Whether you’re a businessman, a student, or just a regular bystander, we’ve all seen and used a taxi. They are the ones you can count on whenever you’re running late or feeling a bit lazy to drive. Aside from that, taxis have been chauffeuring just about everyone around the planet for nearly centuries. They are the most convenient and customer-friendly public transportation service out there. And because of that, they’ve become a familiar sight on the streets that people have grown to know and love.
Taxis come in nearly any shape, size and color imaginable. They can be as small as a regular car, or as long as a limousine. And as for colors, the regular cabbies usually are painted yellow, while others can have 3 or more colors. Taxicabs are almost limitless when it comes to their services – and they’re not planning on slowing down any time soon.
However, the question is: how much do you really know about taxis and their drivers? Read on and find out a few interesting facts about the taxi industry that you probably didn’t know!
10. The “Knowledge” Exam
Did you know that London cab drivers must learn 320 routes through 25,000 streets off by heart in order to operate a taxi? It’s called “The Knowledge” test.
Aside from a couple of hundred routes, they also have to memorize 20,000 landmarks such as museums, parks, churches, schools, and other tourist spots. They have to shove all of this information completely by memory. For that reason, it usually takes 2-4 years of studying, screening and other forms of tests just for a taxi driver to be licensed.
So, if you’re going around London by a cab, don’t be too harsh on your driver.
9. The Longest Taxi Trip
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest taxi trip ever recorded was 43,000 miles. It was performed by three university friends from England and cost them around $105,000. They traveled around the world through many countries and took them over a year to complete.
8. Lost and Found: Backseat Edition
You’d be surprised to know what crazy stuff passengers accidentally leave behind the taxi. In London alone, approximately 190,000 phones have been recovered from the back of the taxi every year. Still not impressed? Take a look at the list below.
- A terrified hawk
- A living, breathing baby
- Cremation Urn
- Expensive jewelry/suitcases with large sums of money
- Vacuum cleaner
- A city mayor
The word ‘taxi’ is actually an abbreviated word for the term ‘taximeter’, which is also derived from the Mid-Latin “taxa”, meaning “tax” or “charge”. By 1907, however, the word ‘taxicab’ enters the English vocabulary. It can be broken down into two parts (“Taxi” and “Cab”) and still be understood by everyone using either part of the name.
6. How Much is the Taxi Industry
The taxi industry definitely had its shares of ups and downs – especially nowadays with ridesharing services. However, as far as other countries are concerned, taxis still dominate the road.
It was reported that the taxi business is worth around $108 billion worldwide, according to Market Watch. That’s huge compared to Uber’s $76 billion. With that said, it seems like the taxi industry is still far from dying.
5. First Taxi In the World
The concept of “taxis” have long been in service as early as 1600’s. There were horse-drawn carriages and other forms. But the taxis that we know today started in 1891, and is actually based on the invention of the “taximeter”. The instrument was invented by a German citizen named Friedrich Wilhelm Gustav Bruhn. The “taximeter” was designed to calculate a fixed price based on the traveled distance or time of the vehicle.
By 1897, an enterprising Frenchman called Gottlieb Daimler built the world’s first dedicated gasoline-powered taxi vehicle. He then equipped the vehicle with a “taximeter” and later named it Daimler Victoria. You can check out the brief history of the taxi industry if you’re interested.
4. Weirdest Taxis
As mentioned before, taxis come in different shapes and sizes. So, there’s a good chance of seeing a few unusual looking ones in the market. For instance, in Vietnam, your taxicab will be an elephant. But perhaps the oddest entry would be coming from Chile, where some of the cars are painted to look like cows. The weirdest part? The rear seat is even stylized to look like cow udders!
3. Taxi Drivers Face High-Level Risks
Driving, in itself, comes with a lot of dangers and risks. So if you’re someone who spends the majority of the day on the road, your chances of getting hurt is pretty high.
In fact, the murder rate among taxi drivers is the highest among all occupations. According to a study conducted by American Journal of Preventive Medicine, in the year 2010, the murder rate was 7.4 per 100,000 taxi drivers while the overall rate was 0.37 per 100,000 workers. That means taxi drivers are 20 times more likely to get killed than any other average jobs – even to police officers!
2. Taxi Small Talks
There are two types of taxi drivers: one that does the job silently, and one the one that talks a lot. However, most of us would agree that we often ride with the latter. And according to a survey, you would find most of them along the roads of NYC. New York taxi drivers are reported to be the best storytellers, entertaining passengers with anecdotes and tall tales. Meanwhile, the most common topic that the driver and their passenger talk about in a British taxi is the weather.
1. It’s Illegal To Shout “Taxi!”
This is perhaps the most unexpected fact in this list. Technically, it is against the law to hail for a cab by shouting “taxi”. This is because it can distract the driver and might cause an accident. So, instead of yelling for a cab, raise your hand to indicate that you need a ride. It’s safer and much more legal to do.
So, did these facts surprise you? Make sure to share this post to your friends and family and spread the fun!