A TAXICAB, also known as a TAXI or a CAB, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice. This differs from other modes of public transport where the pick-up and drop-off locations are determined by the service provider, not by the passenger, although demand responsive transport and share taxis provide a hybrid bus/taxi mode.
There are four distinct forms of taxicab, which can be identified by slightly differing terms in different countries:
* Hackney carriages , also known as public hire , hailed or street taxis, licensed for hailing throughout communities * Private hire vehicles, also known as minicabs or private hire taxis, licensed for pre-booking only * Taxibuses , also come many variations throughout the developing countries as jitneys or jeepney , operating on pre-set routes typified by multiple stops and multiple independent passengers * Limousines , specialized vehicle licensed for operation by pre-booking
Although types of vehicles and methods of regulation, hiring, dispatching, and negotiating payment differ significantly from country to country, many common characteristics exist.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Hackney carriages * 2.2 Hansoms * 2.3 Modern taxicabs * 2.4 As military and emergency transport
* 3 Vehicles
* 3.1 Wheelchair-accessible taxicabs * 3.2 Other
* 4 Livery
* 5 Hiring
* 5.1 Dispatching
* 7 Environmental concerns
* 7.1 Alternative energy and propulsion
* 8 International trade association * 9 Occupational hazards
* 10 Regulation
* 10.1 Support of deregulation
* 10.2 Opposition to deregulation * 10.3 Results of deregulation in specific localities
* 11 See also * 12 Bibliography * 13 References * 14 External links
Harry Nathaniel Allen of The New
An alternative, folk-etymology holds that it was named for Franz von Taxis, a 16th-century postmaster for Philip of Burgundy, and his nephew Johann Baptiste von Taxis, General Postmaster for the Holy Roman Empire. Both instituted fast and reliable postal services (conveying letters not people) across Europe.
The taxicabs of
17th century hackney coaches in Sir Walter Gilbey 's Early Carriages and Roads (1903)
Horse-drawn for-hire hackney carriage services began operating in
A similar service was started by Nicolas Sauvage in
Drawing of a hansom cab
The hansom cab was designed and patented in 1834 by
Joseph Hansom ,
an architect from
These soon replaced the hackney carriage as a vehicle for hire . They
quickly spread to other cities in the United Kingdom, as well as
continental European cities, particularly
1897 Daimler Victoria was the first gasoline-powered taxicab
Electric battery-powered taxis became available at the end of the
19th century. In London, Walter C. Bersey designed a fleet of such
cabs and introduced them to the streets of
The modern taximeter was invented and perfected by a trio of German
inventors; Wilhelm Friedrich Nedler, Ferdinand Dencker and Friedrich
Wilhelm Gustav Bruhn . The Daimler Victoria—the world's first
gasoline-powered taximeter-cab—was built by
Gottlieb Daimler in 1897
and began operating in
Taxicabs proliferated around the world in the early 20th century. The first major innovation after the invention of the taximeter occurred in the late 1940s, when two-way radios first appeared in taxicabs. Radios enabled taxicabs and dispatch offices to communicate and serve customers more efficiently than previous methods, such as using callboxes . The next major innovation occurred in the 1980s, when computer assisted dispatching was first introduced.
AS MILITARY AND EMERGENCY TRANSPORT
The Birmingham pub bombings on 21 November 1974, which killed 21 people and injured 182, presented emergency services with unprecedented peace time demands. According to eye witness accounts, the fire officer in charge, knowing the 40 ambulances he requested were unlikely to be available, requested the Taxi Owners Association to transport the injured to the nearby Birmingham Accident Hospital and Birmingham General Hospital .
Taxi services are typically provided by automobiles , but in other
countries various human-powered vehicles , (such as the rickshaw or
pedicab ) and animal-powered vehicles (such as the
Hansom cab ) or
even boats (such as water taxies or gondolas ) are also used or have
been used historically. In Western Europe,
A wheelchair-adapted taxi in
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In recent years, some companies have been adding specially modified vehicles capable of transporting wheelchair -using passengers to their fleets. Such taxicabs are variously called accessible taxis, wheelchair- or wheelchair-accessible taxicabs, modified taxicabs, and so on.
