Street cabs in many capital cities around the world are painted in a standard color so as to make them easily recognizable and, at times, iconic; for example, the Yellow Cabs in New York, and the Black Cabs in London.
Until the 1990’s, street cabs in Mexico City were one of the capital’s icons: VW Beetles painted in bright yellow. The exception was those cabs operating from taxi ranks, which were four door sedan vehicles primarily red in color – they were significantly more expensive to hire.
During the 1990’s, Mexico City’s government ruled that all cabs should run using unleaded gasoline. As part of that ‘green drive’, they also made it law for the new unleaded cabs to be painted in green and white. For a while, the city had a mixture of yellow and green VW Beetles operating as taxis, until, by the turn of the century, almost all street cabs in the capital were green and white and the iconic yellow Beetles were nowhere to be seen.
In a bid to modernize Mexico’s cabs and reduce taxi-related crime in the capital, Mexico City’s government recently embarked upon another overhaul of the capital’s taxi system. The program required that all cab drivers be re-licensed and all taxi cabs be re-plated with distinctive white-colored license plates. Furthermore, new cab car licenses were only issued for use on four-door sedan type vehicles painted white with a bright red stripe around them. And so today, the number of the green and white VW Beetles has diminished significantly and, within a couple of years, it’s most likely that all cabs in Mexico City will be four-door sedans.
But that’s not the end of the taxi colors tale. Of late, a new – and very distinct – taxi livery scheme has become quite apparent on the streets of the capital: taxis painted in burgundy red and gold and displaying an emblem of The Angel of Independence — Mexico City’s modern-day logo. It would seem that the capital has embarked upon yet another change of design for its streets cabs. Whether this new burgundy-gold style will stay around long enough to become a new icon for the city (replacing the abundance of white and red cabs) remains to be seen.
You can read about getting around in Mexico using cabs on the Mexperience guide to Taxi Travel in Mexico.
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