BusTalk Forum Index BusTalk
A Community Discussing Buses and Bus Operations Worldwide!
 
 BusTalk MainBusTalk Main FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups BusTalk GalleriesBusTalk Galleries   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

'THE TAXI STAND'
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    BusTalk Forum Index -> General Transportation - All Other Modes
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: 'THE TAXI STAND' Reply with quote

Those of you who may follow my exploits in the 'Vintage New York City' thread may notice that I never pass up the opportunity to mention the very colorful taxicabs that present themselves in my pictures.

I think that the evolution of New York's taxis between the mid twenties and fifties was most interesting with their 'rainbow' of liveries, SkyView roofs, opera lights, genuine leather seating and their fascinating meters.

In fact, I find them just as interesting as the buses of the same era and, after all, what are taxis if they're not tiny little buses!

From time to time I expect to showcase the variety of models that prowled the streets of the Big Apple.

A very brief history of the taxicab written by Jordan Knapp follows along with a great photo of the first commercial application of battery taxis shown somewhere in Manhattan circa 1897, and were built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia.

Taxicabs, in one form or another, have been around for three centuries or so. Today there are a variety of different cabs, from horse drawn tourist attractions to the standard yellow taxi cab to luxury sedans or limos, all of which people use to get from one place to another. The history of taxi cabs is long and varied, although the rich long ago had themselves "taxied" from one location to another using servants or drivers, and in ancient times, the elite were transported on the backs of slaves from city to city.

Horse-drawn for-hire hackney carriage services began operating in both Paris and London in the early 17th century. Royal proclamations in both cities regulated the number of carriages, which was the first example of taxicab regulation. In the 19th century, Hansom cabs largely replaced the older designs because of their improved speed and safety.

Although the evolution of the motorized taxi began with battery-powered vehicles in Paris, London, and New York in the 1890s (see image below) and were supplanted by gasoline engines only a decade later, the 1891 invention by Wilhelm Bruhn of the gear driven taximeter was the real catalyst that ushered in the era of the modern taxi.

This familiar mechanical and now often electronic device calculates the fare in most taxicabs, with the first modern meter-equipped vehicle being the Daimler Victoria, built by Gottlieb Daimler in 1897, and the first motorized taxi company beginning operation in Stuttgart, Germany the same year.

Gas powered taxicabs began operating in Paris in 1899, in London in 1903, and in New York in 1907. The New York taxicabs were imported from France by businessperson Harry N. Allen. Allen was the first person to paint his taxicabs yellow, after learning that yellow is the color most easily seen from a distance.

Taxicabs proliferated around the world in the early 20th century. The first major innovation after the invention of the taximeter occurred in the late 1940s, when two-way radios first appeared in taxicabs. Radios enabled taxicabs and dispatch offices to communicate and serve customers more efficiently than previous methods, such as using call boxes. The next major innovation occurred in the 1980s, when computer assisted dispatching was introduced.

There has generally been a legal struggle concerning the certification of motor vehicles to be taxicabs, which take much more wear than a private car does. In London, they are additionally required to meet stringent specifications.

In the US, in the 1930s, the cabs were often DeSotos and Packards with
GM offering a specialized vehicle for a time called the General, and the famous Checker which came into existence simultaneously with its purpose built cars that were specially adapted to carry "double dates."

But now New York City requires that all taxicabs be ordinary cars. They are mainly slightly longer wheelbase versions of the Ford Crown Victoria. Toyota Sienna minivans are the alternate vehicle of choice in New York's cab fleet. In the 1960s in Europe, Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot offered diesel taxicabs. With concerns over the high cost of fuel and fuel economy many cabs in the United States are switching to the diesel engine. Alternate fuel cabs, such as ethanol and propane powered vehicles are becoming more and more popular.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
timecruncher



Age: 68
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Great Britain, to be licensed, the cab must be of the "approved" design. They're all identical, although some are no longer painted black. They are all pretty much diesels as well.

Cabbie I rode with about 10 years ago when visiting London said that he worked a 10-hour shift mornings and his partner drove a 10-hour shift afternoons. The maintenance 'shed' when the car needed routine maintenance (or more) had loaner cabs so that they could keep rolling. The two of them shared revenues to make payments on fuel, insurance and the ever-present note on the cab itself.

They also have fairly sophisticated testing for those wishing to be cab drivers. In other words, you gotta speak English and know where major destinations are and how to get there efficiently.