Wheelchair taxicabs are most often specially modified vans or minivans . Wheelchair-using passengers are loaded, with the help of the driver, via a lift or, more commonly, a ramp, at the rear of the vehicle. This feature is however a subject for concern amongst Licensing Authorities who feel that the wheelchair passenger could not easily exit the vehicle in the event of accident damage to the rear door. The latest generation of accessible taxis features side loading with emergency egress possible from either of the 2 side doors as well as the rear. The wheelchair is secured using various systems, commonly including some type of belt and clip combination, or wheel locks. Some wheelchair taxicabs are capable of transporting only one wheelchair-using passenger at a time, and can usually accommodate 4 to 6 additional able-bodied passengers.
Wheelchair taxicabs are part of the regular fleet in most cases, and so are not reserved exclusively for the use of wheelchair users. They are often used by able-bodied people who need to transport luggage, small items of furniture, animals, and other items. Because of this, and since only a small percentage of the average fleet is modified, wheelchair users must often wait for significantly longer periods when calling for a cab, and flagging a modified taxicab on the street is much more difficult.
These particular taxicabs have developed their own special names such as, 'Maxicabs'.
Taxicabs in less developed places can be a completely different
experience, such as the antique French cars typically found in
Recently, with growing concern for the environment, there have been solar powered taxicabs. On April 20, 2008, a "solar taxi tour" was launched that aimed to tour 15 countries in 18 months in a solar taxi that can reach speeds of 90 km/h with zero emission. The aim of the tour was to spread knowledge about environmental protection.
Main article: Livery of taxicabs worldwide
Most places allow a taxi to be "hailed" or "flagged" on the side of the street as it is approaching. Another option is a taxi stand (sometimes also called a "cab stand," "hack stand," "taxi rank," or "cab rank"). Taxi stands are usually located at airports, railway stations, major retail areas (malls), hotels and other places where a large number of passengers are likely to be found. In some places—Japan, for example—taxi stands are arranged according to the size of the taxis, so that large- and small-capacity cabs line up separately. The taxi at the front of the line is due (barring unusual circumstances) for the next fare. In the United States, a NUT is industry slang for the amount of money a driver has to pay upfront to lease a taxi for a specific period of time. Once that amount is collected in fare, the driver then begins to make a profit. A driver "on the nut" is trying to earn back the initial cost. This varies from city to city though, in Las Vegas, Nevada , all taxicabs are owned and operated by the companies and all drivers are employees (hence no initial cost and earn a percentage of each fare). So "on the nut" simply means to be next in a taxi stand to receive a passenger.
Passengers also commonly call a central dispatch office for taxis. In some jurisdictions private hire vehicles can only be hired from the dispatch office, and must be assigned each fare by the office by radio or phone. Picking up passengers off the street in these areas can lead to suspension or revocation of the driver's taxi license, or even prosecution.
A recent method for ordering a taxi is through a "Push Device." This method can be seen with devices such as the Taxi Butler and the Taxi Button. This new approach has created a shortcut to getting a Taxi for consumers, with the push of a button. The push generates an order in the dispatch system and sends out a car to the location of the button push.
Other areas may have a mix of the two systems, where drivers may respond to radio calls and also pick up street fares.
The newest method to hire is use
E-hailing which passengers hire the
taxi use its mobile device directly to the one of taxi cabs appear in
the screen without involve the call center, but the headquarter
certainly can monitor all its taxis by
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In this scene from It\'s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World , a yellow
cab driver, played by
Peter Falk , contacts his dispatch through a
callbox on the street. Two-way radio communication hadn't become a
standard by the time the film was made in the early 1960s.
Taxis waiting for customers in
The activity of taxi fleets is usually monitored and controlled by a central office, which provides dispatching , accounting, and human resources services to one or more taxi companies. Taxi owners and drivers usually communicate with the dispatch office through either a 2-way radio or a computer terminal (called a mobile data terminal ). Before the innovation of radio dispatch in the 1950s, taxi drivers would use a callbox —a special telephone at a taxi stand—to contact the dispatch office.
