How to Become a Taxi Driver

If you enjoy driving and know a lot about the various locations in your city, you may be interested in knowing how to become a taxi driver. Your job will include transporting passengers, collecting fares, and staying in touch with your dispatcher. To become a taxi driver, you can apply with a company that provides these types of services to individuals or, you might prefer to be a self-employed independent contractor.

Job Description

As a taxi driver, you’ll have to drive in all types of weather conditions. Expect to work very long hours as a taxi driver, especially if you are leasing a taxi from a company. Many taxi drivers work twelve-hour shifts because that is the minimum amount of time that large company will lease the cab for.

With this type of arrangement, you will need to use the first part of your shift to pay for gas and the taxi rental fees (usually about $400 per week), and it’s only during the last part of your shift that you will earn a profit to make a living driving a cab. You should also be aware that some cities have limits on the number of taxis allowed on their streets, so you need to check with your local regulatory board to make sure that you will be able to find a job in your particular town, especially if you are interested in driving your own cab.

Making Money

As a cab driver, you will have to determine the best way to effectively use your time so that you can make the most money. Spending hours in front of airports and hotels rather than carrying fares to their destinations will keep you from making more than the minimum wage.

Requirements/Training

Although you don’t need any formal education to be a taxi driver in the United States, you will need a good driving record. You'll also need to know about best routes to take to various destinations given various factors like the time of day, special events in town, road construction, etc. Depending on the place where you live, you may need to have a background check and fingerprints on file.

In addition, some cities and towns require that taxi drivers also have their chauffeur’s license, passenger endorsement or other special classification. Other possible requirements are that taxi drivers be a certain age, have a medical exam on file, pass a drug test and prove their residency or citizenship. Some jurisdictions also want to make sure that their licensed taxi drivers don’t owe child support money.

Danger

You should be aware that some statistics show that taxi drivers have the most dangerous jobs in the country. As a result, more and more safety precautions are being used by taxi drivers. For example, many taxis now have global positioning systems along with a panic button that the driver can press at any time. Pushing this button alerts all the other cabs in that area so that they can come to that driver’s aid until the police arrive. But the most important safety precaution for taxi drivers is using good judgment in deciding who you transport.