Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
After yet another night of bother and drunken idiots on my bus last night I am seriously thinking of packing it in and considering private hire work. Could any taxi drivers out there inform me of the various pros/cons and any rules/regs you will have to meet.

I already own a suitable low mileage Mondeo so vehicle costs (other than running) are not an issue. I know I will probably have to take a drop in income but it will be worth it for a eas(ier) life. Before anyone says I will get more trouble I have no intention of working late weekends unless absolutely necessary!

Thanks in advance for any replies.



I'm a loser, baby....so why don't you kill me?!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - drbe
Hi
Before I pass comment, which part of the country are you living? It could make a big difference.
Regards
Don drbe
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Wales Forester
Having personally driven buses for ten years, I'd say stick with the buses, at least you've got the choice of not stopping to pick up drunks without any financial penalty to yourself.
I used to weigh them up as I stopped, if I had a passenger to alight and I thought there was a drunk about to board I'd pull up well past the stop, drop the alighting passenger and move off swiftly before the drunk had chance to realise what was going on. Yes there are situations where this just isn't an option.

Which operator do you work for and in which town? Do your vehicles have assault screens/alarms fitted?
I'd say you're equally likely to encounter drunks using a taxi during the day as well as in the evening in these days of long licensing hours. I'm sure Dave Taxi Driver will be along shortly and enlighten us.

PP
Taxi driver - Viable career? - greenhey
Hi
I've worked part-time as a private hire driver over the last three years and it's been Ok but no way to make a fortune.
98% of customers have been OK. But I have been using a firm's car, and getting into running your own has issues.
Here we go:
You need to be licensed- by your local authority - who will get you checked by the Criminal records Bureau - took about 4 weeks- you will need a medical- driving licence checked- and phots etc. Total cost of all that, around here (South oxon) about £220.
Your car will need to be licensed- they give it like an MOT , then plate it , assuming there are considered to be vacancies for plates in your area ( each council sets a limit locally)
You will need to insure the car for taxi work- can cost £1500 pa easily ; you will also need to remember the depreciation will be much quicker .
The there's how will you get your customers - if you operate solo you will need to advertise; if you subcontract from a firm you will pay them a cut .
Then there's VAT and tax to set up.
Apart from that it's easy
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Cardew
A close relative of mine owns a Taxi/private hire firm. The way his firm is set up is for all drivers to be self employed and pay a weekly hire charge to him for the radio, on board computer terminal and for the operators at base to allocate jobs. The drivers input which area they are in and the nearest available car gets allocated the job.

If you put the hours in, especially at night, you can earn serious money(which you must declare in full to the taxman - of course!!).

On the downside insurance costs are huge and cars put on huge mileages, so diesels make sense.

Also, depending where you live, don't think you will escape the agro - particularly if you work late at night. Drunks regularly throw up in the car, which puts it out of commission until it can be thoroughly cleaned. Violence is not unknown, as is clients doing a 'runner' without paying. His firm and others in the area share information on known problem addresses which they refuse to attend.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
Thanks for all the replies up to now. In response to the various questions raised I live in the North East and work for a large well known bus firm (I will not name them for legal reasons) but as far as driver safety is concerned it is about number 257 on their list of priorities, if I had to attend court after an assault they would re-arrange my days off to make sure it was in my own (unpaid) time.

Leaving anybody at a bus stop is not an option no matter how dodgy they look as even if they do not report you chances are one of your passengers will...gets them a few free journey vouchers you see!

I know being a taxi driver is traditionally a low paid/thought of career but if I can bring home £250 a week for working between 40/50 hours I will be happy. May contact a few local firms to see how the figures would work out.

Any more thoughts welcome.



