Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Summary

taxi drivers and chauffeurs image
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs transport passengers to various destinations.
Quick Facts: Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs
2016 Median Pay $24,300 per year
$11.68 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, 2016 305,100
Job Outlook, 2016-26 5% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 14,700

What Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs Do

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

Work Environment

About 1 in 4 taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs worked part time in 2016. Evening and weekend work is common.

How to Become a Taxi Driver, Ride-Hailing Driver, or Chauffeur

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. Although not required, many of these workers have a high school diploma.

Pay

The median annual wage for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs was $24,300 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. An increase in ride-hailing services, which customers use through smartphone apps, should contribute to employment growth.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs.

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

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

What Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs Do About this section

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Ride-hailing drivers use smartphone apps to connect with customers.

Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as homes, workplaces, airports, and shopping centers. They must be familiar with city streets and locations to take passengers to their destinations.

Duties

Taxi drivers, ride-hailing 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
  • 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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs must stay alert and watch 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 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 often sought 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.

The following are examples of types of taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs:

Taxi drivers, also called cabdrivers or cabbies, use a meter to calculate 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. Cabbies drive around the streets looking for passengers in some large cities.

Ride-hailing drivers pick up passengers who seek 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 rides through a credit card linked to the app. Drivers use their own private vehicles and set their own hours.

Chauffeurs take passengers on prearranged trips. They drive 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 vehicle 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 drive specially equipped vehicles designed to help people with various 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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs held about 305,100 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs were as follows:

Self-employed workers 36%
Taxi and limousine service 16
Healthcare and social assistance 11
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 8

Self-employed workers includes those classified as independent contractors.

Some drivers contract with a dispatch company that refers passengers and allows the driver to use their service facilities for a fee. Drivers who do not own their taxicab may 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 these workers. In addition, they often have to pick up heavy luggage and packages.

Injuries and Illnesses

Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Most injuries result from traffic accidents.

Work Schedules

Work hours for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs vary. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2016. Evening and weekend work is common. Some drivers work 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 take breaks for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Chauffeurs' work schedules are much more structured. They work hours based on client needs. Some chauffeurs must be ready to drive their clients at a moment’s notice, so they remain on call throughout the day.

How to Become a Taxi Driver, Ride-Hailing Driver, or Chauffeur About this section

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
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.

Education

There are usually no formal education requirements, although many taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs have a high school diploma or equivalent.

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 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.

Advancement

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.

Important Qualities

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.

Pay About this section

Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Median annual wages, May 2016

Total, all occupations

$37,040

Motor vehicle operators

$34,980

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

$24,300

 

The median annual wage for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs was $24,300 in May 2016. 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 $18,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $38,500.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Taxi and limousine service $25,530
Healthcare and social assistance 24,640
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 23,580

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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs vary. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2016. Evening and weekend work is common. Some drivers work 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 take breaks for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Chauffeurs' work schedules are much more structured. They work hours based on client needs. Some chauffeurs stay on call throughout the day, and must be ready to drive clients at a moment’s notice.

Job Outlook About this section

Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Total, all occupations

7%

Motor vehicle operators

6%

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

5%

 

Overall employment of taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The growing demand for ride-hailing services, which use electronic hailing through smartphone apps, should increase job growth. Specifically, employment of self-employed workers in this occupation is projected to grow 40 percent from 2016 to 2026. Ride-hailing companies classify drivers as independent contractors, not wage and salary workers. Employment of wage and salary workers in this occupation is projected to decline 15 percent from 2016 to 2026.

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.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for ride-hailing drivers should be excellent. The occupation does not require any formal education and has low barriers to entry. Applicants who can pass a background check and have a clean driving record should have no problem contracting with a ride-hailing company. 

Employment projections data for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

53-3041 305,100 319,900 5 14,700 employment projections excel document 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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 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 $38,470
Bus drivers

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers transport people between various places—including work, school, and shopping centers—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 $31,920
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 $28,390
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 $41,340
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 $57,160
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 $54,870
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/taxi-drivers-and-chauffeurs.htm (visited November 01, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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

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Pay

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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 CareerOneStop.

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

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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).

2016 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 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

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, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

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 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 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 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.