Before Uber was even a thing, taxicabs were the rage and preferred mode of transportation for millions of people living in urban and suburban areas all over the globe. There are still many cities where Uber or similar cab-sharing companies are yet to make a serious mark, and these markets are still, to this day, dominated by yellow taxis.
Now we all have seen yellow cabs, if not in person, then in the movies as they are quite famous in pop culture, and they have made quite a mark and are still heavily involved in Hollywood movies. Even in my country, yellow cabs are still quite popular. From the black and yellow Fiat taxis to the yellow cabs of Kolkata(see the pic below) and yellow–green autos running in the National Capital, they have still retained their charm, even after the heavy investment by Ola and Uber in the Indian market, the yellow taxis are still the preferred mode of transportation by a majority of Indians.
But I find myself asking, why yellow? 🤔 It’s such a random color. Not red, so it could be easily visible from a farther distance, but yellow. It doesn’t quite make sense. But there is a story behind it.
Car(or automobile) became quite the rage in the late 19th century – in fact, 1886 is regarded as the birth year of a modern car, the year Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became readily available in the early 19th century, but they still were quite expensive for an average person to afford. But not one could deny that they provide ease in transport to anywhere a commuter wants to travel as compared to public transport, which follows a certain path.
So in 1907, John Hertz, a former reporter at Chicago Morning News and a car salesman, decided to start a cab company with prices so low that a common man could afford them. He had a fleet of seven used cars in the year 1907.
And the yellow color? Well, a study done by the University of Chicago in the same year cited yellow as the color easiest to spot. And that is the reasoning behind picking yellow. In fact, Hertz founded the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago in 1915 and opened several franchises throughout the United States.
This ideation is followed to this day. In Delhi, you will find yellow-green autos(Green denoting the use of CNG fuel) or, in other cities Yellow-Black(petrol/diesel). Every region has its own regulation, but yellow is still the constant.
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