The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor

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

3
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TAXICAB

The taxicab industry in the United States emerged near the beginning of the twentieth century. As they had in Europe, the hackney, the cabriolet, the hansom cab, and other horse-drawn vehicles had served American cities in the 1800s. However, the first vehicle to be called a "taxicab" did not appear until after the turn of the century. Not unlike most new phenomena, the development of the taxicab did not occur as an isolated event; it was strongly influenced by the continuing evolution of mass transit vehicles and by the massive changes that were occurring in urban life.


GROWTH AND CHANGE IN URBAN LIFE

The three decades spanning the turn of the century were marked by dramatic changes in technology, demographic patterns, and life-styles. They were also decades of inventions, urbanization, migration, and eventually a major war. Finally, they were the decades that gave birth to the automobile, the streetcar, the bus, and the taxicab.

Nowhere were these changes more evident than in urban areas. The entire United States was growing rapidly; the population increased from 50.6 million in 1885 to 100.5 million in 1915. It was, however, in urban areas where this growth was focused. In 1880 the country had only eight cities of 250,000 or more population. Forty years later it had twenty-five such cities. The nation, which had been only 28.8 percent urban in 1880, was predominantly (51.2 percent) urban in 1920.

Much of this growth was attributable to the heavy stream of immigrants arriving primarily from Europe. During the thirty years

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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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