Taxi and Limousine Drivers and Chauffeurs

Unit Group 7413

Skill Type: Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations

Type of work

Taxi and limousine drivers drive automobiles and limousines to transport passengers. Chauffeurs drive automobiles and limousines to transport personnel and visitors of businesses, government or other organizations or members of private households.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • airport limousine driver
  • chauffeur
  • limousine driver
  • taxi driver

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are fair.

(Update: September 2015)

In recent years, the number of taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs increased slightly. Given that the ceiling on the number of taxi permits in circulation will continue to restrict employment growth, the number of taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs should increase only very slightly in the coming years.

Sources of employment

Among taxi drivers, it is important to make a clear distinction between drivers who own their own vehicles and those who rent vehicles. Among drivers who rent vehicles, job opportunities will result primarily from the very high turnover. In fact, a large proportion of drivers who rent vehicles leave this occupation as soon as they find something better. Among drivers who own their vehicles, opportunities will result mainly from drivers retiring. They have invested considerable amounts to obtain their permits and generally hold on to them for a long time. The proportion of drivers aged 55 and over in 2011 was much higher than that of all occupations (42% compared with 18%, according to National Household Survey data). There will be many more job opportunities among drivers who rent vehicles than drivers who own vehicles. There will be a few additional opportunities as a result of employment increase.

Labour pool

Among drivers who own their vehicles, the labour pool consists of people who are interested in making this occupation their career, be they drivers who rent vehicles or, especially in regions where few drivers rent vehicles, anyone else, such as family members of drivers who are retiring.

Among drivers who rent their vehicles, jobs will be available for a much larger labour pool. It consists partly of people who have just lost their jobs or can no longer work at them, others who want to bolster their income or pay for their education, and those who want to re-enter the labour force, or have few other options (such as recent immigrants). In this respect, according to National Household Survey data, in 2011, immigrants held approximately 49% of the jobs in this occupation (compared with 14% for all occupations), ranking it second in this regard among the 520 occupations inventoried in Job Futures Quebec. In the Montreal region, the proportion was 74%, while it was still 28% elsewhere in Quebec. Contrary to widely held public perception, only 18% of immigrants working in this occupation in 2011 held a university degree, compared with 39% among immigrants in all occupations. In all, only 0.4% of immigrant workers with a university degree worked in this occupation in 2011.

Industries

According to National Household Survey data, in 201 approximately 79% of these drivers and chauffeurs worked in the taxi and limousine service. Others worked in large number of different industries, without any specific concentration.

Trends

Employment growth in this occupation depends on the demand for services offered by taxi drivers.

Demand for services offered by taxi drivers

The demand for services offered by taxi drivers is relatively stable for many years. On the one hand, new markets are developing, especially outside the large centres: para-transit services for sick or disabled persons, school transportation, public transit services along routes that do not have enough traffic to be served by buses, parcel transport, etc. Public awareness about drinking and driving also provides a little more work for taxi drivers. Increased tourist trade also brings more work, but primarily on a seasonal basis in the tourist areas. Development of this market will encourage many drivers to take the "Taxi Ambassador" customer reception and service course.

On the other hand, the number of people who own their own vehicles is rising constantly. In Montreal, where close to 40% of members of this occupation resided in 2011, according to National Household Survey data, the growing popularity of cycling, including Bixis, and the development of public transit between the airport and downtown, have also led to a drop in demand for taxi drivers' services. Although transportation services for sick or disabled persons is an attractive new niche for them, with respect to ambulatory care among others, they must nonetheless compete with volunteer services. In short, despite the development of new niches, the number of drivers increase only very slightly.

According to data from the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the number of authorized taxis increased by barely 0.2% per year between 2001 and 2013, and is in fact remained virtually stable between 2006 and 2013. In fact, the Commission de transport du Québec has not issued new taxi permits in many areas, some in over 40 years. In these areas, the only way to obtain a permit is to buy one from a current holder who is willing to sell. According to a study by the Quebec Transport Department, the average value of a taxi permit in 2003-2004 ranged from $6,000 in the Rivière-du-Loup region to approximately $155,000 in the Montreal region. According to the Comité provincial de concertation et de développement de l'industrie du taxi (CPCDIT), the average value of taxi permits continued to rise sharply in Montreal after that, reaching $230,000 in 2007. Given the recent problems, it dropped to about $190,000 in 2015, and is now lower than that of Sherbrooke (over $195,000) and especially than that of Laval (approximately $240,000).

