Taxi drivers provide transportation as a vehicle for hire to and from destinations for customers who don’t own or are unable to drive personal vehicles. They service both residents and tourists navigate through urban environments including providing transportation to and from places of work, recreational activities including dining and entertainment, or to and from places of residence.
The median average salary range for taxi drivers ranges between $20,000 and $25,000 depending on additional tips received and status as full time or part time worker. Many taxi drivers are paid regularly, either daily, weekly or monthly. Vehicle expenses such as gas and regular maintenance are usually covered by the cab fair and paid for by the cab fleet. Self employed taxi drivers are usually responsible for their own vehicle maintenance and fuel expenses. Cab drivers usually do not receive benefits, paid time off, or retirement stipends and typically purchase a private individual insurance plan.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Typically, taxi cab drivers either own or lease their vehicle from the company’s fleet. Drivers are responsible for making sure all vehicle maintenance is up to date. Taxi drivers usually find passengers by working with a dispatch agency which will alert them to passengers waiting for pickup to be transported to their respective destination. Drivers may also pickup passengers waiting in taxi lines outside of restaurants, hotels, airports or other public locations. Upon arrival at the customer’s requested destination, the driver announces the total fair. A taximeter is normally installed in the vehicle cabin to continuously keep track of the passenger’s ongoing fair expense. The fair is designed to cover fuel supplements, dispatcher fees, and additional services such as baggage handling.
Drivers must be knowledgeable in current road conditions including detours and road closures in order to successfully navigate surface streets to serve customers. Drivers should also know locations of popular destinations and pickup locations in their area as well as main hubs of transportation such as subway locations, bus terminals and nearby airports.
Drivers often work long hours including nights, weekends and holidays to accommodate the needs of passengers. Work hours vary, with some drivers employed on either a full time or part time basis. Often times drivers are called for duty without notice in order to serve increase customer volume.
Employment for taxi cab drivers is expected to grow faster than average over the next ten years. As tourism increases, and as the population in urban metro areas increase, so will the need for transportation and vehicles for hire such as taxi cabs. Overall, job opportunities are heavily impacted by current economic conditions.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
A growing trend in many cities is to run and operate alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles in the interest of serving the environment. Alternative fuel vehicles run on mediums other than conventional fuel. This can include bio-diesel made from corn, ethanol or run a hybrid electronic/gas vehicle.
Training and Education Requirements
Most employers require prospective drivers have at least a high school diploma or GED. Drivers need to be able to communicate sufficiently in English to service customers, be able to read maps and navigate surface streets, calculate basic math options and be able to maintain basic functions of their vehicle. Drivers must know how to check their vehicle’s lubricant oil on a regular basis, maintain levels of vital fluid, and maintain the appearance of their vehicle in working order.
Drivers usually receive on the job training lasting anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks. Taxi drivers are trained in how to operate the taximeter in the vehicle as well as driver safety, and popular tourist locations in their respective city.
Cab drivers work exclusively with the public and must have significant customer service and public interfacing ability. Ideally drivers should be clean shaven and maintain a properly groomed appearance. Drivers must be responsible as often times they work with little to no direct supervision.
Drivers are either self employed and are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their own vehicle or are part of a fleet and report to a central dispatcher. Drivers employed by a fleet usually receive coverage for vehicle maintenance and upkeep including coverage of fuel expenses.
Prospective candidates must have a driver’s license and clean driving record in the state of which they are seeking employment. Requirements vary from state to state, and some may require a passenger endorsement notation on the driver’s license. Most large cities have taxi commissions which regulate local enforcement of taxi regulations and also establish local rates for passengers. In most areas, taxicabs must have a valid medallion certifying them as a regionally approved certified taxi cab.
Taxi drivers do not have a formal union or professional organization. Taxi drivers are often members of a fleet which help regulate fairs and find prospective passengers.
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