Get the TappAXI app on your iPhone or Android device now

Get The App Get The App

Get Instant Quote Now

scan me image
How to become a taxi drive in the UK

How to Become a Taxi Driver in the UK: A Complete Guide

If you love driving and meeting new people, becoming a taxi driver in the UK might be your perfect career choice.

Taxi drivers enjoy flexible working hours, good income potential, and the satisfaction of providing a valuable service to the public.

But how do you become a taxi driver in the UK?

What are the requirements, the costs, and the benefits?

In this blog post, we will answer all these questions and more, so you can decide if taxi driving is right for you.

Types of taxi drivers

There are two main types of taxi drivers in the UK: licensed taxi drivers and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers.

Licensed taxi drivers, also known as hackney carriage drivers, can pick up passengers from anywhere, including the street, a taxi rank, or a pre-booked location.

Private hire drivers, also known as minicab drivers, can only pick up passengers who have pre-booked their service, usually through a phone call or an app. PHV drivers cannot use taxi ranks or accept street hails.

Rules and regulations (qualification) for taxis and private hire drivers

The rules and regulations for taxi drivers vary depending on where you want to work in the UK.

In London, licensed taxi drivers must drive the iconic black cabs and pass a rigorous test called The Knowledge, which requires them to memorise thousands of streets and landmarks within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

Outside of London, licensed taxi drivers can drive any suitable vehicle and the local council sets the standards for the test, which may include a knowledge or skills test, a driving test, and a medical examination.

PHV drivers have to meet similar requirements, but they do not need to pass The Knowledge or a local equivalent.

However, to work as a taxi driver, they do need to obtain an operator licence, either for themselves or for the company they work for, which allows them to accept bookings and dispatch vehicles.

How to get a taxi driver’s licence

Here we look at the steps to take to become a taxi driver.

To become a taxi driver in the UK, you need to apply for a taxi driver licence from the licensing authority where you plan to work.

This is either the local council or Transport for London (TfL), depending on your location.

To apply for a taxi driver’s licence, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be able to work legally in the UK,
  • You must have held a full UK or EU driving licence for at least 12 months (or three years if you want to work in London),
  • You must be a fit and proper person, which means your background and character will be checked. You may have to complete an enhanced criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS),
  • You must pass a medical examination to prove that you are physically and mentally fit to drive a taxi,
  • You must pass a test to demonstrate your knowledge of the area, the highway code, and the taxi regulations. This may include a written, oral, or practical test, depending on the licensing authority,
  • You must pass a driving test to show that you can drive safely and competently in a taxi. This may be a standard driving test or a specially designed taxi driving test

The application process, the fees, and the waiting time may vary depending on the licensing authority and the type of licence you are applying for.

How to operate your own taxi

If you want to operate your own taxi or private hire, you will need an additional vehicle licence, which is separate from your driver’s licence.

The vehicle licence ensures that your taxis and private hire vehicles meets the safety and environmental standards set by the licensing authority.

You will need to submit your vehicle for inspection, pay a fee, and display a licence plate or sticker on your taxi.

You will also need to have appropriate taxi insurance, tax, and MOT for your taxi.

If you are a PHV driver in London, you or your operator will also need an operator licence, which allows you to accept bookings and dispatch vehicles.

The operator licence is issued by the same licensing authority as your driver and vehicle licences, and it has its application process and fee.

The benefits of becoming a taxi driver

Becoming a taxi or private hire driver in the UK can offer you many benefits such as:

  • Flexible working hours: Your taxi company should allow you to choose when and how much you want to work, depending on your availability and preferences.
  • Good income potential: Once you pass the taxi licensing and get a taxi licence, you can earn a decent income as a taxi driver, depending on the demand, the fares, and the tips.
  • Customer service: You can enjoy meeting and interacting with different people every day, from locals to tourists, from business travellers to party-goers.
  • Independence: You can be your own boss, by operating your own taxi or working as a self-employed driver for a taxi firm. You can make your own decisions, such as which routes to take, which customers to serve, and which services to offer. You can also set your own goals and track your own performance.

