Taxi drivers drive either traditional hackney carriages, known as #black cabs#, or private hire vehicles (PHVs), known as #minicabs#. They pick up passengers and drive them to their destination, charging a fare and taking payment. They work out the fastest and most efficient route, and drive to the destination. Drivers may help load and unload passengers' luggage.
Minicab drivers are linked by radio to an operating centre, which relays details of where to pick up the next customer.
Hackney carriage drivers may also be linked by radio to an operating centre. In addition, they are allowed to either wait at a taxi rank or drive around near railway stations, airports, shopping centres, hotels, pubs and clubs, or any areas where pedestrians may want to hire a taxi.
They must ensure their vehicle is in a clean and roadworthy condition. Those who are self-employed have to keep accounts and deal with tax returns.
There are no restrictions on the hours a taxi driver can work, although European legislation may soon change this. Many work part-time in addition to another job or while studying. Most work is available on Friday and Saturday nights. Some private hire operators run a shift system to make sure drivers receive a fair workload.
To be a taxi driver, you should:
Opportunities are available in every part of the country, but most work is in the large towns and cities. In many areas there are waiting lists to gain a hackney carriage licence, as these are limited, but there is no limit to the number of private hire vehicle licences available.
Most drivers are self-employed and have bought their own vehicle. Alternatively, they may be employed by an operating company, which owns the vehicles and then progress to buying and driving their own vehicle. Self-employed drivers, can progress to become an operator and increase earnings by running a private hire firm, employing other drivers. In England and Wales this requires an operator’s licence, obtained from local authorities.
This is a growing industry, and drivers are always wanted. However, there can be competition for business in certain areas. Start-up costs can mount up, as they often include purchase of a vehicle and fare meter; paying for a licence and training; and finding appropriate insurance. So market research to ensure there is a demand in the area is essential.
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