When a customer calls for a taxi, a trip is dispatched by either
radio or computer, via an in-vehicle mobile data terminal , to the
most suitable cab. The most suitable cab may either be the one closest
to the pick-up address (often determined by
In offices using radio dispatch, taxi locations are often tracked using magnetic pegs on a "board"—a metal sheet with an engraved map of taxi zones. In computerized dispatch, the status of taxis is tracked by the computer system.
Taxi frequencies are generally licensed in duplex pairs. One frequency is used for the dispatcher to talk to the cabs, and a second frequency is used to the cabs to talk back. This means that the drivers generally cannot talk to each other. Some cabs have a CB radio in addition to the company radio so they can speak to each other.
In the United States, there is a
Some companies don't operate their own radio system and instead
subscribe to an Specialized Mobile
In many countries however, the influence of mobile telecom operators through 8294 premium short code or alikes, which direct millions of mobile calls to the TAXI companies contracted (as 126.96.36.199 shortcode means T.A.X.I on any mobile phone worldwide), do influence the business trends when hailing for a TAXI, already impacted initially by the emergence of large radio dispatching private or virtual networks. Also independent taxi owners, as well as TAXI companies started in response to advertise long vanity phone numbers including 8294 number as vanity code for TAXI, for customer easy remembering of their commercial line when in need for a TAXI. Because of the overwhelming possession and use of mobile phone, the battle has moved to smartphone related marketing and mobile services CRM for taxi, through mobile universal directories of TAXI details, available worldwide on any mobile phone downtown or at the airport, as mobile directories such as www.8294.tel alternatively to yellow pages paper book edition, and also in competition with the launch of multiple mobile apps offering location services, taxis fare calculation, as well as direct call to TAXIs contracted by app editor. The ongoing trend of mobile usage is reshaping progressively the taxi business initially born as a nearly fixed infrastructure business regulated and ruled by City Halls.
Taxi dispatch is evolving in connection to the telecom sector with the advent of smart-phones. In some countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and USA smartphone applications are emerging that connect taxi drivers directly with passengers for the purpose of dispatching taxi jobs, launching new battles for the marketing of such apps over the potential mass of Taxi users.
Taxi Fares are set by the State and City where they are permitted to operate. The fare includes the 'drop', a set amount that is tallied for getting into the taxi plus the 'per mile' rate as has been set by the City. The taxi meters track time as well as miles in a typical taxi fare.
Most experienced taxi drivers who have been working in the same city
or region for a while would be expected to know the most important
streets and places where their customers request to go. However, to
aid the process of manual navigation and the taxi driver's memory (and
the customer's as well at times) a cab driver is usually equipped with
a detailed roadmap of the area in which they work. There is also an
increasing use of
In London, despite the complex and haphazard road layout, such aids have only recently been employed by a small number of 'black cab' taxi (as opposed to minicab) drivers. Instead, they are required to undergo a demanding process of learning and testing called The Knowledge . This typically takes around three years and equips them with a detailed command of 25,000 streets within central London, major routes outside this area, and all buildings and other destinations to which passengers may ask to be taken.
Taxicabs have been both criticized for creating pollution and also praised as an environmentally responsible alternative to private car use.
The results, published in the journal Atmospheric Environment in January 2006, showed that the level of pollution that people are exposed to differs according to the mode of transport that they use. The most risky method of transport was the back seat of a taxicab, followed by travelling by bus, cycling, walking, with a private car exposing people to the lowest amount of pollution.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY AND PROPULSION
Hybrid taxi and
In Australia, nearly all taxis run on LPG , as well as the growing
fleet of hybrids .