The challenges of becoming a taxi driver

Becoming a taxi driver in the UK can also pose some challenges, such as:

– Competition: You may face stiff competition from other taxi drivers, especially in busy areas or during off-peak times. You may also have to compete with other modes of transport, such as buses, trains, or bikes. You will need to find ways to stand out from the crowd, such as by offering competitive prices, excellent customer service, or niche services.
– Expenses: You may have to pay for various expenses, such as licence fees, vehicle maintenance, fuel, insurance, tax, and MOT. These expenses can eat into your profits and reduce your net income. You will need to keep track of your income and expenses, and file your tax returns accordingly. You may also need to save for unexpected costs, such as repairs, fines, or accidents.
– Risks: You may encounter some risks, such as road accidents, traffic jams, bad weather, or unruly customers. These risks can affect your safety, your income, and your reputation. You will need to take precautions, such as by driving carefully, following the rules, and dealing with complaints professionally. You may also need to have contingency plans, such as backup routes, alternative vehicles, or emergency contacts.
– Stress: You may experience some stress, such as from long hours, demanding customers, or tight deadlines. These stressors can affect your physical and mental health, your performance, and your satisfaction. You will need to manage your stress, such as by taking breaks, relaxing, or seeking support.

How to succeed as a taxi driver

To succeed as a taxi driver in the UK, you will need to have some skills and qualities, such as:

– Driving skills: You will need to drive safely, smoothly, and efficiently, in accordance with the highway code and the taxi regulations. You will also need to know the best routes, the shortest distances, and the fastest ways to get to your destinations. You will need to adapt to different road conditions, traffic situations, and customer preferences.
– Customer service skills: You will need to communicate clearly, politely, and professionally with your customers, from greeting them to thanking them. Listen to their needs, answer their questions, and address their issues. You will need to provide a comfortable, pleasant, and enjoyable ride for your customers, by adjusting the temperature, the music, and the conversation. You will also need to handle payments, receipts, and tips correctly.
– Business skills: You manage your own business, by planning your work schedule, setting your prices, and marketing your services. Keep track of your income and expenses and file your tax returns accurately and timely. By maintaining your vehicle, your licences, and your insurance and networking with other taxi drivers, operators, and customers, you will build your reputation and clientele.

Conclusion

Becoming a taxi driver in the UK can be a rewarding career choice, if you have the passion, the skills, and the licence to do so.

You can enjoy flexible working hours, good income potential, and customer service, while being your own boss.

However, you will also have to face some challenges, such as competition, expenses, risks, and stress.

Overcome these challenges, by having the right skills, qualities, and strategies.

If you are interested in becoming a taxi driver in the UK, you can start by applying for a taxi driver licence from the licensing authority where you plan to work.

author image

Mohammed Naseer is the Founder and Chief Cabbie at TappAXI, the UK’s first and only dedicated airport taxi app. With over 8 years of experience in the taxi industry, Mohammed has completed over 3000 airport transfers and helped thousands of passengers reach their destinations. He is a licensed taxi driver and operator in Oxford. He is passionate about travel and providing the best taxi service in town. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

Get The App Get The App
big close icon

Hi, we use cookies!

Your data. Your choice.
Like many websites, we use cookies belonging to us or to third parties. They allow us to follow your interactions on our site and this data helps us to personalise your experience while you’re here. By clicking “Accept”, you are giving us your consent to use cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time and can read our full Privacy Policy.

Accept
Reject

Get Instant Quote Now
X Close

scan me image
Please choose full address from suggestions
Please choose full address from suggestions
Select Vehicle
Passenger Details
Payment
Warning
Unsupported Location!We regret to inform you that the selected location is unsupported for the requested journey. While we may operate in your area for airport transfers, we may not be able to fulfil your specific destination requests. We are actively expanding our services and aim to include more destinations soon. We appreciate your understanding and patience

Car Selection

Economy

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

toyota prius image

Toyota Prius, Skoda Octavia or Similiar

passengers 3 image luggage 2 image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
Estate

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

toyota corola image

Toyota Corolla Touring or Similiar

passengers 4 image luggage 3 image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
Executive

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

car image

Mercedes E Class, Audi A6 or Similiar

passengers image luggage image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
Luxury Electric

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

car image

Tesla Model S or Mercedes EQS

passengers image luggage image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
MPV

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

car image

Ford Galaxy, VW Sharan or Similiar

passengers image luggage image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
Executive MVP

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

car image

Mercedes V Class or Similiar

passengers image luggage image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A
Minibus 8

* Save £7 on Every Booking, only in the App!

car image

Ford Tourneo or Similiar

passengers image luggage image

One way

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Return

Website Price N/A
App Price * N/A

Journey Details

Additional Information

Passengers & Luggage

Classic Meet & Greet

If you would like the driver to enter the arrivals hall immediately then please select Classic Meet & Greet.

Pick Up

We offer multiple pick up times to avoid waiting charges. Waiting charges are £30 per hour. We offer 1 hour complimentary waiting after your flight has landed

If you are traveling with a pet or having any other requests. Please add them here.

Flight Information

*Please fill in these details to save time and money. Please note these details will remain private and confidential and will NOT be visible to our drivers.

Personal Information