How to Become a Taxi Driver, Ride-Hailing Driver, or Chauffeur
Chauffeurs are trained on the job.
Most taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs go through a brief training period. Many states and local municipalities require taxi drivers and chauffeurs to get a taxi or limousine license. Clean driving records and background checks are sometimes required. There are usually no formal education requirements, although many drivers have a high school diploma or equivalent.
There are usually no formal education requirements, although many taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs have a high school diploma or equivalent.
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 cities 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. Limousine companies, with an emphasis on customer service, usually train their chauffeurs. 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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs must have a regular automobile driver’s license. States and local municipalities set other requirements; many require taxi drivers and chauffeurs to get a taxi or limousine license. This normally requires passing a background check, drug test and a written exam about regulations and local geography.
Regulations for ride-hailing drivers vary by state and city. Check with your local area for more information.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires limousine drivers who transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger (P) endorsement. Drivers must pass knowledge and driving skills tests to receive a CDL.
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.
Customer-service skills. Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs regularly interact with their customers and have to represent their company positively and ensure passenger satisfaction 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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs to pick them up on time and quickly transport them to their destination.
Hand–eye coordination. Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs must watch their surroundings and avoid obstacles and other hazards while driving a vehicle.
Initiative. Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs usually work with little or no supervision, so they must self-motivate and take the initiative to earn a living.
Patience. Drivers must be calm and composed when driving through heavy traffic and congestion or dealing with rude passengers.
Visual ability. Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs must be able to pass a state-issued vision test to hold a driver’s license.