Cab vs. Taxi

What's the Difference?

Cabs and taxis are both modes of transportation that provide a convenient way to travel from one place to another. However, there are some differences between the two. Cabs are typically privately owned vehicles that are available for hire through a cab company or app-based services. They are often more luxurious and comfortable, offering amenities such as air conditioning and entertainment systems. On the other hand, taxis are usually owned by a taxi company and are easily recognizable by their distinctive colors and signage. Taxis are more commonly found in urban areas and are regulated by local transportation authorities. While both cabs and taxis serve the same purpose of transporting passengers, the level of comfort, availability, and regulations may vary between the two.


Photo by Nitin Shivaprasad on Unsplash
DefinitionA vehicle for hire with a driver, available for short-term use.A vehicle for hire with a driver, available for short-term use.
OriginDerived from the French word "cabriolet".Derived from the French word "taximètre".
UsageCommonly used in North America.Commonly used in Europe and other parts of the world.
ColorNo specific color requirement.Often painted yellow in many cities.
AvailabilityCan be hailed on the street or booked through an app.Can be hailed on the street or booked through an app.
RegulationRegulated by local transportation authorities.Regulated by local transportation authorities.
TypesMay include sedans, SUVs, vans, or other vehicle types.May include sedans, SUVs, vans, or other vehicle types.
PaymentAccepted payment methods may vary (cash, credit cards, etc.).Accepted payment methods may vary (cash, credit cards, etc.).
Photo by Lexi Anderson on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to transportation services, two common options that come to mind are cabs and taxis. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the attributes of cabs and taxis, highlighting their similarities and differences to help you make an informed choice for your transportation needs.

Definition and Purpose

A cab, short for "cabriolet," is a type of vehicle that can be hired for transportation purposes. It is typically a sedan or a hatchback car that is driven by a professional driver. On the other hand, a taxi, also known as a "taxicab," is a vehicle that is available for hire by the general public, usually distinguished by a sign on the roof. Both cabs and taxis serve the purpose of providing convenient transportation to passengers who require a ride from one location to another.

Ownership and Operation

One of the key differences between cabs and taxis lies in their ownership and operation. Cabs are often owned by private individuals or companies who employ professional drivers to operate them. These drivers are typically licensed and undergo background checks to ensure passenger safety. Taxis, on the other hand, are commonly owned by taxi companies or cooperatives. The drivers of taxis are either employees of the company or independent contractors who lease the vehicle from the company.

Availability and Accessibility

When it comes to availability, taxis are generally more prevalent in urban areas and are easily found at designated taxi stands or hailed on the street. They often have a distinctive color or livery that makes them easily recognizable. Cabs, on the other hand, may not be as readily available as taxis. They are often pre-booked in advance through a phone call or a mobile app, making them a popular choice for scheduled trips or airport transfers.

Fares and Pricing

Another important aspect to consider when comparing cabs and taxis is their fare structure and pricing. Taxis typically operate on a metered system, where the fare is calculated based on the distance traveled and the duration of the ride. This ensures that passengers are charged accurately for their journey. Cabs, on the other hand, often have fixed fares or predetermined rates for specific routes or destinations. This can be advantageous for passengers who prefer to know the exact cost of their trip upfront.

Vehicle Condition and Comfort

Both cabs and taxis strive to provide a comfortable and safe ride for their passengers. However, there can be variations in the vehicle condition and comfort level between the two. Taxis are typically newer vehicles that are regularly inspected and maintained to meet safety standards. They often offer additional amenities such as air conditioning, GPS navigation, and payment options. Cabs, on the other hand, may vary in terms of vehicle condition and amenities provided, as they can be owned by individuals who may have different standards of maintenance and comfort.

Regulations and Licensing

Regulations and licensing requirements are crucial aspects of the cab and taxi industry to ensure passenger safety and fair practices. Taxis are subject to strict regulations imposed by local transportation authorities. These regulations often include vehicle inspections, driver background checks, and adherence to specific standards of service. Cabs, although also subject to regulations, may have more relaxed requirements depending on the jurisdiction and the type of cab service