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New York City taxi drivers earn some of the highest wages in their occupation, according to labor statistics. Their future earnings may increase as other travel-related sectors grow. However, all taxi drivers have to consider how various job-related expenses affect their wages to determine how much of their pay they actually pocket.
Taxi drivers’ incomes vary widely because their wages partly depend on the number of hours they work and the tips their passengers provide. The mean annual salary for taxi drivers in 2010 was $24,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Drivers' average pay per hour that year was $11.82. However, the location of taxi drivers also has a significant impact on their wages. New York City drivers earned above-average annual pay in 2010 at $30,650, and their average hourly pay was $14.74.
Overall, taxi drivers throughout the state of New York earned less than drivers who worked in New York City in 2010, but they still earned above-average wages. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the average annual pay of New York drivers that year was $28,160, and their average hourly pay was $13.54. The bureau lists Washington, D.C. among the top-paying areas for taxi drivers. Washington, D.C. drivers earned mean annual salaries of $35,290 in 2010, and their average hourly pay came to $16.97 that year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also lists New York among states that have the highest employment levels for taxi drivers. Bureau data show New York employed 13,850 taxi drivers in 2010. Still, job-related expenses affect drivers' actual earnings in New York City and elsewhere. For example, the bureau indicates that drivers usually pay for their taxi's gasoline themselves. Some drivers also pay rent for their vehicles to companies that own a fleet of taxis.
Taxi drivers in New York City and other cities may see an increase in earnings through 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects drivers to get more business as the tourism and business travel sectors grow through that year. The growing senior citizen population in the U.S. also may increase business for taxi drivers as more seniors rely on drivers to transport them around cities. The bureau estimates that the overall employment of taxi drivers and drivers in related occupations will increase 16 percent through 2018, adding about 36,000 jobs to the sector.
2016 Salary Information for Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a median annual salary of $24,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,490, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $30,440, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 305,100 people were employed in the U.S. as taxi drivers and chauffeurs.
Frances Burks has more than 15 years experience in writing positions, including work as a news analyst for executive briefings and as an Associated Press journalist. Burks has banking and business development experience, and she has written numerous articles on consumer issues and home improvement. Burks holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan.