A Day in the Life of a Taxi Driver

Published on: 10 April 2015

If you drive on the roads of South Africa, chances are that you have had a run in with a taxi or, at the very least; you will have noticed the erratic driving behaviour of the taxi drivers in general. Most of us are very quick to blare our hooters, giving the careless driver the finger as we pass them angrily – but how many of us have actually stopped to consider what it would be like to walk a mile in their shoes (or drive a mile or two in their ‘kombi’, if you will)?

Let us take a look at what it is like to experience a day in the life of a South African taxi driver.

How the taxi industry works

There are very few, if any, taxi drivers who are self-employed. Instead, there are a variety of taxi companies in SA, each of which operate in different sectors of the city. These companies employ drivers who are often given a specific quota that they need to meet per week.

Payment of the drivers depends on an array of factors; however, most companies pay their employees using one of the following methods:

  • Fixed Percentage: These drivers have to pay the owner of the taxi company a fixed percentage of each week’s earnings. Whatever is left over, the driver is able to take home.
  • Set Wage: Some drivers are given a set wage. This amount does not change according to the earnings made throughout the week.
  • Wage Plus System: These drivers are given a basic wage, pay a percentage of the weekly earnings to the company owner, and then keep whatever is left over.
  • One Day Earnings: Taxi drivers who are paid this way are only given one day’s earnings per week. The rest of the money earned on the other days of the week is paid, in full, to the owner of the taxi company.

A day in the life…

All taxi drivers have an early start to their day, with some of them arriving at the taxi rank as early as 1 am. This is done in an effort to beat the ‘mad rush’, to ensure that they are as far ahead in the queue of the taxi rank as possible, and to also cater to the needs of those who need transportation in order to be at work between 5-6 am.

The driver begins to work at about 4 am and continues to follow his set route back and forth for the next 14-16 hours. This is due to the fact that most taxi drivers only leave for home at about 8 pm. On top of these insane working hours many of the drivers work all through the week including Saturdays and Sundays!  This is in an effort to make ends meet and to make as much money as they can to support their families. So what is the reason for their dangerous, erratic driving habits? It could be a desperate attempt to transport as many passengers as quickly as possible in order to make as much profit as possible. So, while there really isn’t any excuse for endangering the lives of others on the roads, before we lose our temper, it is important for us all to remember the hardships that most of these taxi drivers are forced to endure day in and day out.

In order to make certain that you are sufficiently covered should you have a run-in with a hurried taxi driver on the roads of South Africa, affordable car insurance is a must. If you would like to learn more or receive a personalised quote for motor insurance, get in touch with MiWay today by visiting

Want an in-depth look at South Africa’s dependence on the Motor Car Industry? Click here