You’ve chosen to embark upon a career as a taxi driver, but how do you become one? From the initial application to what it takes to be a successful taxi driver, read our simple guide to learn more.
Before you start working as a taxi driver, there are several things you’ll need to consider. Firstly, you need to decide whether to apply for your taxi driver’s licence directly, or to take a college course. By applying directly, you’ll need to meet certain requirements.
Applying directly is is the most common route into taxi driving, but completing a college course could give you an advantage when you start looking for work. For entry onto a college course, you’re likely to need a couple of GCSEs to be eligible for a Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving NVQ (Taxi and Private Hire) Level 2.
There are a few things you’ll need to have before you can become a taxi driver:
There are several requirements you’ll need to make sure you meet before applying for a taxi driver’s licence:
You might also need the following:
We recommend that you check if your local licensing authority has any specific requirements. Also, note that the eligibility requirements are slightly different in London. The requirements also differ in Northern Ireland.
Many UK councils require budding taxi drivers to take an assessment to ensure that their driving knowledge and ability is at an acceptable level before gaining their taxi licence. Vehicle maintenance knowledge is also important, along with how to show consideration to passengers.
Such tests usually include both multi-choice questions as well as identifying key road signs and hazards, which you should be familiar with as a regular driver.
The cost of applying for a taxi driver’s licence depends on your location, but is usually around £430 in total. This includes the initial application fee of around £250, a skills assessment of around £40, a ‘Knowledge’ or ‘Cabology’ test fee of around £75, plus the cost of an enhanced DBS certificate, which is £66.60.
If you need to provide a medical certificate too, you’re looking at an extra £100 or so. Again, this depends on your location.
Application costs vary across the country - check yours with your local council.
Head to your local council website to find details on how to start applying for your taxi driver’s licence, and exactly what you need to provide them with. The process usually takes 12-16 weeks, however it’s worth noting that it may take much longer in cities such as London, due to the higher number of applicants.
If you are successful in securing your taxi licence and are ready to go out on the road you will need insurance that covers you against damages and injury. There are different types of Taxi Insurance available depending on what type of vehicle you drive. Swinton offers a range of Taxi Insurance policies to suit your needs.
To be a successful taxi driver, you'll need to do the following:
Again, one of the main requirements of becoming a taxi driver is that you have a full UK, NI or EU driving licence, and have done so for at least 12 months. In addition to this, background checks, a skill test and a medical check, you’ll need to be aged 18 or over (note this is 21 in some areas), and the correct type of insurance.
To become a taxi driver, it usually takes between 12 and 16 weeks if you apply directly to your local authority. If you decide to take a college course before applying for your taxi driver’s licence, you’re usually looking at a couple of days to complete a Level 2 NVQ.
As a taxi driver, it’s likely you’ll be working long and often unsociable hours. According to government guidelines, you shouldn’t be driving for more than 10 hours per working day, and it’s vital to ensure you’re getting enough rest in between shifts so you’re refreshed and prepared for when you get behind the wheel.
Driving a taxi can be a stressful job, in that you’ll often be driving in busy traffic in built-up areas, and you might encounter some disruptive passengers from time to time. Your personal safety and ability to drive safely is paramount as a taxi driver, and it’s important to protect you, your passengers, and your vehicle with the right Taxi Insurance, in case of an accident or incident.
Some taxi drivers own their own vehicles, especially if self-employed. While being self-employed can be more attractive to a taxi driver, mostly due to being able to take a bigger percentage of the fares received, it’s worth bearing in mind the additional costs of licensing, fuel, and general upkeep of the vehicle.
Across the UK, there are different requirements in different regions when it comes to becoming a taxi driver. As a general rule, be sure to check the full requirements with your local licensing authority.
To become a taxi driver in London, you need to apply to Transport for London (TfL). Whether you want to become a public or private hire vehicle driver, check your eligibility with TfL first, as there are a number of differences between driving a taxi in London vs the rest of the UK:
If you want to be a public or private cab driver in Manchester, you need to get in touch with Manchester City Council. There are five key steps to becoming a licensed taxi driver:
The process for becoming a taxi driver in Edinburgh is much the same as it is in Manchester and the rest of the UK, however there has been some recent controversy in the city due to the increasing numbers of private hire licences being issued.
Chairman of the Unite Edinburgh Cab Branch, Scott Blair, said: “By continuing to increase the number of vehicles licensed to be on the road then Edinburgh risks increased congestion in one of the most polluted cities in the UK."
Depending on the outcome of Unite’s campaign, it could be more difficult in the future to obtain a private licence from the council.