How to become a taxi driver

If you want to become a taxi driver you need to take more tests than regular drivers and be fully licensed; as a taxi driver you're not only taking on a new job but are also required to ensure the safety of your passengers. Depending on where you work in the UK some local authorities may even request additional licensing or further tests before you are allowed to work for a taxi firm.

Who can become a taxi driver?

If you want to become a taxi driver in the UK you must meet a certain conditions first. Some conditions vary depending on the firm or local authority requirements where you work, but the two essential requirements are:

  • You are in possession of a full UK driving licence, or a European licence with UK papers;
  • You are able to work legally in the UK.

Other conditions may include:

  • The possession of, or willingness to obtain, a CRB check (sometimes are your own expense);
  • Willingness to undertake a medical test;
  • Willingness to undertake a 'knowledge test' to ensure you have a reasonable knowledge of the area you will be working in;
  • Passing the Driving Standards Agency practical taxi test.

Driving Standards Agency Practical Test

If you want to become a taxi driver you may have to take the Driving Standards Agency test (DSA test), which sets acceptable standards for all taxi drivers. Not all local authorities require this test but it is becoming increasingly likely that local authorities won't issue a taxi permit without a suitable score.

The test is similar to a standard learning driver's test but is generally more extensive; some skills are assessed specifically for taxi drivers, such as the ability to perform U-turns in the practical examination and stopping only in suitable areas when picking/dropping passengers.

You will also need to know how to operate wheelchair access ramps and secure wheelchair bound passengers safely.

Applying for a DSA Test

If you think you may require a DSA test before you become a taxi driver, or your firm/local authority requests one specifically, you should contact you local authority who will act as a licensing authority or direct you to a suitable company.

What happens after I quality or take the DSA test?

When you complete the DSA test to become a taxi driver, or you meet other conditions where a DSA test is not necessary, you can apply for a position with you local council (i.e., driving 'Hackney carriages') or apply directly to private firms. It's more likely you won't require a DSA for a position with a private firm.

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