An Inside Look At Amish Taxi Driving

How does Amish taxi driving work? From time to time we get this question from people interested in doing this job as a side business, or full-time gig.

Generally speaking, an Amish taxi driver is simply anyone who is paid to drive the Amish. This typically means either local business trips, visits to family or community events, or on more distant journeys.

Business Insider ran an article on this topic last year, which recently came across my radar. It’s written by Amanda Grossman, who had the job for a short period. It gives a nice level of detail for those curious.

Her father has done the job full-time for over 14 years, with trips taking him around Pennsylvania and other locations in the US and Canada. Amanda helped out part-time one summer.

She describes what the job is like from a financial and logistical perspective, along with some of the side benefits.

First, what does taxi driving look like in practice?

The job is simple: an Amish person, who cannot own a vehicle, calls an Amish Taxi Driver up and asks to be taken to XYZ on X date at X time.

You pick them up, they usually have a bazillion little stops to make (you would too if you knew you didn’t have access to places further than a horse ride away for awhile), and then you take them home. They pay you by the mile, and then they pay you $10/hour waiting time while they shop, make a “visit” (this could mean anything from making house calls to making hospital calls on family, friends, and community members), or see a chiropractor, etc.





How does the money add up? Compared to part-time student work – and assuming you can get out of bed at a rather painful hour – not bad at all:

That summer I made a sweeeeeet $3,000 which was made up of $0.60/mile + $10/hour of waiting time. I’d say my driving days were over after that, but to be honest the gig kind of grew on me.

That next semester my dad scored a market run for me at $120/day. There was only one problem with it: I had to wake up every Saturday at 4:00 a.m. to make the pickups.

The earnings, however, far outweighed the inconvenience of waking up before sunrise, and allowed me to earn what it would take 23.3 hours to earn at my work study job behind the desk. The best federal work study job you could get, btw – the college library at $5.15/hour.

And for someone doing it full-time?

My father currently drives roughly 80,000 miles/year, and his taxable income last year was $33,000. His gross income per month runs around $5,000, or $70,000 a year.

How do you get into taxi driving? One thing I often suggest is getting the word out on message boards in local shops frequented by Amish, which is where you often see little ads from drivers. Once you’re in, the Amish grapevine works like no other. As Amanda’s father explains:

An Amish person called one day and asked me if I had time to take him away. And he would pay me for it. It worked out. And, he happened to tell his brother about it. Word got out, and all of the sudden my phone rang and rang and rang.

The article also discusses other costs and hurdles, such as typical repair costs, gas cost per mile, and insurance and registration requirements.

Finally, there are the interesting parts of the job. Amanda shares several stories. Here are a couple:

Getting to be a fly on the wall to an entirely different culture without having to leave the country is pretty amazing. It’s led to some really cool and sometimes just downright interesting opportunities.

Like the time I took an Amish family to the beach (yes, I saw the Amish in their bathing suits).

Or the time I got to take a family down to their Englishmen friends in Baltimore. This led to driving into D.C. the next day and taking the Amish on their very first metro trip (and from the looks of the passengers, their very first sight at the Amish!).

Amish population growth continues to be strong. And it’s unlikely Amish will accept operating vehicles en masse anytime soon.

So “Amish taxi driver”is a job that will continue to be in demand. From my experience speaking with Amish, a good and reliable taxi driver (they don’t always turn out to be that way) is appreciated.

If you’d like to read more, here are some previous posts:

Debbie the Amish Taxi Driver

Amish Taxi Drivers: Profiling Targets?

Forty Years of Driving the Amish in Lancaster County
Amish van photo: TijsB/flickr

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    29 Comments

    1. Debbie Kuhn

      It's the life...

      I’m a driver in Lancaster County the Amish keep us hopping and we never have a dull moment, lol.

