The History of Taxis

The History of Taxis

A simple tap of a few buttons on your smartphone and poof, a Lynk taxi will appear in a matter of minutes – but where did the modern day taxi originate?

We have come a long way, but it has not always been like this, so we want to give you a brief history of how the taxi as we know it came about, just to give you an appreciation of where we are today!

The concept of taxis have been around since the 17th century, when horse-drawn carriages first became available for hire in London in 1605. It wasn’t until 1897, however, that we saw the first iteration of the taxicab as we know it today, when the first gas powered taxi with a meter arrived on the scene.

Soon after, full fleets of taxicabs began operating in Paris in 1899, in London in 1903 and in New York in 1907. The New York taxicabs were imported from France by Harry N. Allen who decided to paint his taxicabs yellow to maximise his vehicles’ visibility. With a growing number unofficial taxi drivers taking to the streets and customers being ripped off, the yellow coloured cabs became mandatory by law in New York in 1967.

The 1920s saw the existing automobile companies jump on the bandwagon, with General Motors and Ford buying and operating their first fleets of taxis. The next major development in taxis came in 1940 with the introduction of the two-way radio, which made dispatching taxis a lot more convenient and effective.

The 1950s and 60s saw taxicabs cross into popular culture with the founding of The Checker Taxi, whose unique cabs became iconic all around the world. In the following decades, more changes followed. We saw cities become more environmentally friendly and switch to electric cars, and the deregulation of the taxi industry became a talking point in many countries, including Ireland. It wasn’t until the introduction of mobile apps though, that we saw the next big innovation in the taxi industry, which is where we find ourselves today.

What will be next, self driving taxis? We wouldn’t bet against it.


Image Credit: TIME