In the last couple of years, the number of female taxi drivers, and female only cab companies, has increased. The rise is largely due to issues of safety. Simply, many women feel safer getting into a taxi that is being driven by a member of the same sex, particularly when it is dark.
There are now more female taxi drivers working in the UK than ever before, and this is a trend that is being replicated throughout the Western world. Here is how to become a taxi driver and thrive in this growing female-led business:
Tests, Paperwork and Licenses
Anyone wanting to become a taxi driver must apply for a license from their local council or authority. This process typically takes 12 weeks to complete. You should also speak to your council and find out if you will be required to pass a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) assessment if you live in the UK.
If you live in London, however, there are extra assessments. The Knowledge is the aptly titled test that all prospective London taxi drivers must take in order to qualify for an All-London license. The Knowledge assesses driver’s knowledge of approximately 320 routes. On average, it takes people 3 years to learn this information, although this depends on the amount of time you commit. For more information about The Knowledge, read here.
Find a Vehicle
Purchasing a cab is expensive and it may take you some time to save up. Initially, many drivers opt to rent a taxi. This also allows you to make sure that a career as a taxi driver is right for you before you plunge into a long term financial investment. When you decide it is time to buy, there are companies that specialise in selling cabs. There is the option of new or used taxis, so there is always a cab to suit your budget.
Companies versus Self-Employment
There are many companies that solely employ female drivers and only collect female passengers. However, there is also a need for female drivers in traditional taxi firms. Working with a company means you will have permanent hours, but you will probably be following a shift pattern.
If you choose to work as a self-employed driver then there are benefits, especially when it comes to flexibility. You are your own boss, so you choose your hours, decide who you pick up, and never have to request holiday dates. There are apps designed specifically for self employed taxi drivers, such as Hailo, that allow you to register your driver details, update your status and accept bookings.