Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Taxi and Cab

The words taxi and cab almost mean the same thing. The two terms come from the word ‘taxicab’. Taxi originates from taximeter where meter refers to the calculation of fare based on distance.

A cab is a short form of cabriolet that came from a horse-drawn carriage. Different parts of the world use the two terms interchangeably, some have distinct differences to identify each, while others don’t. Most of the English speaking countries use both words while the non-English speaking ones use taxi almost exclusively, or a regional derivative.


What is a Taxi?

A taxi is a vehicle that can be hired for short-term purposes alongside the driver to transport people from one point to another. Taxi also means to cause an aircraft to move along the ground right before take-off or after landing. Taxis can be acquired by hailing them at street sides.

Most taxis are uniform in colour or have a standard feature that distinguishes them from the regular cars. This could be a specific line on the vehicle or a header board marked with the words, ‘taxi’ on top of the vehicle. All this depends on the region’s regulations. The requirements for taxis are quite stringent. In some cases, the cars can only be, and the annual licenses can be $100. For you to become a legally operating taxi driver, one has to pass specific examinations and go through some training.


What is a Cab?

Similar to taxis, cabs are vehicles hired to transport human beings from one point to a specified destination at a fee. The fees are calculated based on distance and time. Cabs are mostly booked online through web applications, mobile applications or through phone calls. The word cab comes from a cabriolet which was the term used to refer to a horse’s carriage. A cab is a more official term used to refer to the short-term privately hired transport services. Some of the commonly used cabs today include Uber and Lyft.


Similarities between a Taxi and a Cab

1)    Origin

The two terms originated from the same word, ‘taxicab’. Taxi is the short form of taximeter and cab the short form of a cabriolet.

2)    Use

Both taxis and cabs are used for the same purpose. They transport human beings from one point to another at a fixed fee based on distance.


Differences Between a Taxi and a Cab

1)    Regional Use

English speaking countries use both terms to refer to a vehicle that can be hired to transport you from point A to point B. Non-English speaking countries use the term taxi mostly – or a derivative.

2)    Hiring

In certain parts of the world like the UK, taxis can be hailed at the side of the road while cabs, on the other hand, have to be booked either online or through a website.

3)    Licensing

Taxis have more stringent licensing requirements when compared to cabs which are also referred to as private hire vehicles. For example, most taxis have to be a specific type of car; the driver must have a particular license, the car has to also go through several inspections before issuance of necessary legal documents. For most cabs, the requirements are simple where the vehicle is tested for safety, and the driver’s license must have the required PCO license.

4)    Colour

Most taxis are required to have a uniform colour, e.g. in New York; they have to be painted yellow for easy identification. Cabs which are mostly private chauffeured vehicles have no such requirement.

Taxi vs Cab


Summary of Taxi Vs. Cab

  • Taxis and cabs come from the general term taxicab.
  • Taxi was acquired from taximeter, which refers to the meter that is usually used to determine charges based on distance.
  • The term cab was derived from the term cabriolet which refers to a horse’s carriage.
  • English speaking countries use both words to refer to the vehicle that is used to transport people from one point to another at a fee.
  • Non-English speaking countries mostly use the word taxi.
  • The licensing requirements for taxis are more stringent than that of cabs.
  • Most taxis in most countries are required to have standard colours; sometimes some regulations require some form of identification; a yellow line or a taxi hag above the car’s roof.
  • Cabs are also referred to as privately chauffeured vehicles.
  • Most transport applications like Uber and lift use the term cab.

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/07/Yellow_cabs_2.jpg/618px-Yellow_cabs_2.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/NYC_Taxi_Ford_Crown_Victoria.jpg/640px-NYC_Taxi_Ford_Crown_Victoria.jpg

[2]Hodges, G. R. G. (2009). Taxi!: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver. JHU Press.

[3]Mathew, B. (2008). Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City. Cornell University Press.

[4]Braunschweiger, A. (2009). Taxi Confidential: Life, Death and 3 A. M. Revelations in New York City Cabs. 671 Press.

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