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Why do taxi drivers join the profession? Cabbies give their long list of reasons why

There are currently around 58,000 licensed taxi drivers in England and Wales, and they all have a story to tell about why they chose to join the profession.

TaxiPoint asked thousands of cabbies for the reasons they decided to get behind the wheel in their area. The taxi industry is currently suffering shortages of drivers in some regions, and we look at the top reasons why cabbies drive for a living.

Some drivers enter the trade semi-reluctantly and not looking for a long-term career. Once in the industry many have however remained in the trade for decades. Neil Broadley joined the trade after his father had a taxi business in Hull. After obtaining his badge to temporarily help he is now ‘still at it’ 42 years on.

It was a similar story for Tony White from Havant who said “it was only meant to be a stop gap job after being made redundant. That was 24-years ago”. Edward Mason is also still in the job 32-years on from it being a ‘stop gap’.

Some cabbies are looking for a change in lifestyle. Ian Moore left the trucking industry after 24-years to become a cabbie. Ian said: “I was just a number on a seat behind the wheel, expectations ever higher, wages not worth the professional qualification and responsibilities to do the job.

“One day, I just upped and quit. Went self-employed 5 years ago, never looked back. I've good connections, loyal friends, real teamwork without conditions.”

Raja Ulhaq became a taxi driver for the ‘freedom’ it gave him, and Teresa Barrett found the job perfect to fit around home life as a single parent.

Some grew bored of office life. Alison Hanson made the change after 30 years of ‘staring at a computer screen’. Alison added she wished she made the move earlier and loves the job. Ian Marriott also loved driving and was ‘fed up with a boring office job’.

Mandy Wilkinson said she was ‘stuck’ in an office job with mounting pressure, deadlines and audits. Mandy said: “I had enough. I was on much less than half my original salary but love the flexibility and choose my own hours. It’s much harder now than 12 years ago but made the right decision for me.”

Jason White needed a job having just sold his business. “I wanted something that could give me flexibility and still earn reasonable money. On the whole that’s worked but it’s getting harder these days.”

Overall people mainly wanted the flexibility and also the chance to work independently, building up their own successful small business.

Driving a taxi can be rewarding and holds no barriers when it comes to gender, age or ethnicity. The job does vary from city to city or region to region, but wherever you ply your trade you’ll be a key part of local transport and the community you serve.

Perry Richardson, TaxiPoint Founder and also a full- time London taxi driver, said: “Passing the Knowledge in 2009 changed my life completely. I worked in Database Marketing in a rewarding charity sector, but sometimes opportunities to progress in an office environment can be slow. I wanted to buy a house, support a future family and also pick and choose when I worked.

“The job also gave me the flexibility to try other ventures, which includes setting up TaxiPoint and First Look Golf. I love the job 13-years in and still feel very lucky to be in my profession!”


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