I'm a loser, baby....so why don't you kill me?!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Vansboy
The part of Taxi/private Hire I would consider, would be for airport runs.
Ideally a people carrier, but you might manage with an estate car.The jobs should earn reasonably well, without worrying about drunks.So long as you don't arrive late for a flight, you'll not get the abuse, either.
Check out what others charge currently within,say 20 miles of home, to Newcastle, Liverpool,Manchester airports.See what you reckon hourly rate would be, bet you could improve on £250/week.
Of course you could buy an old white (wrong colour for weddings) Rolls Royce & only work Saturdays!
VB
PS Still not keen on you're signature/tag line

Taxi driver - Viable career? - Armitage Shanks{P}
I live in East Midlands and a man here takes people to the airport in their own cars and picks them up when they return. I think it works for him but I would guess that it would not be either a large or a regular income. I do agree with an earlier post to the effect that being an 'airport run' specialist will at least keep the drunks out of your vehicle and you might get away with using your present car, not a people carrier, if you don't take big families.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
Vansboy -

>>PS Still not keen on you're signature/tag line

Feel free to correct me, Miller, but I'm fairly sure that this is a lyric from a song by Beck.

Heavens - very nearly hip and trendy there!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
Vansboy -
>>PS Still not keen on you\'re signature/tag line
Feel free to correct me, Miller, but I\'m fairly sure that
this is a lyric from a song by Beck.
Heavens - very nearly hip and trendy there!


Rob, correct!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
Rob, correct!


By 'eck, do I feel smug?

Anyway, better go as this has chuff all to do with motoring!

(I can see you creeping up behind me with the scissors, Mark ;-))
Taxi driver - Viable career? - mab23

Hmmm, large bus company in the north east - there's not that many to choose from...!

I would say that seeing some of the deadheads that use public transport and taxis round here (Middlesbrough) you are no better off doing taxis or private hire rather than buses. You certainly don't seem to be able to charge half as much per mile as the taxis do round London & the SE...

Airport work may also be limited because there aren't loads of rich people jetting off every few days - Newcastle and Teesside airports are toytown airports compared to Luton/Stansted/Gatwick/Heathrow which provides vast amounts of business for those in the SE.

$0.02

mike
Taxi driver - Viable career? - greenhey
Hi
This is how most privat hire firms work.
Unfortuantely there's a threat to it. The firms claim the drivers are self-employed but the Inland Revenue are challenging that.
To be self-employed you must - own the tools of your trade - find your own work- have more than one customer, etc. Most "self-employed" drivers don't pass this test . The IR , as they prove cases against firms, hit hem for back income tax and NI which would have been due for the drivers as employees . They can go back 7 years .The VAT people then also get on the case . The costs then are enough for some firms to simple pack in .
So driving a firm's car on this basis is not going to be allowed for much longer.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - martin
I can well appreciate your motivations for wanting to quit your current bus work. Employers are total pink fluffy dice 99% of the time. The larger the company the worse it gets, seems to be my experience. But how does this help you? I worked as a P/T cabby in Canterbury, Kent only doing Saturday night and Sunday. This earnt me £100 a week for 18hrs work, but I did have some serious problems with drunks, fair dodgers, vomiting etc etc. You get the picture. The problem is that in cab work weekends are your bingo time, Sundays are also popular too as bus services are pretty limited so it seems.

Using your own car sounds like a real liability however, you could get it ruined pretty quick through a few abusive customers and the general ware and tear on the seat fabric (the fleet cars I drove were awful 1yr from new). How about either getting some experience first, see if you like it. You could also try and get a control room job for a company that already exists, this would pay less but would keep you off the road. You obviously have good local knowledge to offer because of you bus work. Or what about delivery work for a local courier company, this can pay ok if you get the right employer (of course, easier said than done).
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Jonathan {p}
I am fortunate enough to drive minor celebs and rich business people around at weekends as a chauffeur. I use their cars and an insured for the purpose through the company that organises it. Pay is good, £40 from 7pm to midnight and £10 per hour after, so a 3am finsh will net £70 plus any tips. The work isn't regular (maybe once a month) but there is usually a rush on at Christmas.

Before anyone questions why people would pay this sort of money, the usual taxi fare from the area that they live in to Manchester city centre is around £25 each way, and they don't have to wait around for taxis, plus they all get dropped off at their door (if there is a group of people).

The bonus is, I get to drive all sort of flash cars that I could not afford to drive otherwise (and the free use of a bentley for my wedding!)

and no, i don't have any juicy stories of manchester united footballer's antics in the back seat!

Jonathan
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
Miller - if I may, I'd like to add my contribution. I currently work (if you hadn't guessed by my forum name!) as a bus driver in the North West. Perhaps we work for the same company - have they recently introduced a new livery? Anyway, in the past I have worked as both a private hire driver and a hackney driver and I have to say that there is no way that I would go back to it.

