Cab drivers typically work flexible hours and make their own schedules, but many choose to work evenings and weekends. Although drivers usually don't need a high school diploma, they must have a motor vehicle operator's license. Some cities and states also require a special taxi driver's license. Employers usually provide on-the-job training on local laws, street geography and other important aspects of the job. Once working, a taxicab driver typically earns pay that is below the national average for all occupations.
Average Pay Comparison
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2013, the average hourly wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs was $12.12, for an equivalent annual wage of $25,200. By way of comparison, the wage for all occupations nationwide was $22.33 an hour or $46,440 a year. Approximately one-quarter of cab drivers were self-employed as of 2012, the BLS reports. Self-employed drivers often own their taxis and work under contract with a cab company. Drivers hired as employees use company cars.
Range of Cab Driver Pay
The lowest-earning 10 percent of taxi drivers and chauffeurs received $8.24 per hour or less as of 2013, according to the BLS. This is equivalent to a full-time annual income of $17,130. Cab drivers' median wage was $10.98 per hour or $22,840 annually, meaning half earned more and half earned less. The top-earning 10 percent received $17.72 per hour or $36,850 annually. BLS wage data include tips.
Major Industry Wages
The taxi and limousine service industry employed the most cab drivers in 2013, a total of 50,120. These drivers received an average hourly wage of $12.85, or the equivalent of $26,730 annually for full-time work. The BLS category of other transit and ground passenger transportation was the second-largest employer of cab drivers and paid an average of $11.74 per hour or $24,410 annually. This category includes shuttle service drivers and drivers for the handicapped.
Among the states, New York had the most jobs for cab drivers in 2013 and also the highest average pay -- $15.46 per hour and $32,160 annually. Nevada had the second-highest pay of $14.52 hourly, which is equivalent to $30,200 annually full time. Major cities in these states also had the most jobs for taxi drivers. The greater New York City region reported 11,160 jobs and an average hourly wage of $16.06 in 2013. This comes to an average annual income of $33,410. A total of 10,880 drivers in the greater Las Vegas region earned $14.63 per hour on average, the equivalent of $30,420 per year.
The BLS projects a faster-than-average 16 percent increase in jobs for taxi drivers and chauffeurs between 2012 and 2022. As Americans reduce their driving and increase their use of public transportation in general, they'll also take more taxis. The BLS predicts excellent prospects for new cab drivers, especially those with good driving records and the ability to work flexible hours. Fast-growing metropolitan areas will offer the greatest potential for new jobs.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Ougtlook Handbook -- Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 -- Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupationa Employment Statistics -- May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: FAQs -- #15
- Census.gov: 4859 Other Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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