Winnipeg Cab History / 28: Street Cabs vs Livery Cabs (3)
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Click on the picture to see a larger version.

A bird's-eye view of the city hall stand. The symmetrical arrangement of the three cabs was probably ordained by the photographer and the drivers may have been hired for the photo shoot and paid for their time. In most photos cabs are parked at the north or Market Street end of stand (at left).


Winnipeg Looking East from City Hall. Archives Manitoba, Outsize 133/1 [Steen, James Elder (1846-1909), Illustrated Souvenir of Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Martel's, 1903) p. 11].

Winnipeg Cab History / 28

Street vs Livery Cabs (3)

It was street cabs rather than livery cabs that reaped the benefits of doing business in the red light district. Street cabs offered anonymity to their customers. Conversely, anyone hiring a cab from a livery stable was required by law to supply a name and address.

Since street cabs were tainted in many ways, respectable people preferred to ride in livery cabs. Customers could recognize a street cab by its tell-tale stigma the license number painted in three-inch letters on the glass sides of its carriage lamps or (from 1910 on) the special number plates issued by the city license inspector. Livery cabs were not numbered.

Up to the late 1890s many livery stable owners operated both street and livery cabs, sending street cabs out on calls when their livery cabs were all in use. The stable owners themselves did not like this practice because of the risk of offending customers who would not hesitate to send a numbered cab back to the stable.

Even Dave Storey tried to abandon street cabs for livery cabs in the early 1880s, but through most of the horse cab era the street cab business was simply too profitable for stable owners to ignore.


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