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Taxi facts for kids

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2015 Hyundai i40 (VF2) 1.7 CRDi sedan, Comfort Taxi (2016-01-03)
A taxi in Singapore

A taxi (also called a taxicab or cab in the United States) is a car, van, or other vehicle that is used for public transport. People use them to get to where they want to go directly. This means that there are no stops in between where they get on and where they get off, which is often very close to the place that they are going. Many big cities have taxis.

In most other types of public transport, such as a bus, tram, or train, the rider does not get to choose the locations where they want to get picked up or dropped off. These vehicles often take certain roads or follow a very specific route, and because of this, they usually do not stop exactly where people who use them want them to.

Riding a taxi is a lot like having your own car, but you don't need to drive. Taxis work differently around the world, but you only need to tell the taxi driver where you want to go and he or she will take you there. How much you pay for the ride, in most cases, depends on how far you are going from where you get on, but it is common for the price for a taxi ride to be more expensive than for other forms of transport.


NYC Taxi Ford Crown Victoria
The yellow Ford Crown Victoria taxicab of New York City.

The first transport system like the modern taxi system started in Paris and London in the early 17th century. These were carts pulled by horses (carriages) and could be hired. The monarchies that ruled these cities controlled the amount of carriages. In the 19th century, Hansom cabs were mostly used because of their higher level of speed and safety.

The 1891 invention by German Wilhelm Bruhn of the taximeter (the familiar mechanical and now often electronic device that calculates the fare in most taxicabs) helped establish the modern taxi. The first modern meter-equipped taxicab was the Daimler Victoria, built by Gottlieb Daimler in 1897; the first motorized taxi company began operating in Stuttgart the same year.


Harry N. Allen, who imported the first New York taxicabs from France, coined the word taxicab as a contraction of 'taximeter cab'. In time, the shortened term taxi came into common usage. 'Cab' is a contraction of cabriolet, a type of horse-drawn carriage.

In turn, taximeter is an adaptation of the French word 'taximètre', which is a derivation of the German word 'taxameter', coined from Medieval Latin 'taxa' which means 'tax/charge' together with 'meter' from the Greek 'metron' meaning measure.

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