It’s part of Hollywood lore: the taxi driver who picks up the damsel in distress or the out-of-town business man, or the chauffeur who whisks the friends home after a night on the town. Cabdrivers are the ones who get us where we need to go, who serve as our driver and navigator when in need. It’s a profession in which drivers enjoy working with little supervision and getting to meet a variety of people. Taxi driving is also a profession with its dangers.
Read on to learn more about taxi drivers. If searching for one yourself, don’t forget to start your search at DexKnows taxis.
“The Changing Face of Taxi and Limousine Drivers,” a 2004 report by Schaller Consulting, stated that 12 percent of Americans had used either a taxi or limo over a month’s period. The number of drivers continues to rise, with 239,000 taxi jobs in 2010, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s expected to keep rising by 20 percent, with 47,000 more jobs expected by 2020.
Public transportation reduces gasoline consumption and congestion on the road and saves people money. There is an increased push in communities to provide more public transportation options to decrease people’s “carbon footprint” left on the environment.
Driving by dollars
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the annual wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs in 2011 was $25,020. The average hourly wage was $12.03. The top paying state was Nevada, where drivers’ hourly wage was $15.26. That was followed by New York, with an average hourly wage of $14.58.
According to a fact sheet from the PBS show “Taxi Dreams,” which follows five immigrant cabdrivers in New York City, the average weekly pay for a taxicab driver in 1929 in New York was $26. It dropped to $15 in 1933. Now, the average fare in New York is about $6. A 12-hour shift averages 30 rides and 180 miles.
Nevada has the most taxi drivers, with 10,220 reported in 2011. The website TaxiDriverSalary.com states that a starting taxi driver in the state averaged $9 to $13 an hour, while an average driver’s salary was $10 to $16 an hour and top-paid drivers averaged $12 to $19 an hour. The website adds that the average cost of living is 12 percent higher in Nevada than the national average.
Driving a taxi requires a driver’s license and going through brief training, possibly on-the-job training. The website careeroverview.com states that a chauffeur or taxi driver’s license is also often required. This may include a written test or a classroom-based training program that includes safe driving techniques, learning about local geography and teaching customer service skills.
That doesn’t mean these drivers haven’t done their share of formal schooling. Schaller Consulting, which researched U.S. Census Bureau reports, stated that 43 percent of taxi and limo drivers in 2000 had gone to college or graduated college. About 41 percent had a high school diploma, while 17 percent hadn’t graduated from high school.
The Schaller report found that 67 percent of taxi and limo drivers worked 40 or more hours a week in 2000. Thirty percent worked 50 or more hours a week, and full-time drivers averaged 49.1 hours.
Cabdrivers sometimes have to help lift and carry heavy packages and luggage. Also, driving in congested areas and during rush hours can be stressful. Working solo and carrying a lot of cash put drivers at risk of robbery and even being killed.
Many taxi drivers enjoy having a flexible schedule. They work under little supervision. The flexibility often draws college students and workers who are searching for a second income or need a schedule that allows them to pursue other endeavors or take care of other needs.
Around the bend
Here are some other reported facts and figures to do with taxi drivers:
- According to PBS, New York had its first female cab driver in 1925.
- It’s still a male-driven field, though the percentage of female drivers has increased. The Schaller report stated that the percentage of female drivers increased from less than 3 percent in 1960 to more than 10 percent in 1980, nearing 13 percent in 2000.
- Driving a taxi is a popular profession among immigrants. The Schaller report found that 38 percent of drivers in 2000 were immigrants.
- Immigrant drivers are often from South Asia, particularly Pakistan and India, West Indies countries such as Jamaica and Haiti, and Africa.
Now when you hail a taxi, you will know a little bit more about the occupation that takes you where you need to go. Don’t forget DexKnows taxi services next time you need to call a cab.