Cars that are not privately owned by people that drive them themselves, but by (usually smallish) companies operating them. I.e., there's a driver inside who will drive you wherever you want to. If everything works out, he will charge you by the kilometre for the distance traveled, if it doesn't work out, he may rape and/or kill you. Taxis are also called cabs resp. taxi-cabs. In Germany, they're beige, in the U.S., usually yellow. Nearly all German taxis are Mercedes-Benz diesels. Older ones thus often emit gruesome noises that can set your teeth on edge.

While in New York, every third car is a taxi-cab, and you just need to wave your hand to make one stop, in Germany you need to give the taxi company a call or go to a special parking lot where lots of taxis wait around, bored drivers inside reading the BILD-Zeitung. On the other hand, German taxi drivers usually speak much better English than New York taxi drivers. For information on German taxi drivers in New York, watch Jim Jarmusch's film Night on Earth.

Car based mode of transportation with a lit sign on the roof.

Yellow cabs driven in The United States by men who speak little English.
Black cabs driven in England by men who speak too much English.
Beige cabs driven in Germany by men who speak perfect English.
Rusty cabs driven in India by men who speak some English but can shout Hindi/Telgu/Tamil/Kamada/Udu/Gujarati/Bengali/Punjabi.

Trivia: Stephen Fry owns his own black taxi cab.

Taxi Fares of the World

Sydney, Australia
Taxi Fares inclusive of Goods and Services tax (GST) effective from 1 July 2000
Hiring charge: $2.35
Distance rate: (Tariff 1 - 6am-10pm daily) $1.32/km (Tariff 2 - 10pm-6am daily) Tariff 1 + 20%
Radio booking fee: $1.10
Waiting time: $36.84/hr (61.4 cents/min)
Luggage rates: First 25kg no charge, then 10 cents per subsequent 25kg or part thereof, maximum payable 55 cents
Toll & ferry charges: The hirer must pay the full toll and ferry charges which are GST inclusive that apply to a journey.
Note a return toll is payable on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

Attribution: Sydney Taxis Combined Taxi #T-2272, sticker affixed to driver's cage, 23-July-2000

a sitcom, aired between 1978 and 1983. taxi followed the exploits of cabbies at the sunshine cab company. taxi started out on abc, but later moved to nbc because of low ratings, despite garnering critical acclaim. it lasted a year on nbc before being cancelled for good.

the show starred danny devito, tony danza, andy kaufman, marilu henner, judd hirsch, christopher lloyd, carol kane, randall carver, and jeff conaway. devito was the dispatcher, kaufman was the mechanic, kane played kaufman's ditzy wife, and the rest played new yorkers driving taxis to finance their other projects.

Taxi is a great French 1998 movie directed by Gérard Pirès and written by Luc Besson. This is the story of a guy in Marseilles who decides to quit pizza delivery, buy a beefed up Peugot 406 and taxi. He has a real talent for insulting cops and german criminals driving Mercedes. This movie has changed my driving style. Taxi 2 is far worse.

London's main breed of Taxi is the Black Cab. These cars-for-hire are generally used as transport for the rich, and used as population control for the poor or studious. Since these Taxis outnumber cars by a ratio of two to one, there isn't enough custom to allow them to opperate solely as a swift and reliable means of transportation. To broaden their income stream, the Taxi drivers of London also work in the age old profession of 'Crushing on the Side'.

'Crushing on the Side' is, put simply, the practice of running over pedestrians who don't look like they may be potential customers, and taking their valuables, up to and including organs. This practice was legalized by Margaret Thatcher, as a measure to 'rid the streets of students and filth'. The traditional black colouring of the London Taxi is a practical night-time camouflage, although Taxis often go for 'dazzle' pattern paint, which doubles up as advertizing. Often, packs of Taxis will hide in ambush outside student halls, crushing any that attempt to leave through the front doors.

The practice has come under fire from local councils in recent years, for the mess it causes. However, it has been staunchly supported by the tourism agency, tourists enjoying the 'real London experience' of having a shelf-stacker plastered 2mm thick across the wind-screen. Whether a boon to the city, or a mess causing nuisance, the practice is just another quaint custom that makes Great Britain what it is.

To taxi also refers to the actions of an aircraft moving itself around on the ground. Specifically, using its own propulsion to maneuver around in order to reach a destination also on the ground. Aircraft will taxi from a terminal or ramp area to the runway on which they intend to take off; they will, after landing, taxi from the runway to their ultimate parking spot. Aircraft being towed are not taxiing, nor are aircraft which are accelerating across the ground in order to take off or which have just touched down and are still braking from flying speed. Typically, once an aircraft has either released its brakes after landing, or turned off the runway it has landed on, it is considered to be taxiing.

Sometimes, things just don’t turn out the way you planned them. That seems to be the main premise behind the theme of the television show Taxi and its cast members. I mean, does anybody want to grow up to become a cab driver in New York City?

Taxi was easily one of the funniest shows I watched back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. During its short five year run it won a total of 18 Emmy Awards, three of which for “Outstanding Comedy Series”. While that’s all well and good, Taxi also covered some issues that given the times, might have been considered taboo. Here’s a short listing of some of the more controversial ones.

  • Drug abuse
  • Animal abuse
  • Single parenting
  • Obesity
  • PMS
  • Bisexuality
  • Sexual harassment
  • Divorce
  • Gambling
  • Death
  • The Cast

    Alex Rieger as portraved by Judd Hirsch.

