Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Summary

taxi drivers and chauffeurs image
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs transport passengers to various destinations.
Quick Facts: Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
2015 Median Pay $23,510 per year
$11.30 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2014 233,700
Job Outlook, 2014-24 13% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 30,600

What Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs Do

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as airports, homes, shopping centers, and workplaces. They must know their way around a city to take passengers to their destinations.

Work Environment

About 1 in 5 taxi drivers and chauffeurs worked part time in 2014. Evening and weekend work is common.

How to Become a Taxi Driver or Chauffeur

Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs go through a brief training period. Many states and local municipalities require them to get a taxi or limousine license. Although a high school diploma is not required, many taxi drivers and chauffeurs have one.

Pay

The median annual wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs was $23,510 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of taxi drivers and chauffeurs is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. An increase in ride-hailing services, that utilize electronic hailing through smartphone apps, should contribute to employment growth.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of taxi drivers and chauffeurs with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about taxi drivers and chauffeurs by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs Do About this section

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Many chauffeurs drive limousines.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as homes, workplaces, airports, and shopping centers. They must know their way around a city in order to take both residents and visitors to their destinations.

Duties

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs typically do the following:

  • Drive taxicabs, limousines, company cars, or privately owned vehicles to transport passengers
  • Pick up passengers and listen to where they want to go
  • Help passengers load and unload their luggage
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Collect fares, including allowed extra charges
  • Check the car for problems and do basic maintenance
  • Keep the inside and outside of their car clean
  • Operate wheelchair lifts when needed
  • Keep a record of miles traveled

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must stay alert and monitor the conditions of the road. They have to take precautions to ensure their passengers’ safety, especially in heavy traffic or bad weather. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must also follow all vehicle-for-hire or livery regulations, such as where they can pick up passengers and how much they can charge.

Good drivers are familiar with the streets in the areas they serve. They choose the most efficient routes, considering the traffic at that time of day. They know where the most frequently requested destinations are, such as airports, train stations, convention centers, hotels, and other points of interest. They also know where to find fire and police stations and hospitals in case of an emergency.

Taxi drivers, also called cab drivers or cabbies, generally use a meter to determine the fare when a passenger requests a destination. Many customers request a cab by calling a central dispatcher who then tells the taxi driver the pickup location. Some drivers pick up passengers waiting in lines at cabstands or in the taxi line at airports, train stations, and hotels. In some large cities, cabbies drive around the streets looking for passengers, although this is not legal in all cities.

Ride-hailing drivers pick up passengers who request service through a smartphone app. The fare rate can fluctuate depending on demand, however passengers are notified if the current fare rate is higher than usual. Passengers pay for the ride through a credit card that is linked to the app. Drivers use their own private vehicles and set their own hours.

Chauffeurs take passengers on prearranged trips. They operate limousines, vans, or private cars. They may work for hire for single trips or they may work for a person, a private business, or for a government agency. Customer service is important for chauffeurs, especially luxury car drivers. Some do the duties of executive assistants, acting as driver, secretary, and itinerary planner. Other chauffeurs drive large vans between airports or train stations and hotels.

Paratransit drivers transport people with special needs, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. They operate specially equipped vehicles designed to help people with a variety of needs in nonemergency situations. For example, their vehicles may be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and the driver helps a passenger with boarding.

Work Environment About this section

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Taxi drivers often travel in heavy traffic.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs held about 233,700 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most taxi drivers and chauffeurs were as follows:

Taxi and limousine service 21%
Healthcare and social assistance 15
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 10

About 1 in 5 taxi drivers and chauffeurs were self-employed. Some drivers may own their taxi and contract with a dispatch company that refers passengers and allows the driver to use their facilities for a fee. Other drivers lease a dispatch company’s car as part of the fee. Drivers usually pay for their own expenses such as fuel.

Driving for long periods, especially in heavy traffic, can be stressful for taxi drivers and chauffeurs. In addition, they often have to pick up heavy luggage and packages.

Work Schedules

Work hours for taxi drivers and chauffeurs vary. About 1 in 5 worked part time in 2014. Evening and weekend work is common. Some drivers work very late at night or early in the morning.

Taxi drivers work with little or no supervision, and their work schedules are flexible. They can break for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Chauffeurs' work schedules are much more structured. The hours they work are based on the needs of their clients. Some chauffeurs are on call while they are not at work, so they must be ready to drive their client at a moment’s notice.

How to Become a Taxi Driver or Chauffeur About this section

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Chauffeurs are trained on the job.

Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs go through a brief training period. Many states and local municipalities require them to get a taxi or limousine license. Clean driving records and background checks are sometimes required. No formal educational credential is typically required, although many taxi drivers and chauffeurs have a high school degree.

Education

No formal educational credential is typically required, although many taxi drivers and chauffeurs have a high school degree.

Training

Most taxi and limousine companies provide their new drivers with a short period of on-the-job training. This training usually takes from 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the company and the location. Some municipalities require training by law.

