Taxis are yellow in most countries because it’s the easiest colour to spot at a distance.
Here’s the story of how it started.
Yellow cabs have appeared in both European and American cities since the late 19th century. it is uncertain why yellow was chosen by so many companies but the obvious reason was to make their vehicles stand out*. It’s important here to state that at the time, no regulation was in effect that required cabs to be painted in any specific color. (the article continues after the ad)
In 1915, car salesman John Hertz had a surplus of traded-in cars so he decided to start a taxi business. To unify his fleet and stand out, Hertz had commissioned a local university study to scientifically ascertain which color would stand out strongest at a distance. The color that won was yellow. Hence he decided to paint all of his taxi cars in yellow and established the Hertz’s Chicago Yellow Cab Company. In fact, when John Hertz later went on to establish the famous Hertz Corporation in 1953, he again used yellow on his new logo.
Since many companies already had their cabs painted yellow as well as the fact that research came to support the belief that it was indeed the most visible color, led to a 1967 ruling that all “official” New York cabs should be painted yellow, specifically “Dupont M6284 or its equivalent” yellow. Many other cities and countries followed the NY’s legislation and that’s why so many countries have their taxis painted yellow.
* A common legend has it that Albert Rockwell, founder of NYC’s Yellow Taxicab Co (est. 1912). chose his cabs to be painted yellow as his wife Nettie, preferred the color.
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Photo: Unsplash / Pixabay
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