Most likely everyone has seen a yellow taxi cab least once in his or her lifetime! If you’ve been to New York, you see hundreds of these yellow taxi cabs daily! Have you ever thought whether there is something special about the taxi cabs or perhaps wondered about the history and why they are yellow?
Let’s find out!
The Yellow Cab Company of Chicago was founded by John Hertz in 1914 with surplus used cars from his car dealership and is now the oldest and largest continuously operating cab company in North America. Hertz had experts determine that yellow was the most visible colour, so he painted all of his taxicabs yellow starting a tradition that continues today. When Hertz left the cab business in 1929 to start his rental car company, he incorporated the colour yellow into his signage which remains a part of the Hertz Car Rental logo today. Color choice was only one of Hertz’s accomplishments as a cab owner. He installed the first traffic lights in the City of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. The city was so enamored with the resulting improvement in traffic conditions that they expanded the program and repaid Yellow for the expense of installing the original lights.
In 1920 the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company was formed to manufacture taxicabs and Manufacturing Company was sold to General Motors in 1925. During the 1910s and 1920s the company was involved in considerable illegal activity relating to mobsters and in particular to the Chicago Outfit. Yellow Cab was involved in a bitter rivalry with Checker Taxi at the time which led to a number of shootings, deaths and firebombing.
In 1929 he sold his remaining share of Yellow Cab to concentrate on car rental (Hertz Rent-a-Car which incidentally still uses a yellow logo). Yellow changed corporate hands a few times over the years and then in 2005, Michael Levine, a taxicab operator from New York City, purchased controlling interest in Yellow Cab. Since 2005, Yellow and its sister companies have grown to the over 2600 vehicle fleet they are today expanding into the Chicago suburbs and across state lines. Today Yellow continues its long tradition of innovation. In addition to stoplights and wipers, Yellow was the first cab company to install seat belts in the back of its cabs and the first to utilize anti-lock brake systems. Yellow Cab is involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations in Chicago providing scholarships for drivers, their spouses and children, and supported numerous other charities in the Chicago land area.
Well, you probably had never considered that these taxi cabs had quite the historical background, did you? Now when you are on our bus tour to New York, you can share this knowledge with your fellow travelers and surprise everyone with your knowledge of interesting facts!