Winnipeg Cab History / 85: Summing Up (2)
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A typical jitney in 1915. See Jitneys.


1915. 1913 Ford Touring car used as a Jitney owned by John Dykes. Archives Manitoba, Transportation - Automobile 23.

Winnipeg Cab History / 85

Summing Up (2)

The taxicab was the first transporation mode to challenge the horse cab in its own market, but private car ownership probably did as much or more to make horse cabs and livery stables obsolete. Private cars also had a serious impact on taxis and streetcars.

Jitneys showed that anyone could get into the cab business without the need for purpose-built cars, taximeters or other expensive outlays. Their cheap fares opened up a market for the meterless taxis that emerged after jitneys were banned.

In the face of competition from meterless cabs, old-line companies appealed for legislative relief. Appalled by the effects of cut throat competition, legislators created a regulatory regime designed to impose stability on the cab industry.

The limit of 400 cabs and the transferrability of cab licenses made licenses a lucrative investment. The cost of licenses became a serious barrier to entry into the cab business.

The advantages of larger fleets led small operators to band together into associations, a tactic pioneered by the jitneys. This led to the apparent consolidation of cab companies in Winnipeg, from over 50 in 1938 down to three large fleets (Unicity, Duffy's and Spring) in 2012. However this apparent consolidation is deceptive since the two largest companies, Duffy's and Unicity, accounting for more than three quarters of Winnipeg's cabs, are made up of a multitude of independent taxi operators.

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