Are Taxi Drivers Blue Collar Jobs?

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated December 17th, 2023

Taxi drivers are in big cities all over the country and play a role in helping locals and travelers get around.

But, are taxi drivers blue-collar workers like many think?

Yes, working as a taxi driver is a blue collar job. There is more manual labor than most think and the physical requirements make it a very “taxing” job on the body.

Let’s talk a little more about why driving a taxi is blue collar work.

Understanding Blue Collar Jobs

Blue collar jobs are typically defined as manual labor jobs that require physical work, such as manufacturing, construction, and transportation.

These jobs usually involve working with your hands, using tools or machinery, and require a certain level of skill and training. Blue collar workers are often seen as the backbone of the working class, performing jobs that are essential to the economy and society.

How The Taxi Industry Is Blue Collar

Taxi drivers engage in physical work every day, which is why it is part of the blue collar classification.

Some of the physical demands include:

  • Loading and unloading luggage
  • Assisting passengers with mobility issues
  • Driving for long hours
  • Stress related to traffic and difficult passenger threats
  • Maintenance of vehicles including filling gas, checking tires and engine etc.

Taxi drivers do not require a college degree or specialized training, which is another characteristic of blue-collar work.

Pros and Cons of Being a Blue Collar Taxi Driver

There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a blue-collar taxi driver.

Some of the pros include:

  • Hourly pay: Taxi drivers are typically paid hourly, which means they are guaranteed a certain amount of income regardless of how many fares they pick up.
  • Flexibility: Many taxi drivers have the ability to set their own schedules, which can be a benefit for those who need to work around other commitments.
  • Job security: As long as there is a demand for taxi services in a given area, there will be a need for taxi drivers.

However, there are also some cons to being a blue-collar taxi driver, such as:

  • Physical demands: Taxi driving can be physically demanding, especially for those who work long hours or drive in busy areas.
  • Safety concerns: Taxi drivers may be at risk for violence or robbery, especially when working late at night or in high-crime areas.
  • Income variability: While taxi drivers are paid hourly, their income can vary depending on the number of fares they pick up and the amount of tips they receive.

Overall, taxi driving is often considered a blue-collar job due to its physical demands and hourly pay. While there are pros and cons to this type of work, it can be a viable option for those seeking employment in the blue-collar sector.

Taxi Driving as a Profession

Taxi driving has been a profession for over a century. It is often considered a blue-collar job, as it involves manual labor and does not require a college degree.

Taxi drivers are responsible for transporting passengers from one location to another, and they must have a valid driver’s license and a good driving record. In New York City, taxi drivers are required to pass a rigorous test called the “Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Exam” before they can legally drive a taxi.

While some people view taxi driving as a temporary job or a last resort, others see it as a long-term career. Many choose to go into another blue collar career as a trucker which can bring more opportunity and higher wages.

Many taxi drivers enjoy the flexibility of being their own boss and setting their own hours, while others appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and explore the city.

Exploring A Career As A Taxi Driver

It is probably a career that not many would choose to go into due to the stigma and challenges. Many people who do driving now work as a contractor for companies like Uber or Lyft.

Tax drivers can have very large expenses depending on the city they work in, with medallions costing several hundred thousand dollars.

It makes it a challenging job to get into.

Below is a general guide to becoming a taxi driver if it is something you are looking into.

GED and High School Diploma

To become a taxi driver, a GED or high school diploma is usually required. This educational requirement is necessary for many reasons, including the ability to read and understand maps and directions, communicate effectively with passengers, and handle financial transactions.

Driving License

In addition to a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license is required to become a taxi driver. This license must be obtained from the state in which the driver wishes to work. To obtain a driver’s license, a driver must pass both a written and a driving test.

The written test typically covers traffic laws and regulations, while the driving test evaluates the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Vocational Training

While vocational training is not required, taking a driving course and related classes can be very helpful. Working as an apprentice for a taxi company can also help you maximize your value to an employer.

Related: Blue Collar Celebrities

The Future of Taxi Driving

As technology advances, the future of taxi driving is uncertain.

While some may argue that taxi driving is a blue-collar job, others believe that advancements in technology may lead to a shift towards white-collar jobs.

Impact of Technology

The rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft has already brought significant changes to the taxi industry. These apps have made it easier for passengers to find rides and have increased competition among drivers. However, the use of technology in the taxi industry is not limited to ride-sharing apps.

The development of autonomous vehicles has the potential to revolutionize the transportation industry, including the taxi industry. While some experts predict that autonomous taxis could lead to job loss for human drivers, others argue that it could create new jobs in the development and maintenance of these vehicles.

Shift Towards White Collar Jobs

As technology continues to advance, there may be a shift towards white-collar jobs in the taxi industry. This will then be a showdown of whether the job will be white or blue collar.

For example, the development and maintenance of autonomous vehicles would require workers with specialized technical skills, such as computer programmers and engineers.

Furthermore, the use of technology could lead to a shift towards more desk-based jobs, such as dispatchers and customer service representatives. These jobs would require workers with strong communication and organizational skills.

Overall, the future of taxi driving is uncertain. However, it is clear that technology will play a significant role in shaping the industry. As the industry evolves, it is likely that there will be a shift towards more white-collar jobs and a greater emphasis on technology.

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.