You say in your original post that you would avoid working weekend nights. Unfortunately, this is when you can make the money. I can recall making over £150 on one Friday shift (4.30pm - 4am Saturday) and then about twice that the next shift (10am Saturday - 3am Sunday). But these are the hours that you will have to work to make that kind of money. I know that Dave_Taxi_Driver may contradict me, but I hated taxi work and really, unless there was no other way of providing for my family, would never go back.

You also say that you are sick of coping with drunk, abusive passengers. Does your depot have a Health & Safety Rep on the Union? I don't wish to go into more details about the company for the same reasons as you, but if you want a private conversation, then please get in touch with one of the moderators (mark_moderator@honestjohn.co.uk or dave-moderator@honestjohn.co.uk) and I will be pleased to help you in any way I can. Up until recently, I was H&S Rep for my union branch.

Good luck anyway, with whatever you choose.

Regards

Rob
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
Thanks for your words of wisdom.

I suppose the trouble I have would not bother me so much if I were not built like a matchstick, my companies policy is to be diplomatic and avoid confrontation but try that with some thug who has downed ten or more pints and is throwing their weight around.

The company also has the union more or less in its back pocket so I would have no joy there and also there is a steady supply of new recruits eager to replace the disillusioned like myself so my resignation would mean nothing to them.

My employer is the only one out of the "big three" bus companies up here not to fit any of its buses with attack screens or even cab radios linked to the depot, if a driver breaks down or has other problems they have to use their own personal mobile phone, made all the more ironic when our canteen noticeboard is plastered with notices warning the consequences of using a mobile whilst in the cab!

Im 30 now and I cannot begin to contemplate another year in this job never mind 35! Sorry if this has turned into a rant but I just want everyone to understand my reasons for seeking alternative employment!






I'm a loser, baby....so why don't you kill me?!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
>>Thanks for your words of wisdom.

Maybe I\'m paranoid, but that sounded just the teeniest bit sarcastic ;-)

Miller, please do e-mail me. If you can\'t get a response from the moderators, try - mailto:wobblybob1@hotmail.com . I\'d be extremely interested to hear about your experiences with your employer - I\'m convinced that you work for the same company as me!

Taxi driver - Viable career? - frostbite
As a former cab driver who packed it in for much the same reason that you want to leave your current job I can only think, out of the frying pan into the fire.

Do seriously take note of what others have said, and do try it part-time first - you will almost certainly be able to do so driving someone else's motor.

Seems to me you would probably enjoy HGV driving more than either of these occupations?.....
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Wales Forester
I don't think my First choice would be correct, and I'm sure that to Arriva at the correct operator it would be through a Souter course of elimination? Wot no stripes? Maybe you should Go Ahead and spill the beans Miller!
;-)

Sorry chaps, couldn't resist.

PP
Taxi driver - Viable career? - clariman
I don't think my First choice would be correct, and I'm
sure that to Arriva at the correct operator it would be
through a Souter course of elimination? Wot no stripes? Maybe you
should Go Ahead and spill the beans Miller!
;-)
Sorry chaps, couldn't resist.
PP


Bus Off!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
14 Apr 2003

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Discussion > Taxi driver - Viable career?
Thread Author: Miller Replies: 19

Taxi driver - Viable career? - clariman Mon 14 Apr 03 17:13
I don\'t think my First choice would be correct, and I\'m
sure that to Arriva at the correct operator it would be
through a Souter course of elimination? Wot no stripes? Maybe you
should Go Ahead and spill the beans Miller!
;-)
Sorry chaps, couldn\'t resist.
PP


>>Bus Off!

Now, now - we don\'t want a bus-t up do we? As this site goes National, we need an Atlantean effort to stay sensible. Better go, as Mark\'s quite a Tiger and if he sees this, he\'ll be very Cross-ley. After all, a Leopard never changes his spots.

