Well we all know that France is one of the oldest countries where the taxis begun, there are a lot of history about that and we are to talk about in this article. We have to move in the time and travel to 1637 in Paris, in this year appear the first horse-drawn forerunners of taxis appeared on Parisian streets. The service was started by Nicolas Sauvage in Paris in 1637. His vehicles were known as fiacres, as the main vehicle depot was apparently opposite to shrine to Saint Fiacre. This was the first documented service of taxi in France and is amazing how old is the service on this beautiful country and for the record, begun at the same time in England so we are speaking about a true pioneers of the industry.
In 1834 the industry took another step, and born the hansom cab that was patented by Joseph Hansom, and what a step, was revolutionary and a substantial improvement on the old hackney carriages. These two-wheel vehicles were fast, light enough to be pulled by a single horse (making the journey cheaper than travelling in a larger four-wheel coach) were agile enough to steer around horse-drawn vehicles in the notorious traffic jams of nineteenth-century London and had a low center of gravity for safe cornering. Hansom’s original design was modified by John Chapman and several others to improve its practicability, but retained Hansom’s name
But in that time, they were not knowing as a taxi, the term “taxi” born in 1891 and get his name thank to Friedrich Wilhelm Gustav Bruhn who invent the taximeter. The mechanical taximeter device calculates the fare of transportation based on distance; it received its name from the root of “tax,” meaning “to charge.”While carriage-based transportation services were popular in Paris and London for years, the taximeter was installed in the Daimler Victoria in 1897. Following that revolutionary pairing of automobile with taximeter, the industry changed forever.
The modern era of the taxis begun and France was one of the first countries to use modern taxisthat are gasoline-powered vehicles with fare meters in 1899. New York’s first taxis were imported from France in 1907, and taxis were famously used for troop transportation during the First Battle of the Marne.
Speaking about the Battle of the taxis or Battle of Marne, what we can say about that is that was a World War I battle fought from 6–10 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German armies in the west. The battle was the culmination of the German advance into France and pursuit of the Allied armies which followed the Battle of the Frontiers in August and had reached the eastern outskirts of Paris. The taxis play a crucial role stopping the German troops and an estimate of 3,000 men from the Seventhfrench Division who were transported in a fleet of Paris taxicabs requisitioned by General Gallieni. During the critical period of 6 to 7 September von Moltke issued no orders to either von Kluck or Bülow, and received no reports from them between 7 and 9 September.
On 7 September 1914, General Gallieni gathered about six hundred taxicabs at Les Invalides in central Paris to carry soldiers to the front at Nanteuil-le-Haudouin, fifty kilometers away. Each taxi carried five soldiers, four in the back and one next to the driver. Only the back lights of the taxis were lit; the drivers were instructed to follow the lights of the taxi ahead. Most of the taxis were demobilized on 8 September but some remained longer to carry the wounded and refugees. The taxis, following city regulations, dutifully ran their meters. The French treasury reimbursed the total fare of 70,012 francs.
The arrival of six thousand soldiers by taxi has traditionally been described as critical in stopping a possible German breakthrough against the 6th Army. However, in 2001, Strachan described the course of the battle without mentioning taxis and in 2009, Herwig called the matter a legend: he wrote that many French soldiers travelled in lorries and all the artillery left Paris by train.The impact on morale was undeniable, the taxis de la Marne were perceived as a manifestation of the union sacrum of the French civilian population and its soldiers at the front, reminiscent of the people in arms who had saved the French Republic Campaign of 1794: a symbol of unity and national solidarity beyond their strategical role in the battle. It was also the first large-scale use of motorized infantry in battle; a Marne taxicab is prominently displayed in the exhibit on the battle at the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris.
The taxis services and the taxis like a business begun to grow exponentially. They were trying to found solution to the new scenario and problems that they were facing but they were hit by the beginning of the world war II and the taxies almost disappear, in this time the German army reach the majority of the big cities of France and destroy important part of the infrastructure and industrial capacity of the country and that affected economically and morally to the citizens. After the Second World War, France passed through a healing process and the country recovery due the damages, when the economy began to stabilize many companies started to recover their innovating ideas for the client`s comfort including the taxi companies. That help a lot to the industry of the taxies was the new technologies and by the end of the war the technological capacity and industrialization of the country allowed a fast growth that in turn allowed to improve the taxi service and to increase the offer in front of the demand of the people for the use of the service.