      1. Sounds like you enjoy it Debbie 🙂 I have only ever been a volunteer driver for Amish friends and acquaintances…though I can relate to the article writer’s comment that there are a bazillion little stops to make, but that never bothered me, and I can understand why they’d have a lot of stops to make if you’re not able to just pop out in the car anytime you need something like non-Amish are.

    2. Amish taxi driver near me?

      I live in Belleville Illinois. I’m about 30 miles from St. Louis, mo. Is there any way need for a driver near me or how do I find out more? Thanks

      1. Mary this list is a bit dated (there’s supposed to be a fresh one next year), but you can see all the Amish locations in Illinois and potentially others that might be near you.

        http://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/57700/JAPAS_Donnermeyer_Luthy_vol1-issue2_pp107-129.pdf?sequence=1

    3. Alice Mary

      If only

      If only I lived near enough to an Amish community for it to be worthwhile! I’ve often thought about how interesting it would be to drive the Amish around. Since I’m not likely to move anytime soon, alas, it’ll remain a dream…but I do like to read about the experiences of other Amish Taxi drivers! Thanks for including them, Erik.

      Alice Mary

      1. My pleasure Alice Mary, well apart from doing this job full-time, if you ever have the opportunity to offer a ride to run an errand for an Amish person you’ve gotten to know a little, there’s a decent chance it’ll be accepted 🙂

      2. Nice Lady

        Wish it was as nice as described in Ohio.

        It’s not easy. This article is a few years old, possibly older.
        I think it’s a bit misleading (paywise) sorry, the Amish are thrifty.
        I could say more but choose not to. Good luck.

    4. Terry from Wisc

      A van full pulled up....

      I had stopped in unannounced at Amish friends in the Kingston settlement just to say hi. Shortly after I arrived a 15 passenger van pulled up and when the riders starting filing out, I started counting! It all happened so quickly my mind was spinning! Number 14 got out and that left the driver for #15. I was in the kitchen and the lady of the house stood by the door shaking hands as they came in. They looked at me and I wish I could have snuck out the back door! lol The visitors started grabbing the kitchen chairs as they trotted off to the living room and very shortly they had all found their perspective place to start the visiting process. I chatted with a couple men and said my goodbyes.

      Due to talking to Amish friends and reading the Budget for so many years this visit made perfect sense to me. They, the Amish, get a “load” together, plan the trip and their destinations, call the driver, get picked up and away they go! Depends on the distance as to the pickup time. Often I read 12:00 am as a start time. Well, when you have ?? miles to go with 15 stops to make, it’s a full day! Whew!

      Too bad we traded our Suburban in….it only held 8, so probably too small anyway. Sigh….
      We bought it because we had 4 kids not 14! lol

      Safe in Christ, Terry from Wisc

      1. Full van! Visiting is something like an Amish national pastime 🙂

    5. Jennie

      Taxi Driver for The Amish

      I have been driving for the people in the Amish community in the Belle Center and Rushsylvania areas in Ohio for 4 years now. I really enjoy it and I have made many new friends by doing so. They are wonderful people.

      1. Neat to hear that Jennie, we have often had posts and comments here from a member of the Belle Center community, Mark Curtis, and his late father, Don.

        I had a nice impression of the Belle Center community as well.

      2. Tammy

        Amish taxi driver

        I was wondering if someone could help me in ohio around Adams County. I would like to start driving for the Amish but need maybe a few pointers :). I have years of experience. 🙂 thank u much

      3. want to work driving Amish around

        hello everyone,

        I live in eau claire, wisconsin and I have a full size truck and im willing to take the amish that need a licensed driver to go to appointments, auctions, and other shopping they need to do. If they need to travel into Minnesota I’m willing to help but only to a certain distance into Minnesota unless willing to pay extra for going beyond where my cut off line is that in the state. My truck is a 2001 dodge ram 1500 5.9L so that means it has the biggest engine dodge has and only gets about 15mpg. Might be a female but I’m a very hard worker and not afraid to be put to the limit.

    6. Shari

      Taxie driver

      Thank you, Eric! I truly appreciate you writing about the Amish taxie driver information. Great to see your heart is into your readers.