San Francisco became in 2005 one of the first cities to introduce hybrids for taxi service, with a fleet of 15 Ford Escape Hybrids , and by 2009 the original Escape Hybrids were retired after 300,000 miles per vehicle. In 2007 the city approved the Clean Air Taxi Grant Program in order to encourage cab companies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles , by providing incentives of USD2,000 per new alternative fuel vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis. Out of a total of 1,378 eligible vehicles (wheelchair-accessible taxi-vans are excluded) 788 are alternative fuel vehicles, representing 57% of the San Francisco's taxicab fleet by March 2010. Gasoline-electric hybrids accounted for 657 green taxis and compressed natural gas vehicles for 131.
As of mid-2009
New York City
In Japan, electric taxicabs are becoming increasingly popular. In
2009, battery-swap company
Hybrid taxis are becoming more and more common in Canada, with all
new taxis in
Other cities where taxi service is available with hybrid vehicles
include Tokyo, London, Sydney, Rome and Singapore.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ASSOCIATION
However, there appears to be a consensus that taxi deregulation has been less impressive than advocates had hoped. Possible reasons include overestimation of what deregulation could deliver and insufficiently thorough deregulation
Deregulation advocates may claim that the taxi service level increases most in the poorest sections of the city. The effect is highest in peak hours and bad weather, when the demand is highest.
Deregulation advocates also may claim that, in a deregulated environment:
* black market taxis become legal, possibly eliminating their problems, * cities save money, as they do not have to plan and enforce regulation.
In nearly all deregulating cities the number of taxis increased, more people were employed as drivers, and deregulation advocates claim needs were better satisfied.
Existing taxi companies may try to limit competition by potential new
entrants. For example, in
New York City
Taxi deregulation proponents claims that immigrants and other poor minorities suffer most from taxi regulation, because the work requires relatively little education. Regulation makes entrance to the taxi business particularly difficult for them. The elderly, disabled, housewives and poor use taxis more often than others.
According to Moore and Rose, it is better to address potential problems of deregulation directly instead of regulating the number of taxi licences. For example, if the regulators want to increase safety, they should make safety statutes or publish a public list of safe taxi operators.
Also, proponents of deregulation claim that if officials want to regulate prices they should standardize the measures rather than command prices . For example, they may require that any distance tariffs are set for the first 1/5 miles and then for every subsequent 1/3 miles, to make it easier to compare the prices of different taxis. They should not prohibit other pricing than distance pricing. Deregulation advocates claim that regulators only have a very limited information on the market.
Some deregulation proponents are less opposed to airport taxi regulation than to regulation of other taxi services. They argue that if an airport regulates prices for taxis in its taxi queues, such regulation has fewer disadvantages than citywide regulation. An airport may determine prices or organize different queues for taxi services of different qualities and prices. It can be argued whether rules set by the owner of an airport are regulation or just a business model.
Partial Deregulation As A Failure
Proponents of deregulation argue that partial deregulation is the cause of many cases of deregulation failing to achieve desirable results in United States cities. Many U.S. cities retained regulations on prices and services while allowing for free entrance to taxi business. Deregulation advocates argue that this prevented market mechanisms from solving information problems because new entrants have found it difficult to win new customers using new services or cheap prices. Also, ride-sharing has often been prohibited.
Often officials have also prohibited pricing that would have made short rides in sparsely populated areas profitable. Thus drivers have refused to take such customers. Therefore, partial deregulation is not always enough to enhance the situation. In one study claims that deregulation was applied to a too small area.
In the taxi regulation report by U.S. FTC it was concluded that there are not grounds for limiting the number of taxi companies and cars. These limitations cause a disproportionate burden on low income people. It is better to increase the pay for unprofitable areas than to force the taxis to serve these areas.
According to the report, the experience on free entry and price competition are mainly positive: prices have fallen, waiting times were shortened, the market shares of the biggest companies have fallen, and city councils have saved time from licensing and fare setting. However, the airports should either set their own price ceilings or allow for price competition by altering the queue system.
OPPOSITION TO DEREGULATION
Opponents of taxi deregulation argue that deregulation will result in price increases as more taxis have to compete for the same number of riders (and thus must increase prices to continue to operate), high taxi driver turnover rates which may cause the number of less-qualified taxi drivers to increase, dishonest business practices such as price gouging (especially on airport routes) and circuitous routing, and poor customer service.