Training typically covers local traffic laws, driver safety, and the local street layout. Taxi drivers also get training in operating the taximeter and communications equipment. Taxi drivers are trained in accordance with local regulations; in contrast, limousine chauffeurs usually are trained by their company, and customer service is emphasized. Ride-hailing drivers receive little to no training beyond how to work the electronic hailing app so they can pick up customers. Paratransit drivers receive special training in how to handle wheelchair lifts and other mechanical devices.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All taxi drivers and chauffeurs must have a regular automobile driver’s license. States and local municipalities set other requirements; many require drivers to get a taxi or chauffeur's license. This normally requires passing a drug test and a written test about regulations and local geography.

The majority of states and municipalities do not have regulations pertaining to ride-hailing drivers because the service has just recently grown in popularity. A few cities have started to issue regulations and some have even ordered ride-hailing companies to cease and desist operations. Check with your local area for more information.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that limousine drivers who transport at least 16 passengers at a time (including the driver) have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger (P) endorsement. To get these, a driver has to pass knowledge and driving skills tests.

Advancement

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have limited advancement opportunities. Some taxi drivers start their own cab service by purchasing a taxi rather than leasing one through a dispatch company. For chauffeurs, advancement usually takes the form of driving more important clients and different types of cars. Some taxi drivers and chauffeurs can become a “lead driver,” which means they train new drivers in addition to continuing to drive their own clients.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs regularly interact with their customers and have to represent their company positively and make sure passengers are satisfied with their ride. Because passengers rate ride-hailing drivers after each trip, excellent customer-service skills can lead to a favorable review.

Dependability. Customers rely on taxi drivers and chauffeurs to pick them up at the agreed-upon time so they get to their destinations when they need to be there.

Hand-eye coordination. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have to be able to observe their surroundings and steer away from obstacles and dangerous drivers while operating a vehicle.

Initiative. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs usually work with little or no supervision, so they must be self-motivated and able to take initiative to earn a living.

Patience. Drivers must be calm and composed when driving through heavy traffic, congestion, or dealing with rude passengers.

Visual ability. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must be able to pass a state-issued vision test in order to hold a driver’s license.

Pay About this section

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Median annual wages, May 2015

Total, all occupations

$36,200

Motor vehicle operators

$34,170

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

$23,510

 

The median annual wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs was $23,510 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,970.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for taxi drivers and chauffeurs in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Taxi and limousine service $24,270
Healthcare and social assistance 23,980
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 22,780

These wage data include money earned from tips. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs who provide good customer service are more likely to receive higher tips on each fare. 

Work hours for taxi drivers and chauffeurs vary. About 1 in 5 worked part time in 2014. Evening and weekend work is common. Some drivers work very late at night or early in the morning.

Taxi and ride-hailing drivers work with little or no supervision, and their work schedules are flexible. They can break for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Chauffeurs' work schedules are much more structured. The hours they work are based on the needs of their clients. Some chauffeurs are on call while they are not at work, so they must be ready to drive their client at a moment’s notice.

Job Outlook About this section

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

13%

Total, all occupations

7%

Motor vehicle operators

6%

 

Employment of taxi drivers and chauffeurs is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

The innovation of ride-hailing services, which utilize electronic hailing through smartphone apps, should increase job growth. Specifically, the self-employed should see the most growth because ride-hailing companies classify drivers as independent contractors. Employment growth should result from ride-hailing services being introduced in more large- and medium-sized cities across the country.

Taxis and ride-hailing services generally operate in urban areas and complement public transit systems because people who regularly take a train or bus are more likely to use a taxi or ride-hailing service. Therefore, increasing demand for taxis and ride-hailing services should mostly occur in larger metropolitan areas.

Some employment growth for chauffeurs is expected because of an increasing amount of corporate travel. To be successful, most chauffeurs depend on clients who travel for business.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for taxi drivers and chauffeurs will likely be excellent. The occupation does not require any formal education and has low barriers to entry. Applicants with a clean driving record and flexible schedules should have the best chance of being hired. Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs work in metropolitan areas, and those areas that are experiencing fast economic growth should offer the most job opportunities.

Employment projections data for taxi drivers and chauffeurs, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

53-3041 233,700 264,400 13 30,600 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Automotive service technicians and mechanics

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

Postsecondary nondegree award $37,850
Bus drivers

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers transport people between various places—including work, school, and shopping malls—and across state or national borders. Some drive regular routes, and others transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours.

High school diploma or equivalent $30,950
Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. They drive trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW)—the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—of 26,000 pounds or less. Most of the time, delivery truck drivers transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households.

High school diploma or equivalent $27,760
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity—that is, the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—exceeding 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

Postsecondary nondegree award $40,260
Train engineers and operators

Railroad Workers

Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains, and others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

High school diploma or equivalent $55,180
Water transportation occupations

Water Transportation Workers

Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water. The vessels travel to and from foreign ports across the ocean and to domestic ports along the coasts, across the Great Lakes, and along the country’s many inland waterways.

See How to Become One $55,000
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/taxi-drivers-and-chauffeurs.htm (visited May 05, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.