The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor

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

9
SERVICE INNOVATIONS

Public transportation at the urban level is not working very well. While the situation is much improved over that of a decade ago, mass transit systems still face massive and growing deficits. Services in suburban areas, cross-town services, and rural and small-city services are generally inadequate or nonexistent. Recent increases in ridership demonstrate the severely limited capacity of many systems to accommodate the shifts to transit that might be produced by an energy emergency. Nor is the taxi industry in a better position. Costs have escalated faster than revenues; diversification has been slow; and fleets are disappearing. In general, taxi firms remain outside of the local public transportation funding process. Despite more than a decade of committed federal transit funding, local public transportation still has many problems.

This situation contrasts with the vision of many transportation professionals of a future in which coordinated urban public transportation services reinforce--and are reinforced by--land-use policies. Many people, particularly transit users, have observed that downtownfocused, radial transit service no longer fits the travel patterns of persons in a sprawling urban region that contains many business, commercial, and cultural centers. There the need is for cross-town services, neighborhood services, and much interaction and coordination between these various services.

In the early 1970s transportation professionals began using the term paratransit in describing hopeful solutions to transit problems that required, not highly sophisticated new technology, but a commonsense utilization of existing, rather mundane, and normally overlooked services. The term paratransit soon included car pooling, van pooling, taxicabs, dial-a-bus, subscription bus, and even hitchhiking. Paratransit became defined not by the vehicle used but by the

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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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