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How many hours does a taxi driver work each day and is there a limit?


Image credit: DALL.E (AI generated)

Taxi drivers enjoy a unique occupational freedom, allowing them to dictate their own work schedules based on personal and financial needs. This flexibility stands out as a key advantage in the industry, attracting many to the profession.


Taxi operators are entirely self-employed, granting them the liberty to choose how many hours to drive each day. For some, this means working just a few hours to supplement other income or pensions—a strategy once common but now more challenging due to rising operational costs. For others, especially those without secondary income sources, longer hours become a necessity to ensure a stable income for family life.

The fares that taxi drivers charge are typically calculated by considering the local average living wage and the costs associated with maintaining and running a vehicle. This fare structure aims to ensure that a driver working standard hours—approximately 40-45 hours per week—can earn a decent living. However, the actual distribution of these hours is flexible, allowing drivers to work more intensively on some days to free up others, or to work fewer, longer days to cut down on commuting costs and maximise effective working time.


The choice to work longer days, potentially up to 12 hours at a stretch, offers economic benefits such as reduced fuel costs and less wear and tear on the vehicle during dead mile commutes. This approach may also align well with the lifestyle needs of many drivers, providing ample time for family or other commitments on non-working days. While such long shifts might seem daunting, they are made feasible by regular breaks and strategic planning to ensure safety and alertness.

Unlike drivers of heavy goods vehicles, taxi drivers are not required to use tachometers to limit driving hours, reflecting their self-employed status. This lack of restriction allows drivers to grow their business according to personal ambition and market conditions.


Despite these freedoms, the profession is not without its challenges. The financial viability of taxi driving depends heavily on local tariff regulations, which must be kept up-to-date to reflect current economic conditions. If tariffs are not adjusted in line with rising living costs and operational expenses, drivers may find themselves needing to work excessively long hours to maintain a basic standard of living.


Taxi driving in the UK offers significant flexibility, making it an attractive option for many. However, success in the industry relies on a careful balance of work hours, operational costs, and local economic conditions. Drivers must of course remain vigilant about their health and safety while navigating the demands of their business, ensuring that the freedom of the profession does not come at the cost of their own wellbeing and the safety of their passengers.

1 Comment


So again Uber makes sure their drivers can't work ridiculous hours and taxi drivers can.

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