysis of cab drivers in New York City and Belfast, Northern Ireland, the authors provide sign management and defensive strategies to help minimize potential harm.
Taxi Driver and Chauffeur Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – Author Anne Johnson helps prospective cabbies with their entrance into the taxi driving industry by providing guidance on topics such as: whether your personality type fits that needed for the position, the roles and responsibilities, how to dress, and common mistakes to avoid in the job search and interview.
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