The Taxi Industry is ripe with opportunity for career progression into different paths. While the commonly held view of a career in the industry is one of a driver, there are many other options that many may not be aware of.
There is always demand for good taxi drivers and driving a taxi is an excellent starting point to learn and progress through the industry. After driving for a while, learning what is required to become successful and to determine if it is the right industry for you, you may decide to become a taxi operator. As a taxi operator you must buy or lease a taxi licence and purchase a vehicle suitable to operate as a taxi.
In the future you may decide to:
•Open a workshop for crash or mechanical repairs
If you are no longer able to drive but enjoy being involved in the industry, there may be opportunities in areas such as:
• A telephone operator, dispatcher or marketing or administration officer at a taxi radio company (Centralised Booking Service)
• A camera, meter or technical installer at one of the accredited suppliers
There are many complementary industries associated with the Taxi Industry to which you can migrate.
What is required from a good Taxi driver?
Taxi drivers drive a variety of vehicles. They pick up passengers and take them to their destination, working out the quickest and most efficient route for charging a fare.
Day-to-day tasks include:
•helping to load and unload passengers' luggage
•helping passengers to get in and out of the vehicle
•keeping the vehicle clean and in a roadworthy condition
•experience in dealing with money. Self-employed drivers will also keep their own accounts and deal with tax returns.
•taxi drivers must keep their taxi clean and in good condition.
•they must abide by a code of conduct and obey all of the instructions given to them by authorised officers from the regulator.
•they must give a high standard of customer service and be honest and trustworthy.
Taxi drivers are linked by radio to a Centralised Booking Service (Taxi Company) that relays details of where to pick up the next customer. Taxis can be pre-booked by passengers and be flagged down on the street. They can also be booked in advance but can also wait at taxi ranks or pick up passengers while on the move, especially around busy areas, such as the CBD, railway station, airport, shopping centres, hotels and clubs.
Good taxi drivers combine the “hail” work, with knowing when it is busy at spots such as the airport or rail depot and they will also take work dispatched from their radio system. A good taxi driver will maximise the time he/she has a passenger in the taxi, he will look for work in the area he has dropped before moving on. Some drivers like to do contract work such as school or hospital runs.
Hours and Environment
Taxi drivers often work between 40 and 60 hours a week, including evenings, nights and weekends. Friday and Saturday evenings are usually the busiest times.
Drivers spend most of the time at the wheel, driving to and from destinations, sometimes in heavy traffic. As they spend a great deal of time on the road, they must always be aware and drive carefully. Taxi drivers are deemed to be professional drivers and must drive accordingly.
Skills and Interests
To be a taxi driver, you need:
•good driving skills and an awareness of road safety
•a detailed knowledge of the area, including street names, major landmarks and one-way systems
•the ability to manage and plan your own time
•good communication skills
•an awareness of disabled access issues and regulation
•the ability to remain calm in heavy traffic
•the ability to deal politely but firmly with angry or drunken passengers
•good numeracy skills for cash handling and accounts
•a sound understanding of laws and regulations relating to licensing, insurance and road use.
To become a taxi driver
You do not need any formal qualifications but will need a driver’s licence and taxi driver accreditation. See section on Taxi driver training.
Once you have your accreditation you will find driving opportunities close to your home. Taxi Operators are always looking for good drivers and they are located in all parts of Adelaide. If you are an accredited driver and are looking for a taxi to drive, ring one of the Centralised Booking Services and they will find a taxi operator near you.