Taxi or private hire?
OK, let’s clear up a common misconception. A “taxi” driver is a person who is licensed and regulated by a licensing authority to transport persons for money in a licensed taxi. A taxi is a vehicle fitted with a calibrated taximeter, displaying an illuminated TAXI light on the roof of the vehicle. Taxi’s can be hailed down in the street, and are able to rank up at designated taxi ranks within their licensed borough. Across our operating area, taxi’s are traditionally distinguished as being traditional Hackney’s or black cabs, these vehicles usually carry at least of five passengers as well as being able to transport passengers in wheelchairs.
A private hire driver on the other hand cannot be hailed down in the street, nor can they ply for trade. Private hire drivers are still licensed and regulated by the same licensing authority, however the journeys they undertake must be pre-booked through their operator. Private hire vehicles range from standard four door saloon family cars to eight passenger mini-bus vehicles.
So, what do you want to be? A taxi driver or a private hire driver? The reality is, it’s a personal preference, usually made by the preferred vehicle the driver chooses to drive. Despite taxi tariffs being set by the licensing authority and private hire operators setting their own tariffs independently, both are largely competative.
Not yet licensed but interested in becoming a taxi or private hire driver?
Becoming a private hire or hackney driver can provide you with a great deal of flexibility, and a profession that is well paid yet can fit in around other commitments. Please consider that although the hours are flexible, this is a career within the service industry and as such the most profitable times to work are during the peak commuter periods and weekend nights.
Pay: As a self-employed driver, you are in it to win it and the pay can be fantastic, especially if you choose to work during the weekends and busier times of the week. As a self-employed driver you will benefit from a quick cash-flow as the majority of fares are paid immediately, so you can have the satisfaction at the end of your shift to be holding your earnings in your hand.
Hours: A good rule of thumb is, ‘when would I need to get a taxi?’. As a private hire or hackney driver, you can work when it suits; not when someone else tells you to. You also don’t have to ask your boss for overtime, or time off – you are in control of the hours you work. However, We always recommend working the weekends and key times in particular during peak travelling hours; but ultimately, the hours you work are your choice.
Qualifications: If you have a full and valid UK driving license and have been driving for over 12 months*, there are no qualifications required to start your application. During the application process you will be required to complete;
- Level 2 BTEC in the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver,
- A separate Safeguarding & Licensing course.
- A medical conducted by GP
- For some boroughs, you are required to pass a DVLA driving assessment
- Obtain a satisfactory enhanced DBS disclosure – but we can give you support, guidance and possible funding so contact us 0151 666 8383 for more information.
* It is recommended that in order for drivers to get affordable insurance they are; over 25 years old with a minimum of 3 years driving experience and have no points on their licence, and have had no accidents. Although insurance is available for persons outside of this criteria, it can be prohibitively expensive. As such we would advise all potential candidates to contact an insurance provider.
If this sounds like it could be right for you, or for more information call us now on 0151 666 8383 or click the council below that you wish to be licensed by to find out more details.