Winnipeg Cab History / 47: Taxicabs (2)
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A Bradley's Taxi about 1923 with an ad from the 1922 Winnipeg telephone book. John Blackie, a member of the Manitoba Classic & Antique Auto Club, identified this Bradley cab as as "an old Checker".


Top:Bradley's Auto Livery 265 Smith. Archives Manitoba, Transportation - Automobile - Taxi 5 (Negative N5163). Bottom: Manitoba Telephone System, Official Telephone Directory Greater Winnipeg, no. 45, January, 1922, p. 214.

Winnipeg Cab History / 47

Taxicabs (2)

Winnipeg's earliest taxi firms targeted a customer base that was status-conscious and well off. The first taxicabs were designed to mimic the chauffeured cars of rich people and they employed the same expensive limousine and "town car" makes and models (the "town car" was the automobile version of the landaulet).

Car manufacturers quickly recognized taxis as a specialized market and modified the town car design to produce specially-built taxi models (such as the Bradley taxi in the picture) that cost twice as much as a standard sedan or touring car of the same size.

In addition to purpose-built cars, many taxicab companies invested heavily in meters, in uniforms for drivers, in telephone switchboards, in distinctive paint jobs to promote visibility and brand loyalty, and in exclusive rights to park in front of hotels or on railway station property.

Drivers of purpose-built taxis in the early 1920s were less exposed to the weather than they were in earlier limousines and town cars, but there was still no glass in the front door windows. Hence the need for leather window covers in winter. Passengers were protected from the elements by a glass partition behind the driver.

Bradley Auto Livery (later Bradley Taxi) operated out of the Palace Auto Livery building at 265 Smith from 1922 to 1947. John Blackie recalled that Bradley had a stand at Winnipeg's Fort Garry Hotel, one of a chain of prestigious hotels operated by the Canadian National Railway. The cabs were painted brown.


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