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Taxi driver Cab driver, private hire driver, minicab driver

Taxi or private hire drivers pick up passengers and charge fares to take them to their destination by the quickest route.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need to apply for a taxi driver's licence from the licensing unit of your local council or from Transport for London (TfL).

If you're a private hire driver in London, you'll need to take out hire or reward insurance. You'll also need to meet the English language requirement and be able to live and work legally in the UK.

Each licensing unit has its own conditions, but you'll usually need to:

  • have a full UK or EU driving licence, held for at least 12 months (3 years in London)
  • pass a criminal records check
  • pass a medical
  • be over 18 (21 in many areas, including London)
  • pass a geographical test (the 'knowledge' in London)

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • good driving skills and an awareness of road safety
  • a detailed knowledge of your area, including street names, landmarks and one-way systems
  • customer care skills
  • maths skills

3. What you'll do

You could work for a taxi firm or be self-employed. Depending on your licence, you may be booked in advance, wait on an official taxi rank or pick up passengers while on the move.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • taking job details over the radio, by phone, on the in-car computer or via an app
  • helping to load and unload passengers' luggage
  • helping passengers to get in and out of the vehicle if required
  • taking payments for fares or logging them online
  • keeping the vehicle clean and in a roadworthy condition
  • keeping accounts and records up to date

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000

Experienced: £20,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

Your earnings will depend on the level of fares, the number of journeys made and the hours you work.

These figures are a guide for drivers working about 40 hours a week in a major city.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll often choose your own hours, but you'll usually work in the evenings and at weekends. You could work 40 to 60 hours a week full time.

You'll spend most of your time on the road, sometimes in heavy traffic.

6. Career path and progression

If you're employed by a larger taxi firm, you could become a supervisor or manager in the dispatch control room. You could also move into taxi licensing with a local authority.

As a self-employed driver, you could become a taxi operator and increase your earnings by running a private hire firm, employing other drivers.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017