- Spend your time driving around and meeting lots of new people
- You'll need good driving skills and an awareness of road safety
- Work flexibly for yourself or work for an employer
As a taxi driver or private hire driver you'll spend your time driving passengers from place to place, often within towns and cities. Some taxi drivers work for themselves using their own vehicles and others work for a company. The taxi industry has changed a great deal in recent years with the development of apps that enable customers to call a car that's in their area. This has created new job opportunities but has also changed the way traditional taxi providers operate.
- Taking job details over the radio, by phone, or on the in-car computer
- Helping to load and unload passengers' luggage
- Helping passengers to get in and out of the vehicle
- Taking payments for fares
- Keeping the vehicle clean and in a roadworthy condition
- Keeping accounts and records up to date if self-employed
You might be booked in advance, wait on an official taxi rank or pick up passengers while on the move. You could combine 'pick-up' jobs with contract work, like school runs. You might also make longer-distance trips, like taking people to the airport.
Self-employed drivers chose their own hours, but most drivers will need to work in the evenings and at weekends. You could work 40 to 60 hours a week full-time. You'll spend most of your time on the road, sometimes in heavy traffic.
There are no set requirements, but you'll need a taxi driver's licence. You can get this from the licensing unit of your local council or from Transport for London (TfL) if working in London.
Each unit has its own conditions of licence, but you'll usually need to: have a full UK or EEA driving licence, held for at least 12 months (3 years in London), pass a criminal records check, pass a medical, be over 18 (21 in many areas, including London), pass a geographical knowledge test (called the 'knowledge' in London) complete a driving skills assessment.
In major cities you could also become an Uber Driver - driving passengers as part of Uber's peer-to-peer lift service. Requirements for Uber drivers are less strict, but you will still need to comply with age limits, background checks and have an appropriate licence and vehicle.
You may be able to do a college course, which could give you an advantage when looking for work. Courses include a Level 2 Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving - Taxi and Private Hire, and Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver.
You'll also need generally good driving skills and an awareness of road safety, a detailed knowledge of your area, including street names, landmarks and one-way systems, customer care skills, and basic maths skills for handling money.
If you are employed by a larger taxi firm, you could become a supervisor or manager in the dispatch control room. You could also move into taxi licensing and vehicle inspection with a local authority. As a self-employed driver, you could become a taxi operator and increase your earnings by running a private hire firm, employing other drivers.