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Entries / Taxi


Categories / City Services/Transportation/Municipal Transportation

TAXI (borrowed into Russian from the word derived from English tax), motor vehicles transporting passengers for a fee. Private taxicabs appeared in St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1908, at the same time carrier joint-stock companies sprang up. The prices were fluctuating (up to five rubles an hour). The taxi station was located near Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor. In 1909, St. Petersburg Taxicab Society was established, and a passenger fare rate was set at 40 kopecks a verst, which was approximately 107 meters. Taxicabs had a yellow stripe on the door (that had been the distinctive colour of Petersburg carriers since the 18th century) and an inscription that read "taxi"; drivers wore a special uniform. By 1909 all taxicabs were supplied with counters. Over 200 taxicabs functioned in St. Petersburg by 1910, and over 400 cars by 1911. In 1914 most taxies passed under the control of Russian taxicab motor-car association (its office was located on 17 Bolshaya Konyushennaya Street). After October of 1917, taxicabs left the streets of St. Petersburg to reappear in 1929: in summer of that year 83 Ford cars with the distinctive "chequers" on the bumpers appeared in the city streets (since the early 1930s the chequers were drawn on the door). Taxicabs went on the routes at 17.00, and special street parking lots were set up for them. The first taxi park was opened in 1930 on 17 Bolshaya Posadskaya Street. By 1940, the number of cars (Ford or GAZ) reached 500. In 1947 a new taxi sign was approved, a shining green light (its folk name was "sonka"), when the light was on, it meant that the taxi was vacant. In the 1950s the taxi telephone call service was established. In the early 1950s the taxi park consisted of Pobeda and ZIS-110 cars, since the late 1950s ZIM, Moskvich, Volga cars were added. Since the 1970s, the taxi park mostly consisted of Volga cars. In the early 1960s taxicabs were equipped with portable radio transmitters for communication of the driver and the traffic superintendent. In the mid-1960s the park for lorry taxies was set up (with GAZ-53 lorries rendering the service; this service was abolished in the early 1990s). Special street parking areas for lorry taxies were designated, mostly near railway stations. In the mid-1960s first fixed-route taxies appeared (RAF minivans) with a fixed fare for the shuttle service. In 1990, there were six taxi parks in Leningrad with the rated capacity of 4,500 cars. After 1991, most parks were privatized. By 2003, St. Petersburg disposed of two state taxicab enterprises and five private carrier joint-stock companies (Passazhirskie Perevozki Open Joint Stock Co. ("Passenger operations"), 35 Sedova Street, and others). After 1991, fixed-route taxicabs took over as the leading means of transportation (in 2003 over 1200 cars provided over 460 shuttle routes).

References: Самойлович Г. Л. Справочник водителя легкового такси. Л., 1986; Справочник маршрутного транспорта. СПб., 2003.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Справочник маршрутного транспорта. СПб., 2003
Самойлович Г. Л. Справочник водителя легкового такси. Л., 1986

The subject Index
Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor


City transport (general article)

CITY TRANSPORT, transport means for intra-city freight and passenger transportation, as well as transport, providing public services. City transport is divided into passenger, freight and special urban transport