When was the first taxi in New York City?
Horse drawn carriages were used as a taxi service in New York City until near the end of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century, automobiles began to appear on city streets throughout the country. It was not long before a number of these cars were hiring themselves out in competition with horse-drawn carriages. Although these electric-powered cabs were slightly impractical (with batteries weighing upwards of eight hundred pounds), by 1899 there were nearly one hundred of them on New York's streets. Many believed that these new cabs would provide a cleaner, quieter, and faster way to travel. But progress has always had its price, and on September 13th of that year, a sixty-eight year-old man named Henry H. Bliss was helping a friend from a street car when a taxi swerved and hit him, giving Bliss the dubious distinction of being the first American to die in an automobile accident, and giving cabbies a first glimpse at a reputation they would soon solidify.