Contrast that with probably 75% of our bus drivers who don't know what street they're on, let alone where other routes go and how they connect with the route they're on.

timecruncher
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Cdntruckphotog



Age: 66
Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 43
Location: Mississauga Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an interesting article, propane has been the fuel of choice for Toronto taxis for many years. There are special garages around the city that cater exclusively to cabbies. Back in the days when it was still "Toronto The Good" and most businesses including gas stations were closed on Sundays; the Taxi Garages were open 24-7.

When were the Checkers introduced to New York city streets?
They were a symbol of NYC for people who watched movies and TV shows during the 50's to the 70's.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cdn,

Checker taxi cabs in New York City go back as far as the late 1920's when the city counsel forced what were unlicensed gypsies to organize into responsible public services.

By the mid thirties Checker ruled the roost with only one or two competitors including GM's General.

By far, the most popular of the Checkers that could be counted in the thousands were the 1936 Model Y's and their successors the 1939 Model A's shown respectively below.

By the early forties, play was taken away from Checker by the DeSoto SkyViews (a re-manufactured vehicle by the James F. Waters Company of San Francisco) also shown below.

However, Checker again gained the crown in New York in the mid fifties when the city prohibited limousine length vehicles (which the DeSoto's were) and the boxy Checkers that we know best swamped the market.

Hopes this answers your question.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cdntruckphotog



Age: 66
Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 43
Location: Mississauga Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comprehensive report Mr L.
I was thinking of course of the boxy cars.
New York street scenes don't look quite the same without them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
bystander



Age: 76
Joined: 14 Sep 2010
Posts: 26
Location: South Eastern Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oldee Taximeter in Long Island City (I think) has a private museum with lots of pictures and many great old taximeters.Call ahead to make sure it's a convenient time. Sometimes they're all busy hacking new cabs and don't have time to give you the Royal Tour. Trust me-its worth waiting for.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a pretty colorful photo of a 1939 series 50 La Salle in the guise of a Taxi Cab.

At first I was fooled into thinking it was taken in Manhattan by the look of the one-way sign at the corner but the traffic light says otherwise so I really don't know the location - could be any city U.S.A.!

The La Salle, designed by GM's Harley Earl, was Cadillac's economy model and, while the illustrated car was built on a Buick Special Model 41 Chassis and body, it retained its famous 150 horsepower flat head Cadillac V-8 engine and was very popular during its thirteen years as a marque.

However, its life did not come to an end in 1940 as history has recorded - to the contrary, the line was melded into Cadillac in 1941 to become the Model 61 and remained in the sales brochures until 1951.

They were great drivers with engines so quiet that you had to see the cooling fan turning to know that they were running!

Photo courtesy of the La Salle Classic Car Club.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me see a show of hands of all of you that knew that Public Service Coordinated Transport of New Jersey (aka New Jersey Public Service) was once in the taxi business!

I didn't think I'd see too many hands on this one, but don't feel bad because I didn't know myself! (it seems as though these people were into just about everything at one time or another - and they were good at whatever they did too!

Pictured just after delivery to a PSNJ facility is fleet # 48 - a 1946 'purpose built' Special DeLuxe Plymouth taxicab.

'Purpose Built' meant that the car came from the factory with a special package that included higher capacity cooling and electrical systems, a beefed up front suspension along with larger wheels, tires and braking surfaces and seating areas of genuine leather.

In that these cars were built like tanks to start with, they must have served well for many years.

Photos borrowed for educational purposes only.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York.



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a brisk fall day in 1952 as we visit Manhattan's Broadway between 49th. and 50th. Streets where we see Lindy's Restaurant and the home of their world famous 'five pound' cheese cakes (I took plenty of those home!) and the Mark Hellinger Theatre next door featuring Bert Lahr (who you might know best as the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz) starring in the long running musical 'Two on the Aisle'.

But the scene stealers are the street full of taxi cabs including three James F. Waters DeSoto SkyViews and two Checker Model A-4's - the A-4's, with front grills similar to 1940's Cadillacs, were the immediate predecessors to the more familiar boxy Checkers of the 60's through the 80's.

In the lower right of the frame you can see the trunk rack on the one DeSoto heading in the opposite direction - ship travel was still in vogue and large steamer trunks were lashed to these racks for trips to the piers.

