You are currently viewing My Cab, my rules!…No, not quite.

My Cab, my rules!…No, not quite.

Being a cab driver is great

The freedom of the (sort of) open road. The flexibility to choose when to go to work. Being your own boss. It’s a major reason people tell us they are entering the trade and long may it continue. However, the ‘my cab, my rules’ view of things we sometimes come across, especially when we are talking about customer service, isn’t exactly how it works. If you are thinking about driving a cab, or you already drive a cab, there are lots of rules that apply to your business. And not surprisingly, you don’t get to pick when to follow them and when to ignore them. It is so important to know the rules because, as far too many professional drivers find out to their cost, ignorance of the law is never a successful defence.

Shouldn’t the licensing team tell me the laws?

Hopefully they will. But if they don’t, it is your job to find out. Most drivers are self employed or single owner businesses. It’s very rare these days to find a hackney driver employed on a wage to drive another owner’s vehicle. It’s slightly more common to find an employed private hire driver, but the majority are self-employed. If you are running any business, it is up to you to understand the rules of that business. It is no-one else’s job to run your business for you is it?

Okay. What laws are we talking about then?

Well, firstly there are national (or regional in the case of London and Plymouth) licensing regulations. These cover key issues such as who is allowed to ply for hire and who can operate a private hire vehicle, along with some other things like wearing your drivers badge when at work and reporting accidents to the local authority. Next you have local licensing conditions. What type of vehicle can you use? Does it have to have doors signs or a fire extinguisher in your area? What qualifications do drivers need?

You also have hackney carriage byelaws in many areas. These list separate criminal offences covering things like how the meter should be used and when not to queue on a full taxi rank.

Wait! There’s more…

So far, so much law. But it doesn’t stop there! Oh no. These are just taxi and private hire regulations.  What about road traffic laws, the Highway Code, laws on mobile phone usage, the Equality Act 2010, the Data Protection Act and GDPR, the Health and Safety at Work Act? And there are others, but that is quite enough for now.

The fact is, driving a cab is probably one the most, if not, the most highly regulated single owner/operator business there is. Did you know that when you signed up? Was that a part of your consideration when choosing to run your own business?

Well, if it wasn’t it ought to have been.  Drivers are rightly proud of the fact that they run their own businesses. Anyone who takes that risk and steps out on their own deserves huge credit. It’s not easy. It can be (and often is) stressful. As anyone who has tried to run a business knows, it is hard work to win new customers and there is plenty of competition out there. The admin alone is a nightmare. But following the rules will also help you to provide the best customer experience and, if you look after existing customers, they will come back to you time and time again.

On balance, is it worth it?

Absolutely. There is simply nothing like being your own boss. For all of the difficulties, that alone makes it worthwhile. Don’t listen to the ‘doom and gloomers’. If it was that bad, they wouldn’t be out there would they? But please, do go in prepared. Go in knowing everything you need to know, and if you don’t know, ask an expert. You cannot start a business, invest all that time and money, find out something you don’t like, and then plead ignorance or say it’s not fair. It is fair. It is all written down and available to read when you sign up for your licence. Providing you do your research, there is nothing to worry about.

Unified Transport Systems

Unified Transport Systems work to connect public and private sector service providers to create the transport systems of the future. A truly Unified network will create opportunity, ensure well-being and allow everyone to travel easily, safely and at a fair price.

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