The car used in this amazing story was a Renault 8CV created and manufactured by Louis Renault (that is considered a motoring icon and a national hero) and after the war the people appreciated more the taxis and of course more the usage of taxis, and the taxi company was the most profitable business in France at that time. It was so high the taxi demand that a new problem started to take form: people started to have inconvenient to find a taxi when they needed due that most of them were occupied all the time. Sometimes people had to talk with the taxi driver and reserve it for an entire day in order to avoid that problem. Another aspect was that the companies that manufacture the vehicles were not producing enough take in mind that in that day the technology was not capable of produce enough vehicles and of course the business of the taxis were not well developed.
It was until 1964, that the taxi company presented to the clients a new and revolutionary idea, with the creation of the first taxi reservation center by telephone and radio-telephone to communicate with the taxis. Solving the problem of finding a taxi in the middle of the street when it was needed. Due the acceptation by the public it was used at that time and it is still used today that practically one of the best way to get a taxi in Paris. Due to the increase of the population in the country the demand for a taxi increase so quickly that each day was harder to find a taxi and we can say that it was a precursor of UBER because you could make the reservation calling by radio to the company of your convenience and schedule a trip for your personal activities the only disadvantage is that the client must pay for the taxi’s travel to the pick-up point.
In order to reward the clients’ fidelity many taxi companies offer to the public some annual memberships, which consist in an annual payment that include preferential and priority services making this service so practical for businessmen that always need to move from one side to another in the city to important meetings.
Another interesting thing about how begun and how developed the taxis in France is their image not of the service but yes of the drivers, that perception begun as you read above and at the beginning of the article I explained, they were soldier that served in the French army or went to the both world wars so when they come back to the civilian life some of them get job as taxi driver but their attitude was so rude and not much respectful that create a so bad image.That military treatment to the tourist by the drivers created a such bad image that persist in this days but in these days the taxi companies are working hard to change that perception given a service very polite, respectful and in some case a warm treatment, also the particular drivers are improving their conduct to the clients that is the result of the test that they made when they get the license to be a cab driver.
Nowadays in France the entire countryespeciallyin Paris depends on the taxis to move around,the tourists prefer to hire a taxi driver for several days than renting a car, because the drivers already know the city and the most practical routes to avoid traffic and of course a taxi driver can be a better tour guide than anyone else, they know all the best places and if you want hear a good story we recommend you speak with the driver. Instead, tourists that decide to rent a car, get lost the most of the timebecause they are not familiarized with the routes, which can make a relaxing trip into a stressful one.
Is impressive how complicated and how hard were the beginning of the taxi industry in France, they had overcome so many difficulties compare to others big nations and today is hard imagine a France without taxi when today you can easily request a taxi from your smartphone, which can provide the route and the rate that you will pay, it is almost like you do not need to interact anymore with the driver, at least you want to but if you decide to get a taxi on the street you also will find a very good offers.
Another innovating thing that you can note in the French taxis is that they are well organized, and today anyone with a driver license can become into a taxi driver, using their smartphone and theUber application, obviously the models of car has not limit now, not only Renaults (as it was at the beginning of the history of the taxi industry in France), in France now you can find any model that suit your needs. One thing that keep the original concept of the privacy, it isthat you can find a private transport with a special service that can provide a tour around the city that the customer is living or any other city selected by the customer, with extreme privacy. These services are commonly used by artists that want a relaxing time away from the cameras and paparazzi, it can be used, as well, by entire family for their vocational trips or by business man, that need to be concentrated the entire route before an important business meeting, all these services are more expensive that a regular one but it is based in the original concept of moving around the city without being noted by the rest of the people, and without any distraction or for don’t have to be care about the transport and enjoy more the country .
In conclusion France is one of the pioneer of the taxi industry in the world, the service is so old that may have more than six centuries, survive many of tragedies and can be consider a national proud for the French, yes the service has to improve has to evol and they will be making another step toward the future of the taxy industry.