The Taxi

"I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me."

In Real Life, a common means of transportation in urban environments is to take a taxi. As a result the Taxi makes a cameo in many stories, is a plot point in several of them, and in some may be the whole point of the story. Especially likely to be seen in New York City or its fictional equivalents. A New York taxi in a movie is likely to be an old-fashioned '50s-style Checker model note .

Related to Not My Driver, Follow That Car, Failing a Taxi, and in the UK Driver of a Black Cab.

Examples of taxis as the whole point of the story:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

     Film  

  • Taxi Driver, obviously.
  • Night on Earth by Jim Jarmusch: Five people take five taxis in five different cities in the world, and the film is about how every one of them will interact with the driver.
  • DC Cab
  • Ten is a film by Abbas Kiarostami depicting ten journeys by a woman taxi driver in contemporary Tehran, and how she relates to her various passengers.
  • Another contemporary Iranian film, There Are Things You Don't Know, follows a taxi driver picking up various passengers in Tehran. Unsurprisingly, the driver likes to say "there are things you don't know".
  • Taxi, a 1998 French action-comedy film written by Luc Besson about a cabdriver who teams up with a police inspector to solve a series of robberies. It spawned three sequels.
    • Loosely adapted as a 2004 American film by the same title, starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon.
  • A large chunk of the movie Quick Change has the bank-robber protagonists trying unsuccessfully to flag down a taxi and then communicate with the driver who does finally pick them up.
  • Collateral
  • Benny The Cab in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a toon taxi that shares his views on the Brooklyn Dodgers in the middle of a Car Chase.

     Literature  

  • Taxi is a collection of short stories by Egyptian writer Khaled al-Khamissi, which all depict life in Cairo from the perspective of taxi drivers.
  • Taxi! is a novel by Helen Potrebenko about a woman taxi driver in 1970s Vancouver.

     Live Action TV  

  • Cash Cab, which is literally a game show that takes place inside a taxi.
  • Classic Work Com Taxi
  • An episode of Quantum Leap had Sam jump into the body of a New York cabbie.
  • Polish TV series from the 1980s "Zmiennicy" is basically about driving a taxi

     Music  

  • "Taxi" by Harry Chapin
  • "Taxi Story" by Eros Ramazzotti
  • "Joe le Taxi" by Vanessa Paradis
    • Also the Brazilian version: "Vou de Táxi" by Angélica.
  • "Kay" by John Wesley Ryles. The narrator moves to Nashville with his aspiring singer girlfriend. She becomes famous, dumps him, and he ends up driving a cab.
  • "Taxi nach Paris" by Felix de Luxe.
    • Since the song came out in 1984, not exactly few people actually traveled from Germany to Paris by taxi, expensive as it is; the most difficult part has always been to find a driver willing to take the long journey, even if the customer wanted to travel back with the same taxi and pay extra for the journey back. There has even been an interview with the former Felix de Luxe singer Michy Reincke which included an actual taxi ride to Paris.

     Video Games  

  • Sega's arcade, and later console, game Crazy Taxi.
  • Not quite video, but a pinball game also called 'Taxi' had this theme. Fares included Santa Claus, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Pin Bot.
  • This is the car you start with in Zombie Driver as the protagonist was a former taxi driver.
  • Quarantine
  • Teleporting lower-level players for pay is a common practice in MMOs, but City of Heroes stands out for its players having formed pro-bono "Paragon Taxi" supergroups on several servers, specifically for the purpose of making life easier for lower-level players without access to travel powers.

     Western Animation  

  • The 3-minute shorts of Yam Roll rely heavily on Yam Roll's job as a cab driver and his relationships with his coworkers. The 11-minute episodes downplay this slightly to make room for superpowered antics and giant monsters.


Examples of taxis as a plot point:

     Comic Books  

  • Top 10 has a blind taxi driver whose superpower is that he takes you where you should be, not where you want to go.

     Film  

  • Collateral
  • The Fifth Element: Korben Dallas works as a taxi driver. Not only does the film take place in New York City, but even the colors of the taxis haven't changed in centuries.
    • Interesting side fact: The movie was greenlit when Luc Besson who had written the script as a youth was working on Taxi, another movie about a Badass taxi driver.
  • In a nod to The Fifth Element (and at the same time to Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in a movie which otherwise spoofs Star Trek), Traumschiff Surprise: Periode 1 features Til Schweiger as a Badass space taxi driver.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Past drives what seems to be New York's last remaining Checker Marathon cab in Scrooged, using it so he can pick up Frank Cross from a cab stand.
  • Ghost Dad starts with the protagonist being killed in a car crash because the driver was an insane Satanist and mistook him for Satan. Of course, the iconic car is used. In the end the same driver appears in another such car.

