Taxis From Around the World

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Although taxis are common in almost every city around the world, they differ greatly in make, model, color and size.  There are four different types of taxis found around the world: hackney carriages  taxibuses, town cars and limousines.  Hackney carriages are the most commonly recognized type of taxi; it is simply a vehicle available for public hire.  Taxibuses are similar, but generally have a designated route with preset stops.  Town cars are taxis that are privately hired and generally pre-booked, similar to limousines which are privately hired specialized vehicles. Tourists and natives alike depend on these vehicles for easy transportation around cities and towns all over the world.

Below are pictures of taxis from various cities, countries and continents around the world taken from the TaxiFareFinder Pinterest page.

Taxis throughout Asia differ greatly not only from country to country, but city to city as well.  The red and white taxis pictured are mostly seen in Hong Kong, with taxis of various other colors seen in other cities within China.

The city of Bangkok in Thailand is known for its bright multi-colored taxis; the streets are filled with colors during rush hour.  A few countries over, in India, the cabs are a regal black and yellow in the city of Mumbai, but in more rural areas the cabs are small with three wheels and no doors.

The hackney carriages in London, England have become iconic with their elegant black exterior and knowledgeable, friendly drivers.  The taxis throughout other countries are quite standard, differing slightly in color and make, but overall similar in appearance.

Latin America may have the widest array of taxis.  From country to country cab appearances differ substantially, although yellow does seem to be a common factor.  As pictured, the cabs in Chile are van-like whereas in Cuba the taxis are almost cartoon-like with their small, rounded exterior.  In Senegal in Africa, the yellow color is maintained, making it easily recognized.

Finally, yellow four door sedans are the  most common taxi type found in the United States and Canada in North America, as well as in Australia.  This familiar yellow vehicle is the image most associate with a taxi, but as you can see, cabs are almost as diverse as the people around the world who ride in them.


Taxi Facts & Trivia

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TaxiFareFinder has compiled 30 interesting, unbelievable and strange facts about cabs and the taxi industry.  Check out our list below and you will be ready for any taxi trivia questions that come your way!


The Beginning of the Taxi Industry: Taxi Facts
  1. Horse-drawn for-hire services started in Paris and London during the early 1600’s.
  2. The term “taxicab” comes from a combination of taximeter and cabriolet.
  3. Taximeter originated from the Latin word taxa, meaning charge, and cabriolet was a horse-driven carriage used.  Together they form “taxicab.”
  4. The taximeter, an instrument used to measure the distance/time a car has traveled, played a huge role in the development of the taxicab industry.
  5. The world’s first taxi, built in 1897, was named the Daimler Victoria.
  6. The first cabs were battery powered and these electric calls weighed up to 800 pounds.
  7. The United Arab Emirates Taxicab Co was the first taxi company in the United States.
  8. Harry N. Allen, the owner of The United Arab Emirates Taxicab Co, was the first to paint taxis yellow.
  9. Two-way taxi radios were first used in taxis in the 1940’s, this was a huge advance, allowing dispatchers and drivers to communicate more efficiently.

General Taxi Trivia:

  1. There are four forms of taxicabs: hackney carriages, taxibuses, limousines and private hire vehicles.
  2. Taxi fares are calculated according to four elements: tariff rate, initial meter drop, distance traveled and waiting time.
  3. Taxis can be used as courier services to transport important documents and packages.
  4. Cab drivers are often called hacks, this name originates from the London black cabs, known as hackney carriages.
  5. Cab drivers supposedly have an enlarged hippocampus in their brains.
  6. The oldest known taxi driver is 92 years old, 75 years behind the wheel.
  7. Taxis are yellow because it is the most easily seen color from a distance.
  8. NYC Officials ordered that cabs be yellow in 1967 in NYC.
  9. There are about 13,237 taxis in NYC today.


Strange Taxi Facts From Around the World

  1. London taxis were required by law to carry a bale of hay and a stack of oats up until 1976.
  2. London taxi drivers undergo a demanding three-year testing process known as ‘The Knowledge’ before becoming licensed hacks.
  3. It is illegal to hail a taxi in England if you have ‘The Plague.’
  4. In London, it is illegal to transport a rabid dog or corpse.
  5. Illinois state law allows taxi drivers to charge a $50 cleanup fee to any passenger who vomits while riding.
  6. In New York City, Cabbie students attend a 40 hour class to learn geography, etiquette and conversational English to become certified drivers.
  7. In Seattle Washington, a taxi driver is not allowed to wear shorts, sandals, jogging gear or sweatshirts.
  8. In Finland, taxi drivers must pay royalties if they play music in their cars for paying customers.
  9. In the US, there is a law that prohibits taxi drivers from making love in their front seat during their shift.
  10. In Youngstown, Ohio it is illegal to ride on the roof of a cab.
  11. In the US, there is presently a $200 fine for cabbies found using their cell phones.
  12. In the US, ‘nut’ is slang for how much a taxi driver must pay initially to lease a taxi for a given amount of time.

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

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Take a moment to read this excerpt from Kent Nerburn‘s book Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace published by HarperOne.  This touching tale has been widely circulated on the internet, but Kent is the original author of this true story.  “The story is real, my friends. It was a gift of a moment to me, and I hope that by passing it along it is a gift to you, as well.”


The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living.

It was a cowboy’s life, a gambler’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss, constant movement and the thrill of a dice roll every time a new passenger got into the cab.

What I didn’t count on when I took the job was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a rolling confessional. Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total anonymity and tell me of their lives.

We were like strangers on a train, the passengers and I, hurtling through the night, revealing intimacies we would never have dreamed of sharing during the brighter light of day. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and made me weep.

And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.

I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or someone going off to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at the address, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground-floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a short minute, then drive away. Too many bad possibilities awaited a driver who went up to a darkened building at 2:30 in the morning.

But I had seen too many people trapped in a life of poverty who depended on the cab as their only means of transportation.

Unless a situation had a real whiff of danger, I always went to the door to find the passenger. It might, I reasoned, be someone who needs my assistance. Would I not want a driver to do the same if my mother or father had called for a cab?

So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail and elderly voice. I could hear the sound of something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman somewhere in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like you might see in a costume shop or a Goodwill store or in a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The sound had been her dragging it across the floor.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. “I’d like a few moments alone. Then, if you could come back and help me? I’m not very strong.”

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm, and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. Her praise and appreciation were almost embarrassing.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I should go there. He says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to go?” I asked.

For the next two hours we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they had first been married. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she would have me slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. Without waiting for me, they opened the door and began assisting the woman. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her; perhaps she had phoned them right before we left.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase up to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held on to me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

There was nothing more to say.

I squeezed her hand once, then walked out into the dim morning light. Behind me, I could hear the door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I did not pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the remainder of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? What if I had been in a foul mood and had refused to engage the woman in conversation?

How many other moments like that had I missed or failed to grasp?

We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unawares.

When that woman hugged me and said that I had brought her a moment of joy, it was possible to believe that I had been placed on earth for the sole purpose of providing her with that last ride.

I do not think that I have ever done anything in my life that was any more important.