30th March 2023

Private Hire vs Taxi Drivers: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a private hire driver and a taxi driver? There are some important distinctions you should know about before you decide which career path to follow.

This quick comparison looks at different vehicle types, ways of working and earning potential.

London Taxi Driver vs Private Hire Driver

The key difference between a regular taxi or ‘black cab’ drivers and private hire drivers is the type of fare each one can accept.

  • Taxi drivers: May carry out pre-booked journeys, wait on taxi ranks for a fare, or be ‘flagged down’ by a fare on the street.
  • Private hire drivers: May only carry out pre-booked journeys, arranged in advance through a private hire operator.

It’s illegal for a private hire driver to accept a passenger without a prior booking. Doing so will also invalidate the driver’s vehicle insurance during the journey.

Taxis vs Private Hire Vehicles

The type of vehicle a taxi driver uses will also look very distinct from a private hire vehicle. Here’s how taxis and PHVs differ in appearance:

Taxi Private Hire Vehicle
Blue/white licence plate attached to the back of the vehicle Yellow licence plate attached to the back of the vehicle
Blue/white window card in the front windscreen Yellow window card in the front windscreen

Earning Potential for Taxi Drivers vs Private Hire Drivers

While private hire drivers are more restricted in the types of fares they can accept, they have overall better earning potential than taxi drivers. Here’s why:

  • Taxi drivers: The council sets taxi fares, and the driver can’t charge more than the amount showing on the meter at the end of the journey, unless the journey finishes outside of the council area (this should be agreed with the passengers beforehand).
  • Private hire drivers: PHV drivers have more freedom and flexibility to control their earnings, depending on how and when they work. Driving for a private operator often gives drivers access to perks that help them save money and maximise their earnings.

Drivers working with Addison Lee can earn at least the London living wage or more, depending on the hours worked. Average weekly earnings are around £1,000 before vehicle hire.

Find out more about becoming a private hire driver with Addison Lee.

Related Posts