The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor

By Gorman Gilbert; Robert E. Samuels | Go to book overview

2
EUROPEAN ANCESTORS
OF THE TAXICAB

THE BEGINNING OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The development of urban transportation can be traced back to the very earliest human settlements. For many centuries cities were strategically located along the waterways, and boatmen plied these waterways carrying both goods and people. In Egypt, for instance, relics dating back to about 4000 B.C. show clear evidence of boats carrying persons along the Nile. One example, in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, is a model from approximately 2000 B.C. of a wooden boat used to carry a boatman and one passenger. Much later, in the cities of medieval Europe, boats were still the predominant form of urban transportation. In London these boats were called "wherries," a name still in use in the nineteenth century. 1 Even on the mythical River Styx a boatman named Charon transported the dead, thereby attaining the dubious distinction of being the first franchised boatman.

In the seventeenth century, however, urban transport underwent a major change. For the first time transportation in urban areas became truly "public." This is not to say that there had never been local transportation or that cities had not existed before 1600; cities had long flourished throughout the world, and their citizens had been carried by various means for centuries. However, it was the rich and the noble who enjoyed these transport services, not the public in general. Transportation for ordinary urbanites began to evolve only after the technological advances and rapid urbanization of the 1600s. Yet even in the seventeenth century public transportation was not yet affordable for the poor, who had to wait until the nineteenth century for public transportation to become inexpensive enough to serve them.

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The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • TABLES AND FIGURES ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Myths, Misconceptions, and Neglect 3
  • 2 - European Ancestors of the Taxicab 8
  • 3 - The Development of the Taxicab 25
  • 4 - The Birth of Taxicab Fleets 38
  • 5 - The Depression and Regulation 61
  • 6 - War and Recovery 74
  • 7 - Federal Involvement 86
  • 8 - The Economics of Taxicab Operations 103
  • 9 - Service Innovations 123
  • 10 - Regulation and Deregulation 141
  • 11 - Dimensions of Change 156
  • 12 - The Survival of Private Enterprise in Public Transportation 170
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 191
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