If you want to become a taxi cab driver and want to start working immediately, it is relatively easier being one in the United States than it is in England, which requires two to four years’ worth of studies, trainings, tests, and interviews to pass before you could actually begin to drive a taxi. Here are some things you should know when starting a career in taxi driving in the US.
- Prepare all necessary requirements. Regulations, application procedures, and requirements for being a taxi driver differ in every city, whether you’re from Boston or San Francisco, so be sure to check with your local government on the specific procedure and requirements that you need to meet. Although no formal education is required, some local governments require a high school diploma and minimum driving experience or relevant training. The common minimum age requirement is 21. Some taxi and limousine companies would even require higher standards than those stated by local laws. However, it is common procedure for taxi companies to thoroughly review medical, criminal, credit, and driving records of every applicant.
- Get licensed. Usually, before you can get to drive a taxi, you must first have a standard automobile driver’s license. Only when you have that kind of license will you be able to apply for a taxi driver or chauffeur’s license, also called a “hack” license. Again, the required license may still vary from state to state. Some states’ minimum requirement is a passenger endorsement, which allows a driver with a regular driving license to transport passengers around. Even when the government sets laws and requirements, individual states and even down to the local regulatory bodies, set up additional regulations and requirements for would be applicants, and terms and conditions for taxi drivers. Some of these include training requirements. Training requirements may vary, from the hours of classroom instruction acceptable, to the types of tests taken. Some localities require an English proficiency exam, and if an applicant does not pass, he needs to take additional hours of English courses apart from other training and seminars that he needs to take. Instruction and training usually involves route management, map reading, and driver service for people with disabilities. Some taxi companies complement on-the-job training by giving an applicant a temporary permit to drive and transport passengers even before the applicant has completed training requirements and passed the exams. However, some areas like NYC have discontinued this practice.
- Make sure you meet additional qualifications. Most taxi companies require drivers to have a neat appearance, especially the airport transportation and airport shuttle drivers. A uniform is provided for some. Drivers also need to know basic math for computing change for fares, and have at least basic knowledge and skill in mechanics. Drivers should also be able to maintain their cabs in clean and good working condition. Some companies look for additional qualities. A driver deals with many types of passengers—some will be pleasant and some will be demanding. The ability to be patient, tolerant, and level-headed should be exercised. A driver also encounters many challenges and dangers at work—maneuvering through heavy traffic with bad weather and road conditions while attempting to get to a passenger’s destination safely and on time, and unpredictable scenarios like the risk of accidents and getting mugged. Here’s where the ability to think and act quickly and clearly would come in handy.
- Lease a taxi from your company. Once you pass your tests and complete all requirements and training, you are now ready to lease a taxi and transport passengers around.