Connecticut General Assembly
This report argues that deregulation has led to undesirable results
in several American cities. Seattle deregulated taxis in 1980,
resulting in a high supply of taxicabs, variable rates, price gouging,
short-haul refusals, poor treatment of passengers. As a result,
Seattle re-regulated in 1984, reinstating a restriction on taxicab
licenses and fare controls. In St. Louis, deregulation produced a 35%
rise in taxi fares, and taxicab drivers complained of waiting hours at
airports for customers at taxicab stands.
A study of the deregulation of taxis in Sweden in 1991 showed that the taxicab supply increased, but average fares also increased in almost all cases. Specifically, average fares per hour increased for all trips. Average fares also increased for fares calculated by distance (per kilometer) in almost every category studied – for all customer-paid trips in municipalities of all 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) and increased for municipality-paid trips in small and large municipalities; fares only decreased for municipality-paid trips in medium-sized municipalities that were calculated per kilometer. Deregulation also resulted in decreased taxicab productivity and decreased taxi-company revenues. This study concluded that deregulation resulted in increased fares especially in rural areas and the authors argued that the increased fares were due to low taxi company revenues after deregulation.
Black market taxis often have problems with safety, poor customer service, and fares. This situation is made worse because customer who patronize such taxis cannot complain to the police or media. However, proponent of taxi deregulation argue that when these illegal taxis become legalized, their behavior will improve and complaints to officials about these formerly illegal taxis would be allowed.
Taxi companies claim that deregulation may lead to an unstable taxi market. However, one pro-deregulation study by Kitch, Isaacson and Kasper claims that the previous argument is a myth because it ignores the U.S. free taxi competition up to 1929.
Taxi companies claim that deregulation would cause problems, raise prices and lower service level on certain hours or in certain places.
The MEDALLION SYSTEM has been defended by some experts. They argue that the medallion system is similar to a brand-name capital asset and enforces quality of service because quality service results in higher ridership, thus increasing the value of owning the medallion. They argue that issuing new medallions would decrease the medallion value and thus the incentive for the medallion owner to provide quality service or comply with city regulations. They also argue that the medallion may be preferable to alternate systems of regulation (such as fines, required bonds with seizures of interest payments on those bonds for violations, or licensing of all would-be taxis with revocation of that license for violations) because fines are difficult to collect, license revocation may not be a sufficient deterrent for profitable violations such as price cheating, and because using penalties on bond interest payments give regulators an incentive to impose penalties to collect revenue (rather than for legitimate violations). Medallions do not earn interest and thus inappropriate seizures of interest by regulators is not possible.
RESULTS OF DEREGULATION IN SPECIFIC LOCALITIES
The results of taxi deregulation in specific cities has varied widely.
A study of taxi deregulation in nine United States cities found that the number of taxi firms increased, but large incumbent firms continued to dominate all but one of the nine cities. The taxi prices did not fall in real terms, but increased in every city studied. Turnover was concentrated among small operators (usually one-cab operators); little turnover occurred among medium and large new firms and no exit by a large incumbent firm occurred since deregulation. Productivity decreased by at least one-third in all four cities for which sufficient data was obtainable; the authors argued that decreases of this magnitude in productivity have serious economic consequences for taxi drivers, by shifting the industry from employee drivers to lease drivers and causing the average taxi driver to earn a lower income. Innovation in service did not occur in the deregulated cities because such innovations (especially shared-ride service) were doubted by taxi operators to be justified by demand and because the operators viewed that they would cause a net decrease in revenue. Discounts were offered in certain deregulated cities; however, these discounts were small (10% typically) and were also offered in some regulated cities. The study found a lack of service innovation and little change in level of service despite the increased number of taxicabs.
Minister Alan Kelly held a review of Ireland's taxi industry after Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ broadcast an investigation into the taxi industry 10 years after de-regulation http://www.rte.ie/news/av/2011/0516/media-2959607.html the results of his review can be researched via www.nationaltransport.ie.
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Wikivoyage has a travel guide for TRAVELLING BY TAXICAB .
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