Fiacre: the history of the emergence and development of taxis
Fiacre: the history of the emergence and development of taxis

Without this service, which appeared in the 18th century, the life of a modern city is impossible.

The word "taxi" comes from the French "taxo", which means a vehicle used to transport passengers and goods, as well as fare. The history of taxis dates back to 18th century France: it was there that horse-drawn carriages "fiacre" appeared, named after Saint Fiacre - near his chapel there was an inn with this vehicle.

At the end of the 19th century, technical progress began to crowd out carriages with horses. A gasoline engine and control levers were installed on the fiacras. The advent of meters (taximeters) increased the credibility of this type of transport, since it was easy to calculate the cost of the road. The popularity of the crews grew.

Paris taxis Renault AG-1

The first cars intended for taxis were produced by Renault. The body of these cars resembled a fiacre, the driver sat separately in the open front of the car, and the passenger was in a closed one, protected from the weather. Taxis stood out from the rest of the cars in bright colors. There was no centralized service for taking orders and calling a taxi; cars just drove around the city and honked loudly.

Paris taxi driver Renault AG-1, 1914

The first taxis in Russia appeared in Moscow. The growth of passenger traffic required the development of urban transport. The demand was partly met by cabbies, but the industry needed regulation - the introduction of tariffs, an order management system, and the organization of parking lots. This is how the prerequisites for the emergence of a taxi were formed.

Moscow taxi, 1925

The year of birth of a taxi as a regular service is considered to be 1907. It was then, at about the same time, in Russia, the United States and England, where advertisements for cabbies with a "fare by agreement" appeared.

Automobile taximeter used in St. Petersburg, 1906

After the 1917 revolution, the number of taxis in Moscow declined sharply, drivers were almost “exterminated as a class”. Only in 1924 the Moscow City Council decided to purchase 200 new Renault and Fiat vehicles. In 1925, the first 16 Renault cars rolled through the streets of Moscow. All of them belonged to the state, there was no competition. As a result, the quality of passenger service was low, and there were not enough cars.

Taxi transportation was profitable for the Moscow authorities, so they set about restoring order. The first GAZ cars appeared in the capital, the number of taxis increased several times. With the release of passenger cars "ZIS", taxis became generally available. In the post-war years, Pobeda cars honked on the road.

Victory for the GAZ-M20

In New York, the first city taxi entered the line on August 13, 1907. The development of taxis on the streets of the United States was largely facilitated by the mafia, which owned most of the taxi companies and was interested in their growth. So, during the years of Prohibition, there was no more reliable transport for the delivery of prohibited alcohol. A huge amount of alcohol was transported in the cars, but the police did not even know about it.

Taxis on 6th Avenue and 32nd Street, New York, April 1973

Today taxis are available in most, if not all, countries of the world. Japanese drivers are considered to be one of the most polite taxi drivers. They are renowned for their punctuality and courtesy with passengers. They work exclusively in white gloves, and lace napkins are changed daily on the headrests of their cars. A Japanese driver never speaks to a passenger while driving, he only drives a car.

Taxi in London, 1970s

In some cities, a taxi is not only a convenient form of transport, but also a visiting card. So, in London, taxis are traditionally painted black, in New Zealand - green, and on the Lantau Islands - blue, and New York set the standard for a yellow car. In the USSR, they drew chess squares on the door of a car and put a green flashlight, which is why the name "green-eyed taxi" went.

A Moscow taxi driver taking the newlyweds, 1979

Taxi today is an industry that employs millions of people.With the development of communications and information technologies, you can order a taxi in just two clicks in the mobile application.

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