There is only so much you can do to earn money. If you are unemployed but have your own car then maybe becoming a minicab driver could get you out of a financial pickle. In our area this is a rather straightforward process of applying to the local council and filling in some forms. Of course you do have to hand over a bit of cash for your licence but it’s not a big outlay for what could turn your life around. There are a couple of provisons: firstly, you’ll be best off if you own a city car and a clean driving licence.
So do you want to be a minicab driver or a hackney carriage (taxi) driver? Minicabs are only insured to pick up from destinations so, unlike the taxi drivers, you can’t be hailed down in the street. Minicabs are coordinated through the operator’s base but your taxi can hang around in a taxi rank waiting for custom.
Cabbies often tell tales of the famous people they had as passengers. Occasionally you get celebrities being the driver although they don’t use them to drum extra work (shame!) during slack work periods. Noel Edmonds and Stephen Fry are well known cab owners. So do you fancy rubbing shoulders with celebs for a living?
Here are the requirements to obtain a taxi licence from most city council authorities:
1.) completed application form and the correct fee for the zone you are applying to,
2.) DVLA mandate form, plus a cheque or postal order for £5 made payable to the DVLA,
3.) Durham County Council medical form, completed and stamped at first application,
4.) your birth certificate,
5.) pass the Driving Standards Agency Hackney Carriage and Private Hire test,
6.) pass the locality and knowledge test, see attachment below for venues and times,
7.) your current DVLA driving licence, both paper and plastic parts if held,
8.) Criminal Records Bureau application form and fee, every three years thereafter.
It’s quite comprehensive and reassuringly long-winded.
Other countries have their own way of registering drivers and the pull of becoming a taxi driver varies from place to place. In Eastern Europe, Georgia has 43 official taxi operators. This is only one up from the previous year. This may be a reflection on the slow growing nature of the industry or perhaps a lack of enterprise and forethought. Perhaps there is something else at work.
David Takidze, the Toyota Taxi Service Manager blames the laxity of rules determining eligibility in obtaining a licence. Currently anyone can place a taxi sign on their car and go out charging passersby. Takidze says that out of his fleet of 70 vehicles, 15 are in perpetual stand-down.
Take the city of Tblisi; it abolished the regulations regarding becoming a legitimate taxi driver. The result is a sprawling confusion of good and bad drivers; not ideal for the locals and even worse for the Tblisi’s intention of becoming a major tourist attraction.
There is good money to be made by becoming a taxi driver but you have to weigh that against the unsociable hours, unruly passengers and the risk of assault and mugging. If you want to skip all the hassle of filling forms than a move to a red-tape averse country like Georgia is a must. If, you prefer to belong to a regulated network then stay in the UK! As a passenger I know who I’d prefer to patronise.
Mind you, regulated taxis and minicabs have crashes too but it’s all part of the fun of driving.
And remember, you can turn pretty much any car in to a taxi….
Guest blogger, Greg Coltman, writes prolifically for tourist and travel blogs and takes care to only use fully licensed cabs.