1.a carriage for hire
definition of Wikipedia
hackney carriage (n.)
In the United Kingdom, the name hackney carriage today refers to a taxicab licensed by the Public Carriage Office in Greater London or by the local authority (non-metropolitan district councils or unitary authorities) in other parts of Great Britain, or by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland.
In the United States, the police department of the city of Boston has a Hackney Carriage Unit, analogous to taxicab regulators in other cities, that issues Hackney Carriage medallions to its taxi operators.
The name 'hackney' was once thought to be an anglicized derivative of French haquenée—a horse of medium size recommended for lady riders; however, current opinion is that it is derived from the village name Hackney (now part of London). The place-name, through its fame for its horses and horse-drawn carriages, is also the root of the Spanish word jaca, a term used for a small breed of horse and the Sardinian achetta horse. The first documented 'hackney coach'—the forerunner of the more generic 'hackney carriage'—operated in London in 1621.
The New York colloquial terms "hack" (taxi or taxi-driver), "hackstand" (taxi stand), and "hack license" (taxi license) are probably derived from "hackney carriage". Such cabs are now regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
"An Ordinance for the Regulation of Hackney-Coachmen in London and the places adjacent" was approved by Parliament in 1654, to remedy what it described as the "many Inconveniences [that] do daily arise by reason of the late increase and great irregularity of Hackney Coaches and Hackney Coachmen in London, Westminster and the places thereabouts". The first hackney-carriage licences date from 1662, and applied literally to horse-drawn carriages, later modernised as hansom cabs (1834), that operated as vehicles for hire. There was a distinction between a general hackney carriage and a hackney coach, a hireable vehicle with specifically four wheels, two horses and six seats, and driven by a Jarvey (also spelled jarvie).
In 19th century London, private carriages were commonly sold off for use as hackney carriages, often displaying painted-over traces of the previous owner's coat of arms on the doors.
The growler was a type of four-wheel, enclosed carriage drawn by two horses used as a hackney carriage, that is, as a vehicle for hire with a coachman. It is distinguished from a cab, hansom cab or cabriolet, in that those had only two wheels. It is distinguished from most coaches by being of slightly smaller size, holding nominally four passengers, and being much less ostentatious.
Electric hackney carriages appeared before the introduction of the internal combustion engine to vehicles for hire in 1901. During the 20th century, cars generally replaced horse-drawn models, and the last horse-drawn hackney carriage ceased service in London in 1947. A small, usually two-wheeled, one-horse hackney vehicle called a noddy once plied the roads in Ireland and Scotland. The French had a small hackney coach called a fiacre.
UK regulations define a hackney carriage as a taxicab allowed to ply the streets looking for passengers to pick up, as opposed to private hire vehicles (sometimes called minicabs), which may pick up only passengers who have previously booked or who visit the taxi operator's office.
In 1999, the first of a series of fuel cell powered taxis were trialled in London. The "Millenium Cab" built by ZeTek gained television coverage and great interest when driven in the Sheraton Hotel Ball Room in New York by Judd Hirsch, the star of the television series Taxi. ZeTek built three cabs but ceased activities in 2001.
Horse-drawn hackney services continue to operate in some other parts of the UK, for example in Cockington, Torquay. The Australian city of Melbourne has, in recent years, introduced horse-drawn hire carriages as an adjunct to its promotion of tourism .
Motorised hackney cabs in the UK, traditionally all black in London and most major cities, are traditionally known as black cabs (which they were), although they are now produced in a variety of colours, sometimes in advertising brand liveries (see below). The 50 golden cabs produced for the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002 were notable.
Historically four-door saloon cars have been highly popular as hackney carriages, but with disability regulations growing in strength and some councils offering free licensing for disabled-friendly vehicles, many operators are now opting for wheelchair-adapted taxis such as the LTI. Other models of specialist taxis include the Peugeot E7 and rivals from Fiat, Volkswagen, Metrocab and Mercedes-Benz. These vehicles normally allow six or seven passengers, although some models can accommodate eight. Some of these 'minibus' taxis include a front passenger seat next to the driver, while others reserve this space solely for luggage.
Many black cabs have a turning circle of only 25 ft (8 m). One reason for this is the configuration of the famed Savoy Hotel: The hotel entrance's small roundabout meant that vehicles needed the small turning circle in order to navigate it. That requirement became the legally required turning circles for all London cabs, while the custom of a passenger's sitting on the right, behind the driver, provided a reason for the right-hand traffic in Savoy Court, allowing hotel patrons to board and alight from the driver's side.
In London, hackney-carriage drivers have to pass a test called The Knowledge to demonstrate that they have an intimate knowledge of the geography of London streets, important buildings etc. There are two types of badge, a yellow one for the suburban areas and a green one for all of London. The latter is considered far more difficult. Drivers who own their cabs as opposed to renting from a garage are known as 'mushers' and those who have just passed the "knowledge" are known as 'butter boys'. There are currently around 21,000 black cabs in London, licensed by the Public Carriage Office.
Elsewhere, councils have their own regulations. Some merely require a driver to pass a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure and have a reasonably clean driving licence, while others use their own local versions of London's The Knowledge test.
Oil millionaire Nubar Gulbenkian drove about in a custom-built gold and black car, designed to look like a vintage London taxi and powered by a Rolls-Royce engine, because he had been told "it can turn on a sixpence — whatever that is." Other celebrities are known to use hackney carriages both for their anonymity and their ruggedness/manoeuvrability in London traffic. Users include Prince Philip, whose cab has been converted to run on liquefied petroleum gas, according to the British royal website, and author Stephen Fry. Black cabs also have recently served as recording studios for indie band performances and other performances in the Black Cab Sessions internet project.
Between 2003 and August 1, 2009 it was possible to purchase the London taxi model TXII in the United States. Today there are approximately 250 TXIIs in the US, operating as taxis in San Francisco, Dallas, Long Beach, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Newport, Rhode Island and Portland, Oregon. The largest operating fleet in North America is located in Charleston, South Carolina and owned by the Charleston Black Cab Company. They can also be seen in South Africa, Bahrain and Cyprus, as well as in Israel, where a Chinese-made version of LTI's model TX4 built by Geely Automobile is available for sale. On February 2010, a number of TX4s started operating in the capital of Kosovo - Pristina. They are known as London Taxi. From July 2009 London taxis will not be available to buy new in the United States. Singapore has also used London-style cabs since 2000; they charge higher rates than most other models. As of 2011, 1000 Chinese-made version of LTI's latest model TX4 were ordered by Baku Taxi Company and the plan is part of a program originally announced by the Transport Ministry of Azerbaijan to introduce London cabs to the capital Baku. The move was part of £16 million agreement between Manganese Bronze and Baku Taxi Company.
There have been different makes and types of hackney cab through the years, including:
The unique body of the London taxi is occasionally wrapped with advertising and used for marketing events both in the UK and in the US.
On 14 December 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson released an air quality strategy paper encouraging a phase-out of the oldest of the LT Cabs and proposing a £1m fund to encourage taxi owners to upgrade to low emission vehicles such as electric taxi cabs. On the same day, transport minister Philip Hammond unveiled the £5,000 electric car subsidy.
2011 saw the launch of many digital hailing applications for hackney carriages that operate through smartphones. Many of these applications also facilitate payment and tracking of the taxicabs.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Taxis of London|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Cab.|
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