      Shari

      1. Thank you, Shari! Glad if it’s useful to you 🙂

    7. Debbie

      Driver Debbie

      I have been an Amish driver now for 14 months, best job ever.. I was only driving for 3 months and acquired a job driving school teachers to school everyday and then home in the evening. One hour and ten minutes in the morning same in the evening. Shorter runs in the day and my husband helps out getting the teachers if I do an all day run. I love the Amish and they are so appreciative of my time.

    8. Michelle

      Per person charge

      Hello Erik!
      Thank you for posting this great article. I was wondering, do you charge those rates per person, even though you may be driving 4-6 passengers?

    9. Mark

      Fishing

      The Amish folk here in Maine found out that we share a mutual love of deep sea fishing. I also have a lot of my own gear that They benefit from. They don’t have to twist my arm to hard. I cut them a break on total cost when they hire me to go fish and they pick up my fare for the day.

    10. Connie Poteete

      Very interested

      Have 12yrs over the road experience. Would rather work helping people than just ajob. Would relocate

    11. Driver

      Looking for work to drive the Amish. Have a 15 passenger van

    12. Jim Lehman

      Uber vs Amish Taxi

      In Pennsylvania the government requires registration to be an Amish taxi driver, and the cost is $350 annually. Meanwhile, Uber drivers do not have to have a registration to drive anywhere and anyone they want. This is totally unfair to the Amish taxi drivers.
      This is also discriminatory to the Amish as we have to charge enough to be an Amish taxi driver and pay that registration fee to Pennsylvania.

      1. UBER

        If Pa. is requiring you to pay $350.00 to taxis the Amish and the Amish are allowed to use UBER could you get a UBER license also? Thanks

    13. Kathren Kluemper

      Want to start driving/Need Rate suggestions

      I just moved to Martin County Indiana and would like to drive for the Amish around Daviess County area. I would like to know what the average rate is. Is it best to charge per mile or per hour?
      Also what is the rate per hour if you have to wait for appointments or at stops while they shop…
      What’s the best way to charge for long trips. Anything over 60 miles?
      Thank You for your help.
      Kat Kluemper

    14. Barbara Nelson

      driving Amish in Michigan

      I’m looking for other drivers to find out how they charge. I just started driving and get paid mileage only. Some days I sit for many hours with no pay. Do others charge for down time?

    15. Jeffrey B Stevens

      I would like to become a driver for the Amish n live in Avoca Wisconsin could ya please get me info on who to contact thank you

      Please contact me st Stevens7481@yahoo.com or 608 339 1214 thank you

    16. Jason Crawford

      Please help if you can

      Hello:
      My name is Jason Crawford. I live in Harrison County Missouri. I’m wanting to know how I can become a full time driver for the Amish and even Mennonite communities? I’m very interested in doing this. I’m available for local and out of state trips as well. I just have not been able to find out how to or who to talk to about providing this service. I know there are people who do drive the Amish where I live. I however, have not been able to speak with any of the drivers in this area though. If you have any information on this for me or could possibly put me in contact with someone who could help that would be great. I can be reached by way of phone at ‪920-342-6522‬. Call or text. Thank you.

    17. MARYANNE MORRISSETTE

      Looking to drive for the Amish

      I don’t do a lot besides doctors appointments myself. I have a trans van that seats 12 minus the driver. I live in Logan County, Ohio. Please email me if I could be useful with driving for the Amish. I feel I would enjoy this.

      Respectfully
      MaryAnne

    18. Lynda Vance

      Amish taxi driver

      I love to drive and to me people,and to learn about the Amish

    19. Kristi karels

      Giving rides

      Hello I was just wondering if you can help me I’m in Chippewa County Wisconsin which is Bloomer Wisconsin and I’ll just wondering how can I become a taxi for the hominid to go places if you can if you know please tell me where tell me where do I have to apply or whatever thank you