The first Black Taxi in London was the Hackney Coach in 17th Centaury; the name comes from hacquenee, French term for a general purpose horse. In 1625 there were around 20 available for hire. The first taxi Rank appear when in 1636 the owner of four hackney coaches brought them to Strand and he had established tariffs for various parts of London. The drivers wore livery so that they can be easily notices on streets. In 1636 Charles 1 made act that allowed maximum of 50 hackney carriages for be available for hire in London. Year 1654 is very important for London Taxis as it was then that Oliver Cromwell set up the Fellowship of Master Hackney Carriages by Act of Parliament and it was then that Taxi driving became profession. Over the years new acts were set up allowing more and more of them to be available in London but it was not until 1833 when this trade became unregulated and no longer there were any limits on number of taxis available for hire in London, the only regulation left was that both the driver and the vehicle had to “be fit and proper”, that regulation even after all this years still applies.
Year 1903 was the year that the first petrol powered taxis were introduced in London, they were French build and called Prunel. The early versions of mechanical taxis were made by variety of manufactures but after Austin brought their High Lot cabs into the market, they gradually took over. They brought to the market the Low Loader, the Flash Lot, the FX3 and then the FX4. The FX4 (better known as the Fairway) is what many people today think of when Black Taxis are mentioned and it was one of the longest lived of taxis designs. The TX1 followed the FX4 when cabs needed to wheelchair accessible
The taxis had moved a long way since its early years but the principle behind them remains; carrying people around London. Hope you will find this story interesting and to finish let me tell you few fascinating facts about London Black Taxis;
Taxi drivers are not legally obliged to give change. If a large note is offered the driver is entitled to take the cash, and offers to post the change to the passenger’s home address.