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The original Yellow Cab Company based in Chicago, Illinoismarker is one of the largest taxicab companies. Independent companies using that name (some with common heritage, some without) operate in many cities in a number of countries. Many firms operate with drivers as independent contractors. In some cities, they are operated as cooperatives owned by their drivers.

Related companies include The Hertz Corporation, Yellow Roadway and the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which was acquired by the Chicago Transit Authority.


The Yellow Taxicab Co. was incorporated in New York on April 3, 1912. Among its directors and major stockholders were Albert F. Rockwell and the Connecticut Cab Co. In 1908, Albert Rockwell, founder and General Manager of the New Departure Manufacturing Co. of Bristol, Connecticut, traveled to Europe to evaluate their taxi systems, hoping to develop a similar one in Washington, D.C. By later that year the new Rockwell cabs were being sent to several major cities including New York. W.C.P. was the first livery to introduce the yellow cab to Manhattan streets. By March 1910, the Connecticut Cab Co. (essentially the directors of New Departure) assumed operating control of W.C.P.'s taxis. Shortly after incorporation the Yellow Taxicab Co. merged with the Cab and Taxi Co., and with the strength of Connecticut Cab with whom its name was interchangeably used, the young business assumed a large share of the New York market. Its corporate life was fairly short, however, as fare wars and restrictions forced a merger with the Mason-Seaman Transportation Co. on March 3, 1914.

The Yellow Cab Co. (of Chicago) was founded by John Hertz in December 1, 1915. The related Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company acquired Walter L Jacobs car rental business. The Yellow Truck Company and rental car business was sold to General Motors in 1926.

None of these fully suited the taxicab industry, so on December 31, 1914 the first Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company Cab was designed, and the Model J was released in August 1915.

Hertz ran the taxicab company until 1929, when he left to found another rental car company, Hertz Rent-a-Car, which still uses a yellow logo as well.

The taxicab company was purchased in 1929 by Morris Markin, who had established Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, with the Checker Taxi, a driver's cooperative.

The company was sold again in 1996 to Patton Corrigan, who in turn sold controlling interest in 2005 to Michael Levine, a third-generation taxicab operator from New York City. The Levine/Corrigan group has also purchased the Checker Taxi Affiliation in Chicago, to reunite the two companies once again.


According to Yellow Cab Co. tradition, the color (and name) yellow was selected by John Hertz as the result of a survey by the University of Chicagomarker which indicated it was the easiest color to spot.

While Hertz may well have consulted with the University of Chicago on a desirable color, there were yellow taxicabs already in major American cities before 1915, to the credit of Albert Rockwell. Bristol Engineering, a subsidiary of New Departure Manufacturing Co., produced its first yellow cabs in 1908. It is very likely that when John Hertz bought and borrowed cars for his fledgling business, older yellow cabs from the Chicago area were among his acquisitions. The popular story goes that the wife of the President of New Departure, Nettie Rockwell, particularly liked the color yellow and it therefore became the color of the new Rockwell taxicabs. The Rockwell Service Cab became the Yellow Taxicab when Mrs. Rockwell selected that as her choice of color for the auto.


The 'Yellow Cab Group' in Australia was founded in 1924. The Australian color scheme for Yellow Cab is more "orange" than "yellow". This is probably due to the fact that when the franchise was purchased the instructions for the livery stated that the most effective eye catching colour combination was a yellow base with red writing. It has been suggested that these instructions were misinterpreted and a blending of red and yellow paints produced the now famous Yellow Cab "orange".


United States

Yellow firsts


A movie, The Yellow Cab Man, was made in 1950, starring Red Skelton.

See also


  • Yellow Cab Celebrates 50 Years of "Service to the Public", published in Trips 'n' Tips March 1965 [87845]
  1. The New York Times June 14, 1908
  2. Wyckoff, Church and Partridge
  3. The New York Law Journal, March 10, 1910
  4. Yellow Cab and Truck Production
  5. New Departure-Hyatt A Brief History.
  7. [1]

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