(I am so sorry!)
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Wales Forester
Shame on you Rob, I can't see the Pointer of that, better make a Dart for the door now I think before I get a Wright ear bashing.
;-)

PP
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
Peter, you seem like an upstanding Citizen. Why not chill out and listen to Alexander\'s Rag-Time Band? Or maybe you could find a Van Hool cope with your needs? Am I mistaken, or are you from the Northen Counties? You seem like a nice Guy - you\'re not Arab are you? Maybe you\'re a Wulfrunian. Or perhaps you\'re your own MAN. You\'re not an alien are you? That would make you a Vulcan.

(Sensible mode back on) Anyway, that - I feel - should be that!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
By the way Miller, I am really sorry for hi-jacking your thread for the purpose of bad bus-related puns! This, I suspect, makes me a sad git. But hey! At least I'm a happy sad git!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Mark (RLBS)
1) [groaannnn]
2) enough, thank you.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
Fair enough Mark - happy to comply ;-)

Sorry if I was getting a tad silly!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Wales Forester
Apologies from PP too!
:-)
Taxi driver - Viable career? - marty lad
know exactly how you feel miller.i run a taxi over here in ireland and am seriously thinking of packing it in too.the money is good but the abuse is something else,i recently had to shellout 500 euro after rufusing to pick up a drunk who kicked in the rear (nissan prime)door.i have been doing this a year now and i think thats long enough.cheers
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
Just to drw a line under this thanks to Rob and all the others who have contributed.

I decided it would be a case of out of frying pan etc so I will stick with this crappy job for now but I will begin to actively look for something else instead of just moaning on.

P.S I HATE the colour turquoise!! ;-)



I'm a loser, baby....so why don't you kill me?!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Dynamic Dave
P.S I HATE the colour turquoise!! ;-)


Hmmm, I see what you mean!!
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Rob the Bus
>>P.S I HATE the colour turquoise!! ;-)

Ah! It's all become clear now! I currently work for the company that used to be stripey but is now swoopy. But before that I worked for the turquoise ones so I know what you're having to put up with.

As I've said before, Miller, sorry for hijacking your thread with my God-awful puns and can I take the opportunity of wishing you the very best for the future? It's nice to meet some bus drivers in the BR and realise that you're not the only one putting up with all the crap!

Cheers

Rob
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Flat in Fifth
just a question from a non bus driver, what about coach/holiday firms as opposed to scheduled local outfits? Presumably the seasonal demand will be up shortly and you shouldn't get really bad hassle.

I have a friend who runs such a company and he can never find enough decent reliable drivers.[1] Not in your part of the world I'm afraid.

[1] example of recent desertion, driver clears off with a bus load of pensioners, mid week just beggars off with the emergency float fund, leaves the bus parked and the twirlies missing their days outing to wherever.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Miller
Believe it or not coach driving (even abroad) is relatively poorly paid compared to UK public service work, I know several firms around here who pay the minimum wage and expect their drivers to make it up in tips.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - clariman
Honestly viable, apparently not. I know of one taxi driver who is private hire, proper "plate" and the lot, but is claiming invalidity benefit and council tax benefit.

Should report him I guess. But he'll be found out anyway hopefully.
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Vansboy
Had a customer come in the yard offering to sell his van back to us.
He's a good, well paid, I'd have thought, carpenter.Fed up with hassle of being self employed.
He's going to earn £600ish/week, working for your firm.....DRIVING TRAINS!!
Now theres an idea!
VB
Taxi driver - Viable career? - Dave_TD
I'm late again, aren't I? ;-)
I've been working nights this week, early finish tonight because I'm out at 8am tomorrow...

Anyway. Miller - Contrary to what a couple of people have said, I wouldn't advocate you changing to my job. The drunks are going to be just as bad in a cab as in a bus. Coach/ exec hire/ train driving would be a much better option! My eyesight isn't good enough to get an LGV/ PCV licence[1] otherwise I'd be doing that instead.
I love the flexibility of my job, the hours are fine for me, and I don't seem to be able to get enough of the driving, but the few annoying punters really do take the shine off it. Saying that, today I've been to Eastbourne with a Heathrow on the way back, then back for another Heathrow afterwards! Roll on tomorrow.

[1] "Lazy eye", doesn't affect me at all apart from when trying to watch those 3D films with red & green glasses! Never had any problems judging speed or distance on the road. The LGV/ PCV licence requires a minimum visual acuity standard of 9 in each eye though, and while one eye rates something like 25, the other only rates 7. :-(

 

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