If you’ve ever considered a career as an Uber, minicab or black cab driver, it’s relatively easy to get started.
In theory, all you need to be a taxi driver is a vehicle, the correct licence and taxi insurance, but there are some special skills that would help you excel.
There’s a growing need for cab drivers, in big cities and beyond, and the role is best suited for those who feel at ease behind the wheel and can stay calm in a crisis. After all, the work involves long hours, often at night, covering many miles on roads that can be unpredictable.
Think you’d be the perfect fit? Here are some key traits that will help you to know if you’d make a good taxi driver:
All taxi drivers need patience. You will almost certainly find yourself sitting in traffic regularly. Whether that’s due to the daily rush hour or getting caught in a traffic jam, when you’re spending your days in your car, the need for patience is inevitable. What’s more, you’ll often be waiting for customers whilst you sit at taxi ranks or wait for your next booking.
Taxi drivers need excellent processing skills and quick reactions, as they spend long periods navigating roads that are filled with numerous unexpected hazards. These cover all the same challenges as drivings for personal use, such as motorway drivers cutting across multiple lanes, children running across pedestrian crossings, or cyclists in your blind spot. However, with more time spent on the roads, you will likely experience these hazards more frequently.
Ability to focus
It’s not just hazards on the roads that you need to be aware of. In fact, distractions from customers can be a major challenge. Passengers can be loud, often chatty, and even more so after they have had a few drinks. Other passengers could be travelling with small children who are innocently unaware that their behaviour can be distracting. The best drivers can maintain focus despite what’s going on around them. The ability to consistently drive safely and responsibly is vitally important if you want to be a cab driver.
London black cab drivers famously have the knowledge, having learnt hundreds of routes through 25,000 streets for their licence. However, it’s not just the black cabbies who will benefit from good memory skills. Remembering the quickest routes for any particular time of day, back roads and one-way streets, traffic peaks and troughs, will all contribute to making you a better taxi driver. If you have a good memory for routes and patterns, you’ll adapt to cab driving quickly.
Usually, you’ll need at least twelve months of driving experience before getting licensed as a taxi driver. Additionally, having some experience behind the wheel can keep your insurance premiums low. Similarly, there are minimum age restrictions that usually won’t permit under 21s to become taxi drivers, and insurance coverage may be prohibitively expensive for would-be cabbies under the age of 25.
Have you ticked all of the boxes we’ve mentioned? If so, there’s one final thing to consider: your driving history. Have you maintained a clean licence? Do you stay within the speed limits and adhere to the highway code?
If you practice safe driving and have all of the traits listed, you might just be ready to take your next step towards becoming a taxi driver.