The History of NYC Taxis
This week, we’re going to bring our lesson on the history of NYC Taxis to a close. We started when we looked at How Taxis Took Over New York City, and continued with The Taxi Timeline: The History of Taxis in New York City, and now we’re going to bring this story into the present!
In the outer boroughs, and on Long Island, when you see a taxi, you probably notice that the license plate has a little “T&LC” symbol on it. That stands for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which is the organization that moderates the taxi and livery industry. The Commission was founded in 1971 to handle the expansion of the taxi industry, and to deal with all of the drivers and taxi-related issues. NYC taxis are managed by the T&LC, but their license plates actually display their medallion numbers, so there’s no need for them to also say “T&LC.”
The 1970s and ‘80s were a time of great advancement for NYC taxis, as a number of initiatives were put in place to regulate the industry; making transportation services safer for both the passengers, environment, and the drivers became a tremendous priority. To combat the rise in violent crimes against taxi drivers, bulletproof partitions were installed between the driver and passenger in many NYC taxis.
Through the 1990s, the taxi industry continued to grow and change rapidly. The government became even more involved in regulating NYC taxis than ever before. Taxi shifts lasted as long as twelve hours, and very few taxi drivers were given health insurance coverage. The T&LC along with Mayor Guiliani instated a number of restrictions for taxi drivers, including the use of incense, radios, and cell phones. These restrictions met a great deal of protest, but they were enacted anyway.
At the turn of the 21st century, the taxi industry was bringing in over $1 billion in revenue annually, and were driving upwards of 200 million passengers, nearly 800 million miles every years. There were over 12,000 NYC taxis and over 40,000 drivers.
Hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape, started making their way into the taxi industry during this time. During 2007, many NYC taxis participated in Garden in Transit, a public art project that put flower decals painted by local children on taxi hoods throughout the city.
2008 marked the installation of Passenger Information Monitors in the backseat of all NYC taxis, which gives passengers a live GPS map, the option to pay their fares by credit card, and some entertainment during their journeys.
By 2012, about 45% of all taxis in service (roughly 6,000 vehicles) were hybrid cars.
We hope you enjoyed this lesson on the history of NYC taxis! If you have any fun taxi facts to share with us, do so on our Facebook page! And, as always, if you’re ever in need of a ride on Long Island or to any local airport, be sure to call All Island Transportation at Call 516-742-2222—we’re here for you!