Transportation & me: A taxi driver

Now, for some, this may not be a “career” per se, but for those looking for a flexible job in a big city, you might want to “earn your stripes.”

Being a taxi driver is different today than it was a decade ago because of services like Uber and Lyft. And because of that, these services are more popular now than ever before, too. You might take a taxi to a friend’s house, to work, the airport or train station, among so many other destinations. And wherever you may want to go, there’s a driver waiting to take you there. Are you the road-savvy, adventurous type?

Education & training

Did you know that there are over 300,000 taxi drivers working in the United States alone?  Although there are no formal education requirements, many of those working in the ride service industry have earned at least their high school diploma or GED.

Often taxi and limousine services provide their employees with brief on-the-job training, which can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the city and company. Additionally, all taxi drivers and other ride service professionals must maintain a state-issued driver's license.

On top of that, some state and local municipalities require taxi drivers and chauffeurs to own their own licensed vehicle, which often also includes passing a background check, drug test, and a written exam about regulations and local geography. Whether they’re tested or not, drivers should know their way around their “home” city in order to take passengers where they need to go quickly and efficiently.

The streets are your office

Taxi drivers and other ride service workers have a unique working environment. Day-to-day, they make their way down streets and up alleyways, taking dozens of people from here to there. Although each day is different than the last, and you get to meet a wide variety of unique people, it can be quite unpredictable.    

Taxis line up in the city. Photo from
Taxis line up in the city.
Photo from

Do you want to be your own boss? Did you know that 36 percent of taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs are self-employed? Alternatively, some drivers do contract with various dispatching companies that connect them with potential passengers. But about 1 in 4 ride service workers worked part-time in 2016, so working nights and weekends is common practice.

View from a taxi cab. Photo from
View from a taxi cab.
Photo from

Another interesting element to this type of job is working with little to no supervision. This allows taxi drivers to work those prized flexible hours, taking days off when they need them and breaking for lunch any time. Chauffeurs, on the other hand, often need to be ready at a moment’s notice and often remain on call throughout the course of the day or evening. Ride service apps like Uber and Lyft also allow the employee to work on their own time.

Outlook & pay

The overall employment of service industry drivers is projected to grow 5 percent between 2016 and 2026, about as fast as average.

The growing use of ride-hailing apps should continue to increase job growth within the driving service industry as well. Specifically, employment for self-employed workers in this field is projected to grow an astonishing 40 percent over the next decade, whereas employment of drivers who work on wage and salary is expected to decrease 15 percent from 2016 to 2026.

The median annual wage for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs was $24,300 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent of workers in this field earned less than $18,250 a year, whereas the highest 10 percent earned over $38,500. As of May 2016, taxi and limousine service workers earned more than other professionals in the field. However, chauffeurs are more likely to be needed by their clients at a moment’s notice, which takes away the flexibility that can make this type of job so appealing.

Transportation & you

Sometimes things don’t have to be complicated. Sometimes working in the transportation industry is as simple as getting people from here to there, and no one does that better than taxi drivers and chauffeurs.


Related links

The Rideshare Guy:

(Article) Uber: What about taxi cabs?:

(Article) 14 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of NYC Taxi Drivers:

(Article) A Day In The Life Of A New York City Cab Driver:

(Article) 'Confessions of New York Taxi Driver': Q&A with Gene Salomon, first-time author and longtime cabbie:

Taxi, Limousine & Paratransit Association:

By Hannah Postlethwait, Go! Staff Writer