To many people, becoming a taxi driver can seem like a flexible and easy way to make a living. You get to work using your own car, at times and days that suit you and there always seem to be people wanting lifts in and around towns, cities and even villages.
It can often appear like taxi drivers work for themselves because of this, and in some cases that can be true. However, being a taxi driver isn’t always as flexible as it may seem, especially for those that work for a firm and may not feel that they do work solely for themselves.
Qualifications and Required Skills
You need to be licensed in order to become a taxi driver and the conditions to qualify differ from council to council. There are general requirements to qualify as a taxi driver which include:
- Being at least 21 years old
- Having a full UK driver’s licence
- Undergo and pass a CRB and area knowledge test
- Complete a specialised tax driving test
The best drivers are also well skilled in customer service, having a good sense of direction and being healthy enough to help passengers with luggage and other tasks.
Taxi drivers who use their own vehicle for work purposes have a responsibility to ensure it is safe and meets the standards set by the local council. This may differ from regular requirements for driving a car for personal use. Many drivers are self-employed even if they work for a firm, so this can still be their responsibility.
Having the correct taxi insurance is a necessity too. Options that cover public and private hire as well as taxi firms with multiple vehicles or fleets exist, but it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure they are covered, whether by their firm or themselves.
Taxi drivers who work for a firm generally have less choice about which shifts they work and, while the majority of money they earn goes in their pocket, some goes to the company. Uber has shaken up the taxi world by using independent contractors with far more flexible terms for drivers, although in a way they are still working for the company.
While the intentions may be there, unless you become a self-employed taxi driver who sets up their own firm, then it is hard to say that taxi drivers are truly working for themselves.