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Career and Education Opportunities for Taxi Drivers in Chicago, Illinois

Taxi driver career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, 5,850 people work as taxi drivers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 15% to about 6,710 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for taxi drivers, which sees this job pool growing by about 15.5% over the next eight years. In general, taxi drivers drive automobiles, vans, or limousines to transport passengers.

Taxi drivers earn about $10 per hour or $22,130 yearly on average in Illinois and about $10 per hour or $21,550 annually on average nationally. Earnings for taxi drivers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Small Vehicle in Illinois and not quite as good as general Small Vehicle category earnings nationally.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a taxi driver. Taxi drivers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a taxi driver if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, taxi drivers drive automobiles, vans, or limousines to transport passengers. They also may occasionally carry cargo.

Taxi drivers test vehicle equipment such as lights or windshield wipers, to insure proper operation. They also notify dispatchers or company mechanics of vehicle problems. Equally important, taxi drivers have to communicate with dispatchers by radio or computer to provide data and receive requests for passenger service. They are often called upon to furnish passengers with assistance entering and exiting vehicles, and help them with any luggage. They are expected to perform routine vehicle maintenance such as regulating tire pressure and adding gasoline, oil, and water. Finally, taxi drivers vacuum and clean interiors, and wash and polish exteriors of automobiles.

Every day, taxi drivers are expected to be able to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they quickly make decisions and take actions based upon external signs and signals.

It is important for taxi drivers to complete accident reports when needed. They are often called upon to follow regulations governing taxi operation and insure that passengers follow safety regulations. They also record name and taxi identification data on trip sheets, along with trip data such as time and place of pickup and drop-off, and total fee. They are sometimes expected to arrange to pick up particular patrons or groups on a regular schedule. Somewhat less frequently, taxi drivers are also expected to decide on fares on the basis of trip distances and times, using taximeters and fee schedules, and announce fares to passengers.

Taxi drivers sometimes are asked to turn the taximeter on when passengers enter the cab, and turn it off when they reach the final destination. and perform minor vehicle repairs such as cleaning spark plugs, or take vehicles to mechanics for servicing. And finally, they sometimes have to pick up or meet employers in line with requests or schedules.

Like many other jobs, taxi drivers must be reliable and believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Bus Driver. Drive bus or motor coach, including regular route operations, charters, and private carriage. May assist passengers with baggage. May collect fares or tickets.
  • Delivery Driver. Drive a truck or van with a capacity of under 26,000 GVW, primarily to deliver or pick up merchandise or to deliver packages within a specified area. May require use of automatic routing or location software. May load and unload truck.
  • Paramedic. Drive ambulance or assist ambulance driver in transporting sick, injured, or convalescent persons. Assist in lifting patients.
  • School Bus Driver. Transport students or special clients.
  • Subway Train Operator. Operate subway or elevated suburban train with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar to transport passengers. May handle fares.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Taxi Driver Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 3,183 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Hickory Hills, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 7701 West 95th St, Hickory Hills, IL 60457. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Hickory Hills, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 53 students and an admission rate of 74%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 204 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Bensenville, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 710 Larsen Ln, Bensenville, IL 60106. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Bensenville, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 38 students and an admission rate of 82%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 332 students in 2008.

LICENSES

LIMOUSINE DRIVER

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

SHUTTLE BUS DRIVER

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.