How to become a taxi driver in the UK

Published May 29, 2024

Do you want to become a taxi driver in the UK but don’t know how to become a professional driver? Don’t worry; we are here to guide you. A taxi driver profession in the UK is a suitable career due to its high demand. Taxi drivers offer vital transportation services across the UK. They facilitate safe and convenient travel services in cities and towns. However, proper training and licensing are required to become part of a legally private-hire job. In this blog, we highlight how to become a taxi driver in the UK and which key skills are required to become a taxi driver. Stay here to learn the basic guidelines for pursuing a taxi driver career.
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What is a taxi driver?


A taxi driver who operates a taxi and transports passengers to their final destination safely and efficiently. Usually, they are accessible at the designated taxi stands or on the streets. They also work for different private taxi companies as employees. Typically, they may have fixed charges or variable fares according to the distance, location, and time of the day. Different taxi drivers in the UK are known as:
  • Cabbies
  • Cabmen
  • Livery drivers
  • Minicab drivers
  • Black cab drivers
  • Hackney carriage drivers
In the UK, most taxi drivers are self-employed or contract with a private company. However, each taxi driver must have a license and proper registration with the local authority in the UK.

What does taxi driving involve?


Taxi drivers do multiple tasks as per demand for their job, including:
  • Provide a safe, comfortable, clean, and well-maintained cab for passengers.
  • Pick the passengers from the taxi ranks or offer pre-book service.
  • Offer on-demand, door-to-door travel services that cater to the traveler’s needs.
  • Taxis are metered with the correct tariff to calculate the fare.
  • Allow passengers to get payment in cash, via a contactless card, or through the app.
It’s not essential to have your taxi as a taxi driver. You can also contract with taxi firms and work there as an employee. They offer their taxi fleets for driving. It is advantageous to join the taxi firm because it saves drivers from vehicle expenses like maintenance or repair.
 

What are the benefits of becoming a taxi driver?


Taxi driving is the best job for those who love driving and meeting new people. It is a great career due to its wide demand, flexible working hours, and reasonable charges. There are also many other benefits of becoming a taxi driver, including:

  • Allow you to select your working hours according to your convenience.
  • Enhance your driving experience and optimize your vehicle.
  • Learn and explore the local area from where you offer work.
  • Have regular daily work to earn money.
Some people select the taxi driver profession as their side job. They use their vehicle for work in their free hours. As a result, they have the chance to generate extra money and boost their driving experience.

Salary expectations and working hours for taxi drivers


Taxi driver salaries vary depending on experience, working hours, location, and type of vehicle. For instance, luxury vehicle drivers often charge more than ordinary taxi drivers. Conversely, taxi drivers charge high fares during peak working hours, holidays, and on special occasions. 
According to the National Career Council UK, taxi drivers can work up to 40–60 hours per week. However, the self-employed can work more than the available hours. On the other hand, Transport of London allows licensed drivers to work no more than 10 hours due to safety purposes. 
Taxi drivers can work on a shift basis according to the rider's demand. They can work day-time, night-time, and bank holidays based on their shift. This type of job assists drivers in doing flexible tasks and earning a handsome amount. Taxi drivers can charge high fares, as demand for taxis is very high in the UK's big cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham.

How to become a taxi driver


You can become a taxi driver by having certain qualifications and a license. Drivers usually start their careers at reputable firms to gain experience. Eventually, as they gain skills and expertise, they transition to self-employment. Here are the steps to becoming a taxi driver in the UK:

Acquire a UK driving license


A UK driving license is mandatory to drive a vehicle in the UK. A driver should have at least 3 years of driving experience to acquire a driving license. Moreover, the driver must be more than 21 years old to join the taxi company as a driver.

Undertake taxi driver training


You are eligible to apply for taxi driving if you have more than two GCSEs in grades A to D. Courses include:
  • Level 2 Certificate in Driving a Road Passenger Vehicle: Taxi and Private Hire.
  • Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the Role of Professional Taxi and Private Hire Drivers.
Additional driving certifications, such as advanced driving courses, vehicle upkeep, or hazardous driving training, enhance your worth. These courses ensure that you are a certified, skilled driver. Thus, certification may provide more chances to join a taxi firm as they consider you a reliable candidate. 

Obtain a taxi driver's license


A special kind of license for operating taxis and private hire taxis is called a taxi driver license. From where can a taxi driver get a License? You can get a license from Transport for London or the local council in your area. You will check this license with the taxi company to which you will apply for work. Moreover, you will also need to fulfill the following criteria to obtain a taxi driver’s license:
  • Enhanced DBS check: Apply for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This shows that you do not have a criminal background.
  • Medical test: A medical assessment ensures you are fit for driving. They often check the medical form that is issued by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
  • Knowledge test: Testing relevant to the local area, like the city’s streets or landmarks. 
  • English language test: A test relevant to the English language to ensure excellent verbal communication skills. 
Submit your application to the license authority with the application fee. Then, they will issue you a license that allows you to operate a taxi or private hire vehicle. 

Make sure you are insured


The right insurance is the key step to becoming a taxi driver in the UK. You must take out public liability insurance and reward and hire insurance policies. Proper insurance does not only meet your legal requirements but also provides peace of mind. Ensure to check all essential insurance obligations before starting the profession as a taxi driver.
 

Key skills needed by taxi drivers


Excellent interpersonal communication and great customer service are vital to serving passengers as a taxi driver. Here are some other key skills you need to have for taxi driving:
  • The ability to work under pressure: Dealing with traffic and difficult passengers is challenging. Therefore, you need a high level of patience and stress management.  
  • Careful and responsive driver: The safety of passengers is foremost, so you need to follow road safety regulations to become a responsible driver.
  • Good communication skills: Clear communication is the key to interacting with the passengers and other team members. 
  • Well-developed Navigational skills: You should have proficiency in using GPS systems or other apps in the selection of a route and to avoid traffic congestion. 
  • Basic math and computing skills: A basic knowledge of math and computers is essential for meter operation and fare calculations. 
  • Time management: Efficient time management skills to pick up and drop off the passengers at their destination according to the schedule. 
  • Excellent concentration and attention to detail: This ability enables you to learn the routes and responsively treat the changing traffic conditions. 
  • Good customer service: A pleasant attitude and professionalism in dealing with passengers impact positively on the passengers. As a result, you may get positive reviews and more customers.

Career progression for a taxi driver


Career progression allows individuals to enhance their skills and earning potential. It offers experienced drivers the opportunity to develop and expand their careers. Those taxi drivers who work in popular cities or reputable taxi firms can extend their business via taxi dispatching. Taxi dispatchers organize and manage the taxi driver fleet within a cab company. These dispatching duties are performed on a shift basis in the central office of the taxi company rather than on the road. In addition, experienced drivers get the opportunity to supervise or manage other major roles in the company. As a result, each step moves toward progress, new opportunities, and potentially high earnings. 

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