In the UK, there are multiple types of taxi drivers. These can include a London black cab, a minicab driver and an Uber or Lyft driver. Before becoming a taxi driver, you need to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each of these which will be explained briefly in this blog.
Becoming a London Black Cab Driver
There are two different types of licenced London Black Cab taxi drivers. Firstly, there is the Green Badge which covers anywhere within Greater London. The other is the Yellow Badge which covers only one of the nine suburbs of the Greater London area. Both of these involves passing the Knowledge exam.
Advantages of Becoming a London Black Cab Driver
The main advantage of being a London black cab is you have a guaranteed permanent job for life. You can choose when and where you work. The average Black Cab driver earns approximately £25,000 after all expenses. This income is for a basic 40-hour week and can easily be much more.
Disadvantages of becoming a London Black Cab Driver
The process of becoming a Black Cab driver is extremely challenging as it involves the notorious Knowledge of London exam. Before qualifying as a Black Cab driver, you are required to master the “Knowledge.” This can take between 2 to 4 years to complete. However, plenty of help and support is available from both the government and many external online sources.
The Black Cab Knowledge Exam
The Knowledge exam involves 7 stages, 6 of which are various different exams. For example, self-assessment, written examination, interview-like appearances, and a suburban examination. There are also Knowledge schools which help to prepare people for each exam and will streamline your learning process. However, they are independent and not regulated by the Transport of London.
Private Taxi Driver
Private Taxi drivers, also known as cab driver operate under a licence issued by the local authority at which they live or work. The option of becomes a private cab driver is tempting, as the process is far easier than being a black cab driver. The conditions for applying for a licence are that you must be above 21 years of age, you must hold a full UK or EU license, you must have the right to work or live in the UK; must be of “good character” (undergo an enhanced criminal background check), and must be medically fit. You will then be required to sit a driving test at your local test centre. DTC UK will be able to assist in getting your test fast-tracked.
Advantages of becoming a Private Taxi Driver
It is a simple process to register as a private taxi driver (or cab driver) which only takes a few months to complete. Furthermore, the government is legally required to issue a licence to anyone who meets their requirements. You can usually choose your own working hours and the area you wish to cover.
Disadvantages of becoming a Private Taxi Driver
You must work for a licenced private hire operator. Therefore, you are not completely independent like Black Cab drivers. You need to consider the number of existing private cab drivers in your area and carefully check whether this is the right option for you. There is also outlay costs (purchasing or renting a suitable vehicle), and whether you’re suited for solitary working.
Uber / Lyft / or other startups
This is a very new option currently emerging in the market. You need to to be aware that the law is likely to change regarding this area of Passenger transport.
Advantages of becoming a Uba/Lyfy Driver
There are many positives to joining services like Uber. The first being you can choose when exactly when you wish to work. Drive at times that work for you, you’ve got complete flexibility to set your schedule around your life. Trip fares increase with time and distance. When demand is higher than normal, drivers make more. There is also no contract or commitment. Finally, no prior knowledge is needed as an app is used to navigate to the set destination.
Disadvantages of becoming a Uba/Lyfy Driver
The downsides of joining Uber is that you still require a private hire licence for the council you wish to operate. The fee of the licence make not be worth it if you do not work regularly. Some insurance companies may drop your insurance if they find out you’re working for Uber. This is a complicated issue and is not well explained by Uber or Lyft. Furthermore, many worry the future of autonomous cars may jeopardise their job with Uber. This worry is especially prevalent in technology-focused companies such as Uber.