I'm writing a book that takes place in New York City in 1943. I have a character that lives in Riverdale, but works in midtown Manhattan.

If one needed to travel quickly, could you take a taxi from Midtown to Riverdale and vice-versa in 1943? Is it true that taxis had territories and would not take a passenger that far?

  • I never heard of taxis being disallowed from delivering a passenger out of territory, though there may be a request for fare in advance. Taxi territories historically have only limited where a fare can be picked up, not delivered. For someone habitually travelling both directions, using both cab companies depending on direction would readily have eased all tensions due to the high profitability of the calls. Oct 21, 2014 at 22:21
  • @PieterGeerkens Interestingly I've encountered the opposite; where taxi drivers don't want to deliver a passenger to a given territory. Primarily because accepting less profitable fares from an airport to closer suburbs pushes them out of the taxi rank for other potentially more profitable long-distance fares. The principle could have applied to other non-airport taxi ranks in the 1940s due to equivalent game theory. Oct 21, 2014 at 23:36
  • The common factor in both is that the cabbie isn't likely to get a return fare back to his "base" and will have an unprofitable trip back. The reason airport cabbies refuse to take passengers to nearby suburbs is that same thing..he has to eat the trip back to the city, or get back in the long airport line for his return fare. Neither is palatable. A cabbie in 1943 might not want to go to Riverdale because the chances of finding someone heading back is very low.
    – Oldcat
    Oct 22, 2014 at 18:30


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.