The image, thanks to IMDb, was part of a film clip that appeared in the motion picture 'Pat and Mike'.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
N4 Jamaica




Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 591
Location: Long Island

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks, Mr. Linsky, for the intriguing photos of Public Service Yellow Cab with the phone number MI 2-2000. The location puzzles me. Exchange 642 can be found in Freehold (area code 732) and Cranbury (area code 609). Of course, the yard where the photo was taken could be miles away from where PSCT provided taxi service. The taxi appears to be new.
----
The angle of the sun and the short shadow hint that the camera is faced west. To the left (south) are the towers of PRR electrification, but I don't know of electrification through either Cranbury or Freehold. I'm inclined to guess the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, but that is only a guess. Another possibility is adjacent to the electrified PRR line from South Amboy through Jamestown to the Main Line.
----
In the rear of the second photo is quite a collection of what seem to be disabled vehicles.
----
In area code 201, exchange 642 indicates Cragmere, but Cragmere Park is near Suffern, NY.
Joe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe,

Thanks!

Undoubtedly, this Plymouth was just delivered to one of the many Public Service facilities and had yet to be state inspected.

As you note, in the background are a number of conventional PSNJ coaches (probably of Yellow heritage) that await the crusher.

Interestingly, every bit of bright work that you see on any 46-7-8 Chrysler product is stainless steel.

On my way to the office, I pass an auto repair shop in West Hollywood where a 46-7-8 four door Dodge sits very prominently near the front gate.

Its lustrous paint job long gone with signs of rust abounding but the bright work is as though it were factory installed this morning - really amazing.

The only places that they went with chrome plating were the wing window frames and they're dotted with little craters of rust.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hankg42



Age: 68
Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 94
Location: The Villages, FL

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the post above where you mentioned "purpose built" taxis, it brought to mind the first car I had when I got my drivers license. It was a 1956 Chevy 4-door Model 150. On the aluminum firewall tag that contained the VIN #, prominently stamped was "TAXI". I have no idea how many actual miles were on that car when I got it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
N4 Jamaica




Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 591
Location: Long Island

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More about the Public Service Yellow Cab: I notice that the license plate is for an Omnibus. I wonder whether the state of New Jersey issued Taxi license plates in 1946 and whether Public Service was attempting some sort of mixed service. Recall that the 1920's threat to PSCT were jitneys, which sometimes became Independent Bus Operators Associations, especially in Hudson County.
----
In the 1930's, the Pennsylvania Railroad electrified some passenger and freight routes with the type of transmission lines seen in the background, supplying 11000 volts a.c. to the catenary, in this case on an elevation curving away from the Public Service property. I don't know whether the power was purchased from Public Service, but this photo is clearly not near a generating plant. The PRR line could give a hint of the location of the taxicab.
----
In 2011, the competition is between NJ Transit buses and vans on closely-similar routes, as Paterson to NY PABT.
Joe McMahon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hankg42 wrote:
In the post above where you mentioned "purpose built" taxis, it brought to mind the first car I had when I got my drivers license. It was a 1956 Chevy 4-door Model 150. On the aluminum firewall tag that contained the VIN #, prominently stamped was "TAXI". I have no idea how many actual miles were on that car when I got it!



H.G.,

The word 'taxi' was stamped very specifically to prevent unscrupulous used car dealers from passing off 'purpose built' taxis and police cars as low mileage vehicles once driven by little old ladies from Pasadena!

In fact, the situation became so blatant in the 1960's that the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (or whatever the office might have been called at the time) forced all dealers in new cabs to clearly perforate the dashboards in the image of the word 'TAXI' in four inch high letters.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The photo below was snapped sometime in 1948 in the very fashionable Sutton Place neighborhood of East 50's Manhattan and overlooking the East River with the Queensborough Bridge in the background.

The focus of the image is a 1948 Frazer sedan dressed up in New York City taxi garb and, displaying Dealer plates, was obviously a demonstrator for an ad campaign.

If it was that the manufacturer had sights on the New York taxi market with standard size sedans the thinking was in the right direction but too early on to compete with the seven passenger DeSotos and Checkers that still proliferated the city's streets and, when the time did arrive for mandatory downsizing, Frazer was already out of business.

The Frazer automobile and its lower priced companion Kaiser were the post war brain children of aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser whose greatest claim to fame was in applying Henry Ford's mass production model in the building of World War II Liberty Ships (the supply lifeline for our troops in Europe) in a little over a month instead of a year or more.

Photo courtesy of eBay.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    BusTalk Forum Index -> General Transportation - All Other Modes All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group