Taxi drivers provide an essential service to millions of people every day by transporting them safely and quickly from one place to another. They are often the first point of contact between passengers and the cities they live in, giving them a chance to share their knowledge and opinions about their local communities.
Drivers typically work for a taxi company, which provides them with vehicles, insurance, dispatch services, and offers some degree of training. In addition to picking up passengers on the street, they may also be tasked with transporting passengers from hotels, airports, event centers, etc.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a taxi driver and what it takes to become one yourself.
Taxi Driver Job Duties
Taxi drivers are responsible for the following duties:
- Examining and maintaining vehicles to ensure they are safe to drive and that the mechanical operations of the vehicle are working properly
- Collecting fares from passengers and paying them using a cash register or mobile payment device such as a smartphone
- Following local traffic laws regarding speed limits, lane use, and parking to avoid traffic tickets and accidents
- Maintaining records of fares collected and other financial information for tax purposes
- Reporting accidents or other incidents involving their vehicle to their dispatcher or insurance carrier
- Communicating with dispatch about incoming calls for service, letting dispatch know when they arrive at a location, and asking for directions to new destinations when needed
- Providing friendly customer service including answering questions about local attractions or accommodations
Taxi Driver Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for taxi drivers is $37,787. The highest earners of the profession make more than $65,000. Those earning higher wages tend to work in urban areas.
The employment of taxi drivers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. This is due to growth in urban areas.
Taxi Driver Job Requirements
The following is required for taxi drivers:
Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is required for this position, as well as a valid driver’s license with a special endorsement for driving a taxi. Some taxi drivers attend a vocational school to learn the necessary skills for the job.
Training: All new taxi drivers need to complete a training program that will teach them the necessary skills to work in the industry. Training varies by employer, but may include classes on driving laws, customer service, navigation techniques, local area history, corporate policies, insurance requirements and customer etiquette.
Certifications: There are no certifications required to become a taxi driver.
Taxi Driver Skills
Taxi drivers need to have the following skills to perform their jobs well:
Customer service skills: Taxi drivers must have excellent customer service skills in order to ensure that each passenger has a pleasant experience. Drivers should provide courteous greetings and helpful suggestions for tourist attractions and restaurants.
Communication skills: Taxi drivers must be able to speak clearly in order to interact with customers and answer general questions about the area, tourist attractions, etc.
Knowledge of local area: Drivers must know their way around the city, including streets and highways. They should also be able to use maps and online apps that provide directions, notifications of traffic, etc.
Stress management skills: Patience is important because drivers may have to deal with traffic jams, angry customers, and other stressful situations. They need to maintain a calm and professional demeanor.
Driving skills: Taxi drivers must be excellent drivers who follow safety procedures to avoid accidents. They must have knowledge of traffic laws and driving regulations.
Time management skills: Taxi drivers must be reliable and show up on time for customers. Many customers are new to the area, and being late or otherwise unreliable can have an adverse effect on customers.
Taxi Driver Work Environment
Taxi drivers spend most of their time driving from one location to another, but some may have to wait a long time at the airport or train station for a passenger. Working conditions vary considerably by employer. Some cabs are outfitted with air conditioning and heat, while others have only an AM/FM radio.
During bad weather, fog, or traffic jams, taxi drivers can be exposed to dangerous working conditions. In addition, they deal with passengers who may be rude or disagreeable. Drivers may have to lift passengers or luggage onto the trunk of their car which takes physical strength. They are also vulnerable to injury caused by back problems.
Taxi Driver Career Path
After a brief training period, taxi drivers hit the streets and start building up a customer base. This takes time, and many drivers quit within the first year. The hours are long and irregular, and the pay is average at best.
Five Years On The Job
By five years, taxi drivers have established regular customers and know where to find the business. They may spend their off-hours arranging to rent their taxis to other drivers. A few may own their own cabs or small fleets of them. They have an easier time making ends meet, but still have irregular hours. Their pay increases significantly, but so does their stress level.
Ten Years On The Job
By ten years, most taxi drivers have learned how to work with new technology, are knowledgeable about city routes and traffic patterns, and have gained significant knowledge of city life that will serve them well. The majority of those who stay in the field will continue to do so until retirement age; those who leave generally pursue other careers or businesses in the field like bus drivers that will allow them more job security.
Taxi Driver Trends
Here are three trends influencing how taxi drivers work. Taxi drivers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Increased Self-Driving Capabilities
As the technology of self-driving cars improves, it is becoming increasingly possible for drivers to rely on self-driving features that allow them to rest or take care of other tasks while they are in transit.
While it will be a long time before all cars are self-driving, this emerging trend has already led to the development of software that can monitor driver attention and nudge them when they need to pay more attention to the road, leading some experts to predict that in the future it may be possible for people who regularly use these systems, such as taxi drivers or truckers, could make extra money by allowing their car to drive for them.
The Changing Face of the Taxi Industry
As ride-sharing services continue to develop, taxi drivers are finding themselves in a more competitive market.
While some may see this as a negative trend, it can also be viewed as an opportunity for taxi drivers to learn new skills and become more well-rounded professionals.
For example, taxi drivers could incorporate their experience with customers into other areas of their lives, such as sales and customer service jobs. Alternatively, they could expand their knowledge of technology by learning about new apps or software that can help them stay competitive.
Value of Online Reviews
With the increasing importance of online reviews, taxi drivers will need to develop stronger interpersonal skills to create a better experience for customers.
Online reviews are playing an increasingly important role in how people decide where to spend their money. Because of this, companies have made it easier than ever for customers to leave feedback on their experiences, which can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.
For example, if a driver shows up late or refuses to take a customer where they want to go, it is much more likely that they will post negative feedback about the experience compared with someone who had a positive experience overall. Drivers should take steps to avoid these situations so that they can leave good impressions for future customers and avoid long-term damage caused by poor ratings on review sites.
How to Become a Taxi Driver
1. Planning Your Career
If you’re thinking about a career as a taxi driver, the first step is to decide if this field matches your personality and lifestyle preferences. For example, some people prefer working independently while others enjoy working in groups; both types of roles are common in this industry.
Additionally, it’s important to consider whether or not you will be able to handle a job that requires a lot of downtime. Taxi drivers often have long periods between fares and must wait for passengers at airports or other transportation hubs. If you find yourself becoming bored easily when not doing work-related tasks, this might not be the right field for you.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for taxi drivers emphasize their customer service skills, attention to detail, and ability to drive. You can highlight these skills by including specific instances where you demonstrated them. For example, if you have great driving records or have received positive recommendations from your clients, explain how you went above and beyond to meet their needs.
While providing your work history, it’s useful to provide a brief context, such as the cities you drove in or the kinds of clients that you served. To stand out from other applicants, be sure to list all certifications you have received and any special training courses you have completed.
3. Applying for Jobs
To get a job as a taxi driver, it is important to be prepared. It is necessary to have knowledge of the city where you wish to work. There are several important things that you need to know about the area, including the location of popular places, places of interest, and the route of getting from one place to another.
A good place to start your job search is by connecting with other drivers on Twitter and Facebook. This will allow you to build your network of contacts and learn about the ins and outs of the taxi industry. Most companies will also provide information on their hiring practices in the employment sections of their websites.
4. Ace the Interview
The key to succeeding in an interview is preparation. You should be able to communicate clearly how you can benefit the taxi company and its clients. If you have the opportunity, practice answering questions about yourself without sounding too rehearsed during the interview.
Make sure to arrive on time, dress professionally, and use a firm handshake. During the interview, be ready to talk about your background, including any specific qualifications you feel are important for the position. Remember to indicate your commitment to excellence.