It is necessary for taxi-drivers to obtain a special licence, which then allows them to stand in taxi ranks or to drive around looking for passengers. The taxi-driver assists the passengers with any luggage they may have and then drives them to their destination. They then collect the fare as shown on the taximeter. They make sure the taxi is kept clean, both inside and out, and are also responsible for ensuring the taxi is properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition. Private hire vehicle drivers perform the same function as a taxi driver, but are not allowed to stand in taxi ranks or ply for trade on the streets: they are normally booked by phone, or by two-way radio from a central booking office.
Good driving skills are necessary for this job, and an equable temperament is needed for dealing with passengers. They must be able to maintain concentration whilst driving, especially in heavy traffic conditions or bad weather. Ability to carry out simple repairs and maintenance is also helpful.
Applicants must have had a full driving licence (EU) for a year, and be aged 21 or older.
Prospects in this job are to become an owner-driver or, for the most ambitious, to run a fleet of taxis or hire cars.
Obtaining the licence to be a taxi-driver requires much time and effort, and is especially arduous in London. Other local authorities have their own testing procedure to ensure an adequate local knowledge and the necessary driving skills of the drivers. Private hire drivers now also need to have a licence, and in some instances local authorities require them to pass the same tests as taxi drivers. Entry into this work is possible at any age.