According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2012 and 2020 the need for taxi drivers is expected to grow by 16 percent, faster than the projected growth for most other occupations. Much of this demand will be in cities where the population is growing and in large cities where many taxi drivers are already employed. Employment prospects for the near future are excellent, as there is a high turnover rate and the job requirements are not excessive. Here are some things you need to know about becoming a taxi driver.
Duties of a Taxi Driver
As a taxi driver, you drive people to and from wherever they need to go, such as from their homes to places of work, transportation links and shopping areas. You pick up passengers, help them load and unload luggage, collect fares and provide receipts if requested. You also refuel the car, keep it clean inside and out, do basic maintenance and deal with mechanical problems. You need to obey all traffic regulations and laws concerning where you can pick up and unload passengers, monitor road conditions, and ensure passenger safety. You generally use a meter to determine the fare. Usually a customer calls a central dispatcher, who contacts you and tells you where to go for the pickup. Sometimes you wait at cabstands outside hotels, train stations and airports. In some cities you are allowed to cruise the streets looking for customers.
Training and Licensing
Requirements for taxi driver certification and licensing vary from city to city. Generally a high school diploma is not required. In all locations you must have a regular state drivers license, and some areas also require a special taxi driver license or permit. To receive a for-hire drivers license, you might have to pass a written test, go through a short training session, undergo screening for criminal record and drug use, prove that you have a safe driving record, be fingerprinted, have a medical exam and pay a fee. Most taxi companies give new employees a short period of training before they begin work.
Primarily, of course, taxi drivers need to have good skills associated with driving, such as excellent eyesight and good hand-eye coordination to be able to steer away from potential dangers on the road. Because you constantly interact with passengers, you need to have good customer service skills. You need to be able to follow directions, read maps and use GPS systems. You need to be able to be patient when dealing with heavy traffic or rude passengers, dependable so customers reach their destinations on time, and professional in your appearance and manner.
Self-employed drivers often own their own cars and contract to use dispatch services of a taxi company for a fee. Other drivers pay a fee to use company cars. Drivers pay their own expenses such as gas and tolls and keep whatever fares they make. As a taxi driver, you often work long hours during the day, at night and on weekends. Your work schedule is generally flexible, and you have little direct supervision. When you do not have passengers, you can stop for rest or meals. However, it can be stressful to drive in heavy traffic, and accidents are always a risk.
There is not much opportunity for advancement for a taxi driver, although you may eventually become a manager in a taxi company. However, it is an occupation with good employment prospects that requires little training and certification.
This article was written by Vito Sanchez, a car enthusiast who hopes to help you become a better car owner. He writes this on behalf of Stita Taxi, your number one choice when looking for a taxi in Seattle. Check out their website at http://www.stitataxi.com/ and see how they can help you!