“The taxi I called for you is only a minute away. Are you at the station right now?”
“What?! The cab you called isn’t here yet? Then which car am I sitting in right now?”
According to statistics, there are almost 2 million taxi rides booked per day in India. In simple numbers, that’s around 23 rides taken in the time you took to read this sentence. Impressive, right? Have you ever wondered how this “phenomenon” of taxis came to be? If yes, then please verify your ride OTP and hop in.
1. The oldest known taxi carriages, the Hackney horse-drawn carriage services, began operating in Europe in the early 17th century. Innkeepers of the time hired them for merchants and visitors.
2. The 19th century saw Hansom carriages replace Hansom carriages. This new style of horse-drawn carriages had two wheels and was faster and more manoeuvrable than its predecessor. The driver stood on the back.
3. The invention of gasoline-powered engines was a significant step towards modern taxicabs. Introduced in 1897, Daimler Victoria was the first gasoline-powered taxicab in the world.
4. Gasoline-powered taxicabs were followed by electric-powered coaches. The invention of the two-way radio towards the end of the 20th century made it possible to better manage the cabs by their firms.
5. Modern taxicabs come in all shapes and sizes. Some countries have human-powered taxis, such as rickshaws and hand-pulled carts. Others have boats and gondolas, and some even offer limousines for special hire.
6. 20th-century also saw the proliferation of taxis in Indian suburbs. The “kaali-peeli” Fiat Padmini taxi in the suburbs of Mumbai, the yellow Ambassadors of Kolkata, and the iconic blend of the two mentioned above – the “kaali-peeli” Ambassadors of Delhi; taxicabs have become a part of the Indian culture.
7. With the creation of companies like Ola and Uber, booking a cab has become a hassle-free experience. Users can now book cabs using the companies’ mobile applications.
8. Another benefit is that cabs have become significantly cheaper. So much so that people now use cabs for their daily commute instead of their vehicles.
9. The easy-to-use mobile applications offer a variety of additional information. Users can view the driver’s info, the details of the car, the distance of their trip, real-time info of their route and the approximate cost of the trip without hassle.
Taxicabs have become so popular in today’s world that they have become more common than other vehicle types on the roads. While this is a blessing, unfortunate accidents can still happen. Like, getting into the wrong cab, for instance. And before you ask, yes, that snippet of a conversation, in the beginning, is from personal experience.
I am Rakshit Aswal, a recent graduate of English Hons. from University of Delhi. I like to play videogames and read books while on my pursuit to experience amazing stories.