History of Cabs in the UK

With there being many different versions of cabs around in the UK, it is interesting to know a little about their history.

Going Back in Time

Some form of cabs has existed for a lengthy period in the United Kingdom. An individual needs to go back and look at the Hackney carriages, which were first recognised as being what we know as cabs today. They began transporting people in the form of a cab service dating back to the 17th century. Even back then, there were set regulations that these old time cabbies had to adhere to. Keep in mind that these earlier cabs were not powered by engines but rather by horses.

The Introduction of Cabs

It was not until the start of the 19th century that the term cabs came to light, where they were referred to as cabriolets, and shortened to cabs for convenience. These too were horse-drawn but consisted of a single horse and a two-wheel carriage. It was limited to two occupants.

Some will make reference to these as the hansom cab. These particular forms of cabs being utilised in the UK had similar versions of them in other countries.

Such as in India, or the Arana in Mexico.

As the century came to a close, newer type cabs were now coming into the picture which were battery operated. But it wasn’t until around 1903 that taxis became a significant industry. This was when petrol powered vehicles became readily available. Those who had some entrepreneurship qualities knew how to put these vehicles to good use as taxis.

As taxis became more modernised, there was a need for ways of being able to track distances for the fares. This created a need for the first modern taximeter which was created by a group of German inventors.