    Alex is the once successful businessman who finds himself out of job when he refused to toe the company line. He is also divorced and estranged from his child. In addition, he also a recovering compulsive gambler who’s lot in life seems to be sealed. He’s just knows that he’s going to be driving a cab for the rest of his days as evidenced by the following quote.

    ”I’m not really a cab driver. I’m just waiting for something better to come along. You know, like death.”

    Bobby Wheeler as portrayed by Jeff Conaway.

    Since the setting is New York City you almost have to have someone who is an aspiring actor but can’t seem to get a break. Bobby Wheeler is just that guy. He did manage to land a gig in a short lived soap opera called Boise and is the favorite target of head dispatcher Louie De Palma. Once, when Bobby threatened to leave the Sunshine Cab Company, here’s what Louie had to say.

    "He’ll be back…..they all come back….the only one who never came back was James Caan…..and I’m still waitin’!

    Louie De Palma as portrayed by Danny DeVito.

    Whoever cast DeVito in this role is a genius. Despite his small stature Louie is the Prince of Darkness in the Sunshine Cab Company. He’s the head dispatcher and besides dispatching jobs he mainly delights in dispatching insults from inside his cage at the garage. Nobody is safe from his tongue or his wrath.

    I know what love is cuz’ I watch talk shows, love is the end of happiness!”

    ”Ignatowski has a father? There goes my “spore theory!”

    ”Some men climb mountains, others date ‘em!”

    On his mom, when asked about what kind of surgery she needed :

    ”Female problems, she’s starting not to look like one.

    ”Reverend” Jim Ignatowski as portrayed by Christopher Lloyd.

    This guy probably deserves a write up all by himself. One of the funniest characters ever to grace the small screen. Jim grew up with an affluent family and even attended Harvard University. All it took for that to change when he took a bite of a brownie laced with some kinda drug and it was all downhill from there. His last name was originally “Caldwell” but he had it legally changed to Ignatowski. The reason? He thought that was how “Star Child” was pronounced when said backwards. He’s easily the most quotable of all of the cast members and I think in one episode he dropped acid and claimed it was a Chicklet The ultimate stoner if there ever was one, no one else comes close.

    ”Hey Alex, You know the great thing about television? If something important happens, anywhere in the word, night or day, you can always change the channel.

    While taking the written test to get his driver’s license ;

    Reverend Jim: “Pssssssttt….what does a yellow light mean?”

    Bobby Wheeler: “Slow down”.

    Reverend Jim: “What….does….the….yellow…light…..mean?

    Bobby Wheeler: “Slow down”.

    Reverend Jim: “Whaaaat……dooooeeees….theeeeeee…..yeeeel-loowwww….liiiight...... meeeeeaan?

    ”When I think of me, I smile.”

    ”If you find yourself in a confusing situation, simply laugh knowingly and walk away”

    On the death of his father ;

    Louie: “Jim, your father is no longer with us.”

    Reverend Jim: “He never was. He lives in Boston.”

    Louie:“No, I mean, he’s gone to his final resting place.”

    Reverend Jim: “A condo in Palm Beach?"

    I think that’s the episode where Jim’s dad bequeaths him an old cassette and when he flips it on, you hear the opening strains of Stevie Wonder singing “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” and the look that comes over his face will send a chill down your spine and bring a tear to your eye. It sure did to mine.

    Tony Bantaas portrayed by Tony Danza

    Not a huge stretch for the legendary actor but his talents lie in keeping it simple. Tony is a slow dimwitted wanna be boxer who Louie regularly bets against and almost always wins. He’s the good natured sweet one but eventually loses his license when he gets knocked out one too many times.

    Louie: “What’re you listening to, Banta?

    Tony: “I can be here if I want to.”

    Louie: “No, you can’t.”

    Tony: “This is America, Louie.

    Louie: “No, it isn’t.”

    Tony: "It isn’t?”

    Louie: “No! This is Louieland. You want America, go outside!”

    Latka Gravas as portrayed by Andy Kaufman.

    Latka is the garage mechanic and is an immigrant from a strange, presumably Eastern European country and speaks in a high pitched voice and strange accent Eventually Kaufman grew tired of the same shtick so the writers gave him a multiple personality disorder. His most famous one was the over the top macho man and womanizer that went by the name of “Vic Ferrari”.

    ”Thank you very much”

    Elaine Nardo as portrayed by Marilu Henner.

    Elaine is the divorced single mother of two who yearns to make her way into the field of fine art. She’s also Louie’s love interest and he’s constantly trying to get into her pants. He never succeeds.

    Louie:“Do you know what the difference is between people like you and people like me, Nardo?”

    Elaine:“Yeah, two million years of evolution.”

    Louie:“Would you like to wait in my office?”

    Elaine: “I’d rather be the only woman on a Greek freighter!”

    Sadly, Taxi went off the air after only five seasons. Nobody seems to know why ABC cancelled it after four but NBC picked the show up for it fifth and final season. Apparently it couldn’t gain any traction and lost its audience.

    I’d like to close with a bit of dialogue between Elaine and Reverend Jim that I think sums it up pretty well.

    Elaine: “Jim, you are truly a sweet and decent man.”

    Reverend Jim:“Once there was a time when that was enough."


    A lot of this came from memory but I also used:

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