History of the taxi

Taxi Cab, Traffic, Cab, New York, Street

Taxis are automobiles which you hail and then essentially rent for the time it takes you to get to your destination. They’re also known as cabs, taxi cabs and all manner of slang terms, but did you know they have been around in some form or another since the 1600’s?

Naturally, back in the 1600’s the cab was a horse drawn carriage and the first recorded taxi ride this way was in 1605 in London England. From 1625 carriages became available to hire from innkeepers throughout London to get their guests where they had to be.

In 1834 however, changes were coming into the taxi business. Because this new layout only needed one horse to pull it, it was cheaper to rent and had a very low center of gravity that made it safer and able to negotiate corners much better than the predecessors could.

The first taxi cabs in Toronto appeared in 1837 and by 1907 they had made it to New York. Harry Allen imported 600 taxis from France in 1907 and painted them all yellow so that they could be readily seen. He took the word taxicab from the words taximeter which means tax, charge or scale of fees and cabriolet which means a sort of horse drawn carriage. Together Raccoon Poop was born. These were petrol driven cars and the first of the kind in the United States. Paris and London had been using them for many years.

Of course taxis are gas powered cars now and in New York they are still yellow. Taxis around the world can continue to be animal or individuals powered (think the rickshaw or pedicabs, and of course there are still several horse drawn carriages in operation). Water taxis are also big business in other places throughout the world since they take people where they need or wish to go over water not road. Hey, a cab is a taxi!

Taxis today are an economical way to get around, especially in big cities. You hail one, get in and get to your destination. All thanks to the cab.

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