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: April 2013)

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 2006 was much higher than that of all occupations (36% compared with 15%, according to census 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 census data, in 2006, immigrants held approximately 45% of the jobs in this occupation, ranking it third in this regard among the 520 occupations inventoried in Job Futures Quebec (compared with 12% for all occupations). In the Montreal region, the proportion was 61%, while it was only 12% elsewhere in Quebec. Contrary to widely held public perception, only 13% of immigrants working in this occupation in 2006 held a university degree, compared with 34% among immigrants in all occupations. In all, only 0.4% of immigrant workers with a university degree worked in this occupation in 2006.

Industries

According to census data, in 2006 approximately 82% 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 taxi market is relatively stable. 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 40% of members of this occupation resided in 2006, according to census 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 theSociété de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the number of authorized taxis increased by barely 0.3% per year between 2001 and 2009, and is in fact remained virtually stable between 2006 and 2009. In fact, the Commission de transport du Québec has not issuee 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, 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 little more than $180,000 in 2011, according to theCommission des transports du Québec, and is now lower than that of Laval (approximately $240,000). Permits issued after November 2000 are only valid for five years and may not be renewed or transferred. However, permits issued before that date, that is the vast majority of permits currently in use, can be the subject of transactions between individuals. Even if they are only valid for one year, these permits are in fact renewable almost automatically.

Most drivers who are starting out will rent a vehicle from an owner who has several permits. Rentals can be by the week or month, or even by the day or half-day. The drivers must then work long hours to cover the rental charge and fuel expenses.

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, theSociété 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.

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. The main changes introduced by these regulations concern:

  • the creation of the Association professionnelle des chauffeurs de taxi du Québec
  • authority to define the areas served by taxis was conferred on the Commission des transports de Québec.

  • the renewal of vehicles: new vehicles may not be older than five years and vehicles in use may not be older than 10 years.

  • the provision of a subsidy to adapt taxis intended for transporting people in wheelchairs
  • the addition of a training requirement for new drivers (see Training)
  • new requirements governing the size of vehicles, and cleanliness and mechanical inspection standards.

  • a new tax credit for permit holders and for owners

Although these regulations have little impact on employment growth in this occupation, they do 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 2009, from 7.8 years to 4.4 years.

Employment characteristics

According to census data, women held barely 7% of the jobs in this occupation in 2006, a percentage that has still been rising slightly since 1991 (5%). The annual employment income ($17,671) shown in the "Characteristics" section of the "Statistics" applies only to the 48% of people in this occupation who worked full time and full-year in 2000. The average employment income for those who did not work full time and full-year was $11,895. 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. 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

Main Labour Market Indicators Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Employment, average 2009-2011 8,650 3,905,700
EI Claimants in 2011 150 92,650
Average Annual Growth Rate 2012-2016 0.2% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2012-2016 15 27,050
Annual Attrition 2012-2016 250 72,750
Total Annual Needs 2012-2016 265 99,800

Employment Distribution by Gender

Employment Distribution by Gender Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Males 92.9% 52.7%
Females 7.1% 47.3%

Employment Distribution by Age

Employment Distribution by Age Unit Group 7413 All occupations
15 - 24 years 1.6% 14.1%
25 - 44 years 32.4% 45.1%
45 - 64 years 57.5% 38.8%
65 years and over 8.5% 2.0%

Employment Distribution by Status

Employment Distribution by Status Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Full-time 79.9% 79.2%
Part-time 20.1% 20.8%

Average Annual Employment Income

Average Annual Employment Income
(Full-Time, Full-Year)
Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Full-time, full-year 47.5% 53.2%
Average income 17,671 45,157
0-19999$ 69.4% 16.5%
20000-49999$ 25.8% 52.4%
50000$ and over 4.8% 31.1%

Employment Distribution by Highest Level of Schooling

Employment Distribution by
Highest Level of Schooling
Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Less than high-school 25.3% 14.1%
High-school 28.2% 21.9%
Post-secondary 39.1% 43.1%
Bachelors 7.4% 20.9%

Employment Distribution by Region

Employment Distribution by Region Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.6% 1.8%
Bas-St-Laurent 1.6% 2.5%
Capitale-Nationale 7.7% 9.1%
Centre-du-Québec 0.8% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 3.6% 5.4%
Côte-Nord-Nord du Québec 2.1% 1.7%
Estrie 1.8% 3.9%
Gaspésie-îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.7% 1.1%
Lanaudière 3.3% 5.8%
Laurentides 4.5% 7.0%
Laval 11.6% 5.0%
Mauricie 1.6% 3.1%
Montérégie 11.8% 18.7%
Montréal 40.9% 24.1%
Outaouais 4.7% 4.7%
Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean 1.6% 3.3%

Self-employment

Employment Distribution Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Self-employment 50.2% 11.2%

Immigration

Employment Distribution Unit Group 7413 All occupations
Immigration 45.0% 12.2%

Main Areas of Employment

Main Areas of Employment Percentage
Transportation and Warehousing 84.8%
- Taxi and Limousine Service 81.6%