London is famous for its taxis, particularly the iconic black cabs which you’ll find everywhere throughout the city. If you’ve ever considered becoming a London taxi driver but aren’t sure what steps you need to take then read on.
Types of taxis
- Public hire – Public hire taxis are one of two types of taxis you’ll find in London. Public hire taxis can display a ‘taxi’ sign on the cab and cab be hailed from the street or a taxi rank. Black cabs are a typical example of a public hire taxi. Because public hire taxis can be hailed from the street, drivers tend to face more risk when compared to private hire taxi drivers. Public hire taxis also typically cost more to insure.
- Private hire – Private hire taxis can only be booked in advance via phone or app and cannot be hailed from the street. Uber taxis are considered private hire since they need to be booked by the Uber app.
Steps to take
- Get a licence – The most important thing you’ll need in order to work legally as a taxi driver is to obtain the correct licence. The type of licence you need will depend on whether you want to work as a private hire or public hire driver. In either case you’ll need to pass a series of personal, medical and competence tests in order to obtain your licence. Part of working as a taxi driver in London is passing the Knowledge of London test. This is a comprehensive test that’s split into multiple parts where you must demonstrate you have a comprehensive knowledge of London and its many streets and landmarks.
- Get a suitable vehicle – In order to work as a taxi driver in London, you’ll need to have a suitable vehicle. New emission guidelines came into effect at the beginning of 2018 which means that any newly registered taxis, whether public hire or private hire, must now be capable of doing at least 30 miles emission-free. This means you’ll need to have a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle in order to work as a taxi driver in London from now on.
- Get insurance – You’ll of course need to get the right cover to work as a taxi driver. A taxi insurance policy will cover you for road risks and usually includes public liability cover too. There are plenty of London taxi insurance brokers you can use online to help you get a policy at the best price.