Checker Cab is proud to provide premier taxi service for Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL. Our taxi drivers are professional, courteous and keep their vehicles clean. We are the only taxi company in Columbus, GA to have state of the art GPS dispatch system with very efficient friendly dispatch personnel ready to take your call 24 hours per day 365 days a year. We accept reservations via phone 706 322-1111 or fill out our reservation form here on this website. Checker Cab was founded 99 years ago and continues to operate this day in Columbus, GA. The article below was written to give information about the history of Checker Cab.
Around the early 1900s taxi cabs began appearing in major cities (mostly Chicago) of the United States. There were plenty of train stations during this time but a growing demand existed for private transportation to local stores in these heavily populated cities. Only one taxi company offered rides to most businesses around town because of the kickbacks between the businesses and taxi company.
Only two taxi cab companies were operating in Chicago by the year 1920 which were Checker Taxi and Yellow Cab. John Hertz founded Yellow Cab in 1910 and by 1917 started his own cab manufacturing company. Checker Cab, owned by George Hilsky, primarily used Mogul Cabs manufactured by Commonwealth Motors because it did not have its own cab manufacturing company. Morris Markin, borned in Russia, owned Markin Automotive Body and manufactured car bodies for Commonwealth Motors who in turn sold the vehicles to taxi cab companies under the name Mogul. Markin loaned his friend $15,000 who owned Commonwealth Motors. After the $15,000 was gone, Commonwealth was about to go out of business when they received an order from Checker Taxi Cab. Markin Automotive Body acquired Commonwealth Motors because of the unpaid debt and started Checker Manufacturing (based in Joliet, Illinois) in order to fulfill the order. After manufacturing vehicles for approximately two years in Joliet, the automotive plant was moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where it continued to manufacture reliable vehicles for Checker Cab.
Around 1924 Markin started buying operator’s licenses and subsequently acquired full control of Checker Cab by 1937. Markin required cab drivers wear a uniform and open doors for customers. Checker was the first taxi company to have black cab drivers and instructed them to pick up everyone and not just white people.
In the 1920s taxi competition in Chicago for fares was so bad cab drivers started fighting between each other. The altercations between Yellow Cab and Checker was so extreme that Markin’s home was fire bombed which led him to relocate Checker Manufacturing to Michigan.
Mr. Hertz sold to Parmelee Transportation his controlling shares in Yellow Cab but later in 1929 sold his remaining Yellow Cab shares to Markin after his race horses were killed at his stables in a suspicious fire. Not long after this happens Markin acquired controlling interest in Parmelee. By 1940 Markin now owns the largest taxi cab companies in the United States.
Terminal Taxi Cab was created in New York City by General Motors and also started Yellow Coach as a subsidiary until 1943 when Yellow Coach merged with GMC Truck Division. Fighting started again in New York City between Terminal Taxi and Checker Taxi. This was resolved by New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker who created New York Taxi Commission which issued limited cab operator permits. These permits called taxi medallions required all cabs to have five passenger seating which benefited Checker Taxi. For the next 30 years Markin created Checker Cab companies in several major U.S. cities.
Errett Lobban (E.L. Cord) who owned a holding company of around150 transportation companies purchased Checker Cab Manufacturing from Markin however in 1936 Markin bought it back from E.L. Cord. Later on Mr. Cord acquired majority shares in Checker but retained Markin as Chief Executive Officer.
New York City’s last Checker Cab driver, Earl Johnson, failed his safety inspection in 1999 and was taken off the streets after 993,000 miles and 21 years. He chose to retire early than drive other types of car. His taxi vehicle was sold at auction for $134,000 which was $125,000 more than what he paid for it in 1978 brand new.
We are keeping the historic tradition of Checker Cab alive by continuing to offer premiere taxi service for Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL. Again, we have the only GPS dispatch system in town with dependable and reliable drivers. Call us at 706 322-1111 and experience taxi cab service at its best!
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