There is a revolution going on that is going to change the face of transport in and around cities in a way that no other has in the last century. The starting point is that humble taxi that you cannot always find when you need it most — that is to say a rolling metal box with rubber tires, a human being at the wheel, and some kind of engine propelling it along, with or without human cargo. But this thing, this taxi as it is called, is in the process of being reinvented as a rolling, pliant always-on 21st century information system. And of course we are looking into this closely in the pages of World Streets.
If in the meantime you are just getting into this and interested in knowing more about taxis, large or small, shared and otherwise, Uber or otherwise, motorized or not, an excellent place to sharpen your mind is with the collaborative essay that appears in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicab. To stimulate you to look further, their entry opens like this. . .
A taxicab, also known as a taxi or a cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice. This differs from other modes of public transport where the pick-up and drop-off locations are determined by the service provider, not by the passenger, although demand responsive transport and share taxis provide a hybrid bus/taxi mode.
There are four distinct forms of taxicab, which can be identified by slightly differing terms in different countries:
- Hackney carriages, also known as public hire, hailed or street taxis, licensed for hailing throughout communities
- Private hire vehicles, also known as minicabs or private hire taxis, licensed for pre-booking only
- Taxibuses, also known as jitneys, operating on pre-set routes typified by multiple stops and multiple independent passengers
- Limousines, specialized vehicle licensed for operation by pre-booking
Although types of vehicles and methods of regulation, hiring, dispatching, and negotiating payment differ significantly from country to country, many common characteristics exist.
You will also find excellent value in their coverage of shared taxis at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Share_taxi
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International taxi organizations and sources
And while only the tip of the iceberg, the following links will give you a good start as you deepen your research.
- International Association of Transport Regulators
- IRU Global Taxi Network
- Taxi and for Hire Research Network
- Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA)
- Transportation Research Board Taxi Group (TRB)
- UITP Taxi Platform
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About the editor:
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Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton