Want to become a taxi driver?

Published: May 26, 2021

Taxi driver

Why you should become a taxi driver

Becoming a taxi driver is a great career choice for many reasons; it doesn’t require difficult qualifications, you can become your own boss, work the hours you choose and it’s pretty easy to get started! We’ve put together everything you need to know about beginning your career as a taxi driver. However, specific guidelines will vary depending on your local authority so it’s important to check your local councils’ requirements.

There are three types of taxi driver licence:

  1. Hackney Carriage: Vehicles permitted to park at taxi ranks which do not have to be prebooked
  2. Private Hire: Vehicles and minibuses carrying up to eight passengers – must be prebooked and cannot be hailed in the street
  3. Combined: Enables you to drive both Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles

 

What you need to become a taxi driver

Skills you will need:

  • Good customer service skills
  • Good verbal communication skills
  • Good driving skills
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Knowledge of public safety and security

 

Licence requirements:

  • Full UK or EU driving licence, held for a minimum of 12 months (3 years in London)
  • Over 18 (21 in London)
  • Driving skills assessment/knowledge test (dependant on council) – involves a fee
  • Background check (DBS) – involves a fee
  • Medical check – may involve a fee
  • Right to work in the UK
  • London specific: Pass local geography test known as ‘The Knowledge’

Some areas also require that applicants complete a taxi driving test and/or at least one of the below college courses*:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver
  • Level 2 Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving – Taxi and Private Hire

*You will need 2 or more GCSE’s (A*- D) or equivalent to enrol. Click here to view the courses.

Before submitting an application for your taxi driver licence, you will need evidence of the above requirements.

 

How to apply for your taxi driver’s licence:

Your application will depend on the area you live in/want to work in, as different councils have varying requirements.

  • Click here to find your local council and then click through to your council’s website. Search ‘Taxi driver licence’ and follow the link for the type of licence you require.
  • You will then need to fill out the application form and send evidence of the ‘Licence requirements’ listed above, as well as a licence photo, in the specified format. There are some fees involved in your application and for the licence itself.

Your taxi driver’s licence will typically last up to three years (unless driving in London) before you will need to submit a renewal application.

 

What to do once you have your taxi driver’s licence

Insurance

Once you have received your taxi driver licence you will need to make sure you are properly insured. The best way to do this is to contact an insurer such as insureTAXI. Speaking to a specialist insurer will enable you to get the right policy with the cover you need. You must have specific taxi insurance. Standard car insurance will not adequately protect you as a taxi driver. You may also require Taxi Liability Insurance which can protect you against injury or property damage claims.

 

Getting your taxi vehicle licence

Once you have insured yourself you will need to apply for a vehicle licence (unless driving a company’s vehicle which should be licenced by the operator). To apply for your taxi vehicle licence, you will need to follow the same steps that you completed for your taxi driver licence, but instead select the option for a taxi vehicle licence (Hackney Carriage or Private Hire). You will need to fill out the application and include documents such as your insurance certificate and V5 (or new keeper supplement and proof of sale). Taxi vehicle licences last for one year and must then be renewed. They cannot be transferred to other vehicles. There is also a fee for this licence which may vary depending on your council.

 
Vehicle standards and information you need to know

Your vehicle must meet certain standards to be used for taxi or private hire purposes. This includes always having your taxi plates with your licence number displayed on the front and back of your vehicle at all times and all taxi vehicles must undergo an MOT once a year. There may also be additional tests required depending on your council.

Click here to read the full Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

Click here to read the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards Best Practice Guidelines.

If you have any questions about insuring yourself as a taxi driver or want to discuss your existing cover, please contact us today.

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