According to CPCDIT, the recent decline in the value of taxi permits in Montreal would be largely or even completely due to illegal competition by UberX and other carpool services that facilitate the supply of transport of persons by individuals who use their personal car. This kind of service of course reduces the demand for services offered by taxi drivers. While this illegal competition has some impact on the demand for services offered by taxi drivers, it is difficult to forecast the extent of this impact in the medium and long terms, as all levels of government said that they did not have the intention to legalize these services and that they will apply the existing laws that ban them.

In the light of these opposing trends, the number of taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs should increase only very slightly in the coming years.

Technological changes

Until recently, very little new technology has been introduced in the taxi industry. This phenomenon is partly due to the labour-intensive nature of this industry, as well as regulations. For example, until recently any equipment requiring the driver to check a screen while driving was prohibited. However, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) has lifted this prohibition recently. Since then, several companies equiped their taxis with global positioning systems (GPS) on their computers. These computers, in addition to making sure that the taxis can be located at all times and helping to determine the best route to a client's destination, could directly connect cars to the central dispatch so drivers who are best positioned will get clients' calls directly, and automatically generate calls to clients to let them know that their taxi is almost there. Faced with competition from UberX and customer complaints, the regulations will be amended so that all drivers accept payment by debit and credit cards. Taxi companies also plan to implement systems that will allow customers to order a taxi car with a cell phone.

Regulations

The Quebec Department of Transport decided to update the regulations governing the taxi industry. Unchanged since 1983, the new regulations came into force in 2002. Although these regulations had little impact on employment growth in this occupation, they did affect people wanting to work in this occupation and how they perform their job. For example, the average age of taxi vehicles was practically halved between 2000 and 2013, from 7.8 years to 4.3 years.

Employment characteristics

According to census and National Household Survey data, women held barely 6% of the jobs in this occupation in 2011, a percentage that has still been rising slightly since 1991 (5%). The annual employment income ($20,667) shown in the "Characteristics" section of the "Statistics" applies only to the 51% of people in this occupation who worked full time and full-year in 2010. The average employment income for those who did not work full time and full-year was $13,369. Nearly all drivers operate as self-employed workers: their pay is the difference between their fares and their expenses. They manage their business and the use of their vehicle to maximize earnings and minimize costs. To do so, they work days, evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Moreover, the average hours worked per week in this occupation was significantly higher in 2006 than in all occupations (44 hours versus 37 hours). Notwithstanding the very difficult working conditions and the people who do this work because they have to, career taxi drivers are jealously attached to their independence and lifestyle.

Education and Training

To work in this trade, you need to have a Class 4C or above driver's permit and obtain a taxi driver's permit. To own a taxi, you need a taxi permit.

In the short term, all new drivers must take minimum training. This training is mandatory to be able to work in Montreal, Quebec City, Laval and Longueuil. People who already work as drivers must take a seven-hour training on transporting people with disabilities.

There are upgrading courses for serving specialized clienteles or improving customer reception and service.

Useful References

Important Considerations

Given that the ceiling on the number of taxi permits in circulation will continue to restrict employment growth, the number of taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs should increase only very slightly in the coming years.

Among drivers who rent vehicles, job opportunities will result primarily from the very high turnover. Among drivers who own their vehicles, opportunities will result mainly from drivers retiring. There will be many more job opportunities among drivers who rent vehicles than drivers who own vehicles.

To work in this occupation, candidates must put in long hours and be satisfied with fairly low wages. Nevertheless, most taxi drivers who have decided to make a career of this occupation appreciate the freedom and lifestyle that this work provides.

Statistics 7413 - Taxi and Limousine Drivers and Chauffeurs

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 8,000 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 100 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 0.2% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 15 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 250 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 265 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 94.1% 51.9%
Females 5.9% 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 1.8% 13.3%
25 - 44 years 25.6% 42.7%
45 - 64 years 56.9% 41.1%
65 years and over 15.6% 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 80.2% 81.2%
Part-time 19.8% 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 50.5% 54.8%
Annual Average Income $20,700 $50,300
$0 - $19,999 61.5% 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 33.2% 48.0%
$50,000 and over 5.3% 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 21.3% 12.1%
High-school 28.8% 20.3%
Post-secondary 39.5% 44.2%
Bachelors 10.5% 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 51.0% 10.7%
Immigration 48.6% 13.7%
Employment by Region
Region Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.4% 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 2.4% 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 8.4% 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 0.8% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 3.2% 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 2.5% 1.6%
Estrie 2.2% 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.5% 0.9%
Lanaudière 3.9% 6.1%
Laurentides 5.5% 7.3%
Laval 10.9% 5.2%
Mauricie 1.3% 3.0%
Montérégie 11.2% 19.2%
Montréal 39.9% 22.9%
Outaouais 4.1% 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 1.8% 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

Sector Unit Group 7413
Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation (Taxi and Limousine Service included) 80.8%
Trade 5.1%