Before mobile taxi app bookings and widespread card payments in the back of black cabs, a significant amount of a cabbie's turnover used to be cash. That’s all changed now.
So how much of a cash float is now needed to run a shift in the cab? In all honesty… not a lot! When I first started back in 2009 I would be visiting banks on a regular basis paying in takings and asking for top-up change for the week’s float. Usually £1 coins and £5 notes were the most scarce.
Fast forward to now and many cabbies will struggle to think of the last time their float needed replenishing with coins.
During the high tourism season cabbies might carry more cash on their person to cover bigger notes presented. Due to smaller floats being carried, now a £50 note can literally obliterate a cabbie's change stockpile.
Taxi vehicles also used to be targeted by criminals hoping to find stockpiles of cash. Back a decade ago, thieves may have got lucky if a cabbie left their money bag behind by mistake. Now, cabbies carry so little in change, and also take a slither of their income via cash, criminals have eased off targeting taxis.
For many in the taxi industry, cash still remains king and their preferred method of payment. They however have little in say in what is presented to them by customers using their services.
In the age of digital payments, taxi drivers have faced mounting costs associated with card transactions.
Drivers in some cases are being charged around 3.75% in fees for accepting card payments. While this may seem like a small amount per individual fare, it adds up significantly over the course of a year, with some cabbies paying over £2,000 in processing fees annually.
Furthermore, cash payments can provide drivers with immediate access to funds, which can serve as a vital lifeline for covering bills and managing high living expenses. In contrast, card payments often take longer to clear, causing additional financial planning for drivers who are already facing tight budgets during the cost of living crisis.
So with all this in mind, I usually aim to carry the following in my float:
3x £10 notes
6x £5 notes
10x £1 coins.
The other coin denominations carried are hardly worth counting.
This may change slightly from cabbie to cabbie. I could quite easily get away with carrying half of what I do on daily basis, however I prefer to be more prepared than not.
In some regions around the UK, cash remains more prevalent so expect the change carried to be slightly higher. What is for sure is the sums of money carried around a decade ago are long gone.