Have you ever wondered about the history of the taxi? People have always been willing to pay for services. In the 17th century, people needed a way to get around. People who could afford it, hired a horse-drawn carriage. Click here for more info
The name taxicab came from the word taximeter. It’s the instrument that measures the distance a vehicle travels. The taximeter was invented in Germany in 1891. Gottlieb Daimler built the world’s first official taxi in 1897, the Daimler Victoria.
Automobiles competed with carriages after their invention. However, the first cabs were impractical. They were electric with batteries that weighed eight hundred pounds. The New York Taxicab company started a few years later by importing six hundred cars from France.
When you’re hailing a Taxi in Century City, you probably don’t realize the ride is a part of history. By the 1930’s, U.S. taxis were often Desotos or Packards. General Motors made a specialized taxi, for a few years, named the General.
The Yellow Cab Company is one of the oldest Taxi Services. It was started in 1915 by John Hertz and Walden Shaw. Hertz started the taxi service with surplus used cars from his dealership. Yellow Cab is the oldest and largest continuously operating cab company in this country. Hertz decided yellow was the color that stood out the most. That’s why he made his taxis yellow.
By the 1920’s, many industrialists realized the economic potential of the taxi industry. Most cab fleets were owned by auto manufacturers, but Checker Cab was privately owned. Checker became the most successful taxi company, in the country. The yellow and black checker cabs are an american icon.
With the popularity of taxi cabs, it wasn’t long before regulation of the industry started. There was a big taxi strike in New York City. There were various accounts of bribery and corruption in the industry. New York’s Mayor started the first taxi laws including licensing.
Cabs remain a popular mode of transportation, and a part of american culture. Many fleets use mini vans to pick up passengers. Cabs are featured in books, movies and television shows. One of the most significant industry changes, is that many drivers now own their taxi cabs.