Hail the Iconic Taxi!

All taxis need to be insured! Check for UK taxi insurance here

Classic and an iconic American image, yellow checkered taxi cabs have sped forth as the predominant picture of modern day busy-city travel. Cemented to memory, this image resonates through the studios of Hollywood, coming forth into many homes around the world as one of the ultimate modes of transportation. The taxi cab however, evolved from much more humble beginnings, gradually developing in to the street savvy instrument of today.

Interestingly, the taxi cab began taking shape in the history pages of Ancient Rome, where taximeters, or technological devices used to determine fare, were employed on horse carts. The taximeter, attached to a cart's axle, released small balls. Upon arrival, the number of balls deployed depicted the amount owed to the driver. Horse drawn Hackney services also began in Paris in 1640, and continued to spread across the globe in large cities such as London, and by the 1800s, Toronto.

The 1890's brought forth the invention of the automobile. This new means of transportation made it's way into the realm of the taxi, eventually leading to a total short of 100 taxis in New York City before the year 1900. However, the electric taxicab found itself to be somewhat impractical, the battery alone weighing in at almost 800 pounds.

By the early 1900's the taxi had again evolved, and the New York Taxicab Company boldly purchased 600 green-and-red paneled french cabs. The car had also transformed from an electric run vehicle to gas-powered. Upkeep on these taxis was fairly easy and rapidly gained popularity throughout the teens. However, at 50 cents per mile, riders were typically wealthy, upper class citizens.

The Checker Cab Company became the largest taxicab service in New York City by the 1920s. With the Great Depression in 1929, cab drivers began reaching for every fare possible in order to survive. Underpaid, cab drivers of New York City went on strike in 1934, and by 1937 the Haas Act was signed, ensuring better paid drivers, better vehicle conditions for both passenger and driver, and a promise that riders could not be overcharged.

A whopping 12,000 taxis were serving New York City by 1950. This would also be another turning point for the taxi service, as the city demanded all taxis be painted yellow, a color easily spotted for those needing to catch a quick ride.

In the 70s and 80s, bulletproof partitions were employed by many cab companies as crimes against drivers skyrocketed. The immigration wave that had once made cab drivers out of Italians, Irish, and Jewish citizens, made South Asian cab drivers by the 90s.

More than 12,100 taxicabs and 40,000 reside within the confines of New York City today. With the evolution of the taxi cab and its services, the SUV and mini-van join the taxi alliance, providing 24-hour travel access to inhabitants. While the taxi continues to evolve, one thing is for certain: the taxicab will continue to take passengers almost anywhere they need to go.


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