     Literature  

  • The later books of A Series of Unfortunate Events see the orphans meet Kit Snicket in a cab, and there is another cab which might have whisked them off to a different life.
  • The protagonist in Anna Sewell's Black Beauty is a London cab horse for some time. His owner names him, "Jack".

     Live Action TV  

  • Heroes: Mohinder's day job is as a cab driver.
  • The "A Study in Pink" episode of Sherlock. It's revealed that the murderer is a cabbie who uses his cab as a cover to pick up his victims.
  • Detective Logan from Law & Order used to be a cab driver in his younger days. More than once uses his knowledge to break a suspect's alibi since he knows what the realistic drive times between locations really are and all the tricks drivers use to "fudge" records and cover up mistakes.
  • The Amazing Race uses taxis as the second most common form of transportation (after airplanes), and entire seasons have turned on teams getting good or bad cab drivers.
  • The second half of CSI NY season 4 had Mac and the team chasing the Taxi Cab killer, who modified his cab to pump exhaust into the rear of the cab and suffocate his victims.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Total Taxi in Over the Edge is essentially a live-action version of Crazy Taxi, and includes special garages set up all over the city to let you switch cabs to lose a tail and the ability to hire additional cabs to run interference and get you somewhere faster.

     Video Games  

  • Grand Theft Auto has had taxi sidequests since the third game, as well as occasional missions involving carjacking a taxi and using it for some nefarious purpose. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you can buy a cab company, and get into a violent turf-war with the other cab companies in the city.
  • The Cab in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, which drives you to all your missions (unless you're Nosferatu). For some odd reason, it's always the same taxi and the same driver that takes you everywhere. This becomes a genuine plot point later on when it turns out it's genuinely the same driver and cab, who has been looking out for you for the entire game. You get to have a conversation with him that determines your ending. It's implied that the driver is actually Caine, the father of all vampires.
  • At least two Twisted Metal games feature Yellow Jacket, a classic Checker cab armed to the teeth.
  • Immortal Souls has Quickie Cabs, where Friendly Neighborhood Vampire John works as a driver and his Love Interest Allison is the dispatcher. John trying to balance his secret life with his job without Allison finding out what's really going on—even when her and the taxi service also dragged into the middle of it still clueless—is an ongoing thing.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1 the only way to travel between the 3 locations of Lost Wages city are the old-fashioned cabs. Also they offer several creative ways to die:
    • Try to cross the street and be run over.
    • Try to leave the cab without paying (or not paying enough) and be beaten and run over.
    • Carry a bottle of wine, and the driver drinks it and crashes.
    • Tell the driver to go "home" and the game is restarted.

     Western Animation  

     Web Comics  

  • Sam and Fuzzy spent its first years with Sam employed as a taxi driver. Carlyle makes infrequent appearances even after Sam has quit, as a mysterious taxi driver to dispense characters koans about their current situation.


Examples of taxis as cameos:

     Anime and Manga  

  • Only referred to as "The Taxi Driver", an Ensemble Dark Horse character from Canaan fits in just fine in a world with explosions, superpowers, and terrorists. The perfect combination of Bad Ass and Large Ham.

     Film  

     Literature  

  • In the novel Mike Dime, one character explains that an off-duty cab is the perfect vehicle in which to tail someone. Taxis are ubiquitous in an urban environment and no one looks for a tail in an empty cab.
  • In The Pushcart War(about a feud between the truckers and the pushcart-vendors in New York) it claims that the taxidrivers were among the few in the streets not intimidated by the truckers.
  • In Manly Wade Wellman's story The Third Cry to Legba, John Thunstone hails a cab and tells the driver to take him to a certain nightclub. The driver points out that the nightclub is closed. Thunstone insists on it, and tells him, "Drive like the devil!"

     Live Action TV  

     Music  

  • It gets used in Harry Chapin's song "Sequel", which is the sequel to "Taxi".
    I thought about takin' a limousine, or at least a fancy car ...
    But I ended up takin' a taxi, 'cause that's how I got this far.

     Video Games  

  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter's London Life, working as a taxi driver is one of the jobs your character can take. It's also a prerequisite for working as a bus driver later.

    Webcomics 
  • The cabs on the 25th Floor of Tower of God are peculiar, to say the least. They consist of carriages on the base of a sled that being pulled by a seal that flies through the sky, since the residential areas tend to be on the clouds.

     Western Animation  

  • Gargoyles: Brooklyn tries hailing a taxi upon first awakening in New York after seeing humans do it. Naturally, the cab driver speeds off at the sight of him, making the other gargoyles wonder what they did wrong.
  • In the movie Curious George, Ted takes a taxi back to his apartment and offers the driver a big tip if he doesn't call him "Yellow." The driver says, "You got it, Sunshine." Another driver keeps telling his passengers that he's seen "everything" in New York, including, "Giant ape causing unintentional panic? Seen it."