Many of us take a taxi (the British and Australian name) or cab (the American name) when we have to get somewhere quickly. Although cabs are not cheap, they are convenient and fast. But how did they appear?

As you know, the predecessor of cars were horses and carriages. The first vehicle which could be rented was the carriage in London, 1605. From, this year on, owners rented out carriages to people but the legislation of hireable carriages was passed in 1635.

Two years later, in 1637, the first carriages for rent appeared in Paris too. In 1662, the licenses of so-called Hackney Carriages were available in London but it was redesigned in 1662 by Joseph Hansom. These new carriages were lighter and faster than the original ones. This type of vehicle started spreading in Berlin and New York as well.

The taximeter was another important instrument that became part of cabs. This device measures the time and distance that the vehicle takes giving an accurate fee. The instrument was invented by Wilhelm Gustav Bruhn in 1891.

The first motorised cab was made by businessman Friedrich Greiner in Germany in 1897. This vehicle had a taximeter. Motorised taxis also appeared in London in 1897 by Walter Bersey. These vehicles worked with petrol. Similar vehicles appeared in Paris in 1899 and in New York City in 1907.

You might also ask where the yellow colour comes from. Cabs in America were needed to be stand out and it was Harry Allen who painted the vehicles yellow.

Taxis were not only important for carrying passengers: in the First World War, they also carried soldiers in France.

After the invention of the taximeter, another important instrument was invented in 1940: the two-way radio. Taxi drivers were able to communicate with each other and with the dispatchers.

In Australia, the motorised taxi appeared in Sidney in 1906. These early taxis belonged to the French Renault company. The transformation of taxis was slower in Brisbane though: here still the Hanson taxi was used in the 1930s.

Nowadays, we can call taxis or order them by apps: they have contributed to the convenience of our life but as we see, they have a long history.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay 

appear – megjelenik

carriage – lovasszekér

legislation – törvényesítés

pass – elfogadás

distance – távolság

accurate fee – pontos viteldíj

vehicle – jármű

stand out – kitűnik

passenger – utas

instrument – eszköz

dispatcher – telefonos ügyintéző

transformation – átalakulás

contribute to something – hozzájárul valamihez

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