A simple guide to becoming a taxi driver

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.

How to become a taxi driver

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.

What you need to get started

To get started as a taxi driver, you’ll need to be able to work legally in the UK and will need to have held a full GB, NI or EU driving licence for at least 12 months. You will also require a criminal background check, also known as a DBS certificate.

You might also need to take a medical examination, a driving test, and a ‘Knowledge’ or a skill test commonly referred to as a ‘cabology’ test. Depending on your local authority’s specific requirements, you may need to provide proof of any English and maths qualifications.

Once you have obtained your taxi driver’s licence, you’ll need to arrange Taxi Insurance before you hit the road, in order to protect you, your vehicle, and your passengers.



What it takes to be successful

To be a successful taxi driver, your top priority is to drive safely – any driving mishaps could endanger both you and your passengers, and result in costly repairs. Observe the speed limit at all times, follow the rules of the road, and don’t drive while impaired in any way.

Beyond driving safely, providing good customer service is key – keep a clean and tidy vehicle, and be polite and helpful. Assist passengers with their bags and luggage, and be sure to thank them when they leave your vehicle.

Having a good knowledge of the area you’re driving your taxi in will help you pick up fares, as will knowing when to hit up busier places, such as train stations during rush hour, and bars/nightclubs at closing time.

As well as all of the above points, a successful taxi driver will be calm and patient, and able to work well in stressful situations.

Restrictions and requirements

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 cabology 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.

How long does it take to become a taxi driver?

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 Two NVQ.

How many hours do taxi drivers work?

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.

Is taxi driving a dangerous job?

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 look after yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle with the right Taxi Insurance, in case of an accident or incident.

Do taxi drivers own their cabs?

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.

Find out more about how Swinton can help you get the right Taxi Insurance quote for your needs.