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Taxi, car service, jitney, livery ... what's the difference?

Dan

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We all know that a taxi or cab is, I think. However, I'm cluseless about the differences between them and a car service, jitney and livery.

In the popular media -- television and movies -- I've seen lots of references where someone will use "car service" in the same context as "taxi," especially where the story takes place in New York. "I'm going to catch a car service to LaGuardia." However, nobody catches a car service in the street.

In New York State, there are special license plates marked "LIVERY". At my first job, in an inner city supermarket in Buffalo, several cars with LIVERY plates were parked in front, all soliciting prospective passengers. Any time someone walked out, the drivers would all shout "LIV-A-RUH! LIV-A-RUH!" A few would shout "JIT-NAH!", which I assume means "jitney." Regular cab drivers well yell "HAAAAAACK!", which was amusing, but I just know that's slang for "taxi."

I think a jitney is essentially car pooling for profit; an informal and often illegal hybrid of taxi service and public transit. Howerver, to those living in taxi-filled cities like New York ... what's the difference between a taxi, car service, jitney and a livery?

Bonus qustion ... what's the deal with South African minivan taxis? Articles I've seen refer to them in an entirely different context than a cruising North American cab,a s if they're ... well, jitneys.
 

Gedunker

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Atlantic City had jitneys when my sister lived there many years ago. Basically converted bread / delivery trucks, they were independently owned but followed the same fixed routes with irregular headways. Riding them was a matter of taking your life in your own hands -- many of the drivers were wildmen 8-!
 
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In my hometown of Omaha, a jitney is an unlicensed (meaning by livery ordinance or something) cab driver. Someone can look up a "delivery service" in the phone book and catch a jitney anywhere for about $5 - $10. A very convenient solution to be stranded after 11PM when Metro Area Transit ends service. It's safer than the 'hack' as described below.

A 'hack' in Baltimore is someone who drives around town looking for potential fares. He/She is not affiliated with any cab/taxi companies. Someone looking ofr a 'hack' will stand on the sidewalk and move the arm up and down with their index finger pointing to the ground. Safety is definite concern. It's very dangerous for both parties. Fares are usually $5 - $10.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Jitney. Unlicensed, depending on where you are going its usually a flat fee, usually you can also see the street through the bottom of the rusted out floor. :-c
 

Mz.Lynz

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I agree with above info for Omaha.

I also live in Omaha. The above info about a hornet service/hornet driver/ hornet stand is correct. I have only used one company (North dide), and they seem to be very quick to arrive, gooprices, they vary by which driver is available and how far you want to go. They do not seem to want to offer rides if you have more than 1or 2 people going, probley for safety reasons, I do not bblame them. Only 1 problem I ever had was a guy driver repeatedly calling my phone after rifmde was over for about the next week. While I was in car on way home, he made a strange comment: " I don't have to worry about him calling, or blowing up my phone later on, b/c he is not a weirdo like that". That was kinda spooky. I should have reported him, but never did. Spookiest part was he dropped me off at my house... I never saw him again, thankfully though. Other than that 1 bad incident, I have always got good , fast service from them & I have used them numerous times for last few years. I woils never recommend anything like that unless you make sure that someone knows where u are/going to& either snap pic, or take note of plate #& send it to Ur trusted person immidiately when getting into the vehicle. Just my recommendation, but could be very useful, incase anything dangerous was to happen.
 

Mz.Lynz

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oops, correction to my reply above...

Auto correct always changes my words. ... In above comment about Omaha, it says- "hornet service/hornet stand/hornet driver". It should have said "JITNEY" instead of hornet; Hornet driver/service/stand. Sorry about that.
 
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