Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs operate cars, SUVs, vans, or limousines to transport passengers from one location to another. They collect their passengers at designated areas, along with any baggage they might carry, and take them to their destination in the safest and most time-efficient way possible.
Most Taxi Drivers work for independent taxi lines and companies. These companies have a fleet of cars identified as taxis belonging to a specific line and they hire as many Drivers as they need to operate their cars.
Customers can request their service by calling the line’s dispatchers and asking for a unit or they can hail a taxi car on the streets. Taxi Drivers are the ones responsible for charging passengers the established fares that can be flat-rated or calculated by a taximeter, based on the time and distance of the ride.
Chauffeurs are hired by individuals and companies and are paid a fixed salary for their services. They usually drive luxurious cars, SUVs, and limousines. Some companies that hire them are hotels, big enterprises, limousine renting companies, and wealthy individuals. In this case, the customer pays the company for their services, not the driver.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs are required to complete.
- Checking vehicle equipment to ensure proper functioning:
- Testing lights, windows, brakes, horn, locks, and wipers;
- checking motor oil, coolant fluid, and fuel levels;
- inspecting tires’ condition and air pressure;
- conducting regular check-ups on the vehicle; and
- informing dispatchers or company of any malfunction.
- Contacting dispatchers, companies, passengers, and customers:
- Receiving passenger assignation from dispatchers or company;
- following directions to the designated pick-up point;
- being alert for passengers hailing them from the streets; and
- informing passengers of fares and fees.
- Picking up passengers:
- Parking the car at a designated area where passengers may board;
- assisting passengers with limited mobility and baggage; and ensuring all passengers are properly seated and their seat belts fastened.
- Driving passengers to their destination:
- Adhering to traffic laws and regulations;
- ensuring the passenger’s safety throughout the journey;
- maintaining a friendly environment inside the cab;
- receiving special directions from passengers; and
- following the best possible route.
- Dropping off passengers:
- Parking at a designated area;
- assisting passengers with limited mobility and baggage;
- collecting fares and handing receipts when requested; and
- causing a good impression so passengers request their services in the future.
- Responding accordingly to accidents and emergencies:
- Being able to identify risky situations on the road;
- reporting any accident or malfunction (e.g. crashes, flat tires, or breakdowns) to dispatchers or company;
- requesting a replacement car to continue transporting passengers, if necessary;
- performing minor mechanical repairs when possible;
- assisting passengers with a medical emergency by providing first aid care, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and
- driving passengers to a medical institution when necessary.
- Keeping records of fares, journeys, and working hours:
- Turning in reports to dispatchers or company; and
- keeping a personal record that includes fares, profits, working/rest periods, and busy places, since it can help them get more passengers.
- Inspecting vehicle condition.
- Communicating with dispatchers or company.
- Receiving information about pickup assignments.
- Adhering to traffic laws and regulations at all times.
- Picking up and dropping off passengers at designated points.
- Signaling their availability to pedestrians.
- Informing passengers of fares and fees and collecting payment accordingly.
- Assisting passengers with limited mobility or baggage.
- Following passenger directions to destination, taking the most time-efficient route.
- Maintaining records of all rides and fares collected.
- Turning in reports to dispatchers or company.
- Keeping a friendly environment inside the cab.
The average Taxi Driver salary in USA is $44,284 per year or $23 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $31,000 while most experienced workers make up to $62,000. These results are based on 20 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Exceptional mechanical and driving skills:
- Respecting traffic laws and regulations;
- displaying outstanding levels of alertness so as to be aware of their surroundings;
- staying alert and awake during late hours while driving;
- monitoring the status of the vehicle and conducting regular check-ups; and
- being able to perform minor mechanical maintenance or repair tasks, as needed.
- Possessing high levels of self-reliance and resourcefulness:
- Working alone most of the time; and
- being capable of solving minor mechanical problems without help.
- Outstanding geographical knowledge and navigational skills:
- Being able to drive to any part of the city taking the safest and most time-efficient route; using GPS, when necessary; and
- being capable of understanding and following directions from passengers and dispatchers.
- Excellent physical condition and stamina:
- Being able to endure long journeys;
- having the necessary physical strength to load and unload baggage; and
- having good eyesight, especially when working at night.
- Great stress and time management skills:
- Working according to pre-established schedules; and
- arriving at designated pick-up spots and destinations in a timely manner.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills:
- Interacting with passengers and liaising with employers; and
- being able to provide accurate information to passengers.
- Good mathematical skills:
- Calculating hours of departure and arrival; and
- charging fares to passengers.
- High levels of honesty, integrity, and reliability.
In order to be a Taxi Driver in the United States, it is necessary to be an American citizen or to be a legal resident of the country, with all the documents required by law. In addition, depending on the city the candidate is looking to work at, the requirements to become a Taxi Driver will vary, but generally they must have completed secondary school education and meet the legal age. Aspirants must possess clean driving and criminal records, as well as a minimum of one (1) to three (3) years of work experience.
In some instances, applicants must pass a written and practical exam, as established by some state regulations, as well as a medical examination and a drug test before getting their driver’s license and being hired.
Some companies or cities will train their Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs so they meet some specific working regulations on equipment, traffic laws and regulations, safety, etc. Since these requirements will vary from city to city, it is highly recommendable to do some research in advance to know whether the city has some more regulations than the ones most commonly established.
Taxi Drivers must have a vehicle-for-service permit issued by a city authority, as well as a security permit when taking or picking passengers at the airport. Additionally, it is necessary to have a certificate of title, which is given by the hiring company, as well as a medical certificate to prove that the Driver is healthy enough to drive the car.
Taxi Drivers have to be able to work during the weekends, on vacation, during early mornings, or at nights.