taxi-cabIf there is a truly ubiquitous transportation experience, it would be the taxicab. They began in London and Paris during the late 17th century as horse-pulled carriages and carts. They’ve been expanding across the world ever since. With this expansion comes a provocative question: which city in the world has the most taxicabs? Despite the simple nature of the question, the answer is far from easy to ascertain. It all depends on the paradigm used to approach the question. Total numbers? Cars per capita? Total usable cars? Here are four cities that are in the running for the most taxicabs within their boundaries. Some may be expected. Others will surprise you.

New York City:

The cabs of New York City are almost as infamous as the city itself. They promise to deliver a unique experience; it can’t be matched anywhere else in the world. They’ve been popularized on TV and in film. It should come as no surprise that the Big Apple is a contender for the most taxicabs. New York City purportedly has nearly 13,000 available taxis within the city. That, plus an additional 37,000 other for-hire vehicles, brings the total sum in excess of 50,000 taxis in the city that never sleeps. Considering the relatively small area of the city, the number of cabs packed in is staggering.

Lima, Peru:

Although many people in the West picture South America as lacking bustling cites and taxi services, Lima is out to prove them wrong. It will not be outdone by New York City. According to some sources, Lima has a taxi for “every man, woman, and child.” However, verification on that number is needed, especially considering that the population of Lima exceeds 6 million people. Until it’s been proven, it’s enough of a statement to put Lima on the map. The sheer possibility of that many taxis boggles the mind and earns Lima a spot on the list.

Beruit, Lebanon

Lebanon is another one of those countries where people don’t expect to see a lot of taxi culture. Yet looks can be deceiving. Although it doesn’t have the volume of New York City or (possibly) Lima, it does boast the world’s most usable cab services. Taxis often put several people into a car at once and hurry them around to their destinations. The cars aren’t as new and presentable as those in New York, but they carry one thing the bigger cities don’t: an unspoken guarantee that you will reach your destination exactly when promised.

Bethel, Alaska

This entry is going to surprise a lot of people. Alaska is barely populated at all! There are numerous counties across the nation that has larger populations than the entire state. While this is true, here’s where we look at the per capita measurements. The total population of the city is just shy of 6,000 people. In order to satisfy the needs of the citizens (since a large preponderance often take a cab, the city required a higher proportion of taxis. The total number of 70 may seem laughable compared to the bombastic claims of Lima and the sheer volume of NYC. Yet, when we look at the math, the difference is stark. Due to its population, NYC has a resident-to-cab ratio of one cab per 149 people. That pales compared to Bethel’s rate of one cab per 85 people. Which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Henry Charleston is a freelance author and blogger who focuses his energies and efforts on automobiles, car repair and upkeep, motorcycles and other like topics; though perhaps not as well known as NYC, the King County taxi service serves the greater Seattle area.

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