Spend just a few moments in the centre of London, and you’ll become familiar with the sight of the iconic, Cab-Direct style black cab. They’re a part of the city’s global image, and it’s difficult to imagine the capital without them.
But London isn’t the only city in the world where people need to get from place to place in a hurry. And it isn’t the only city with a cab service that meets that demand. But in other parts of the world, taxicabs tend to take a radically different shape to the big black one to which Londoners are accustom.
New York Yellow
Of course, the New York cab is probably just as recognisable as the London one, thanks to the sheer volume of films and tv shows set in the city. The yellow style came to be at the turn of the twentieth century, so that would-be customers could spot them from afar.
If you head to a large Indian city, you’ll find that the most practical and affordable way to travel is in the back of a tiny little automated rickshaw, commonly called a ‘tuk-tuk’. You won’t be able to cram quite as much luggage (or people) into one of these things, but for the most authentic Delhi experience, they are are hard to beat.
This is another kind of Rickshaw, whose front end is actually that of a bicycle. This design has been around since the middle of last century, and has, almost everywhere, replaced the traditional human-powered rickshaw. You’ll find similarly-designed pedal-powered rickshaws in Mexico city and Paris – they’re environmentally friendly and lots of fun, too!
The taximeter was actually invented in Berlin, but these days it’s Munich that retains the most recognisable style of cream-white taxicab. Most of the city’s taxis come from high-end German manufacturers like Mercedes and Audi.
If your city is mostly water, like Venice, then it makes sense for the taxi service to come in boat form. Part of the gondola’s appeal is its leisurely pace – you’re not going to be going anywhere in a hurry. Gondolas take around two months to make, from a combination of half-a-dozen different woods. As such, they’re several times the price of most taxis.
In any city with a historical heritage to preserve, you’re likely to find horse-drawn carriages. In Vienna, these cabs, called Fiakers, have been around since the turn of the 18th century, and featured heavily in the operas of Johann and Richard Strauss. There’s no better way to see the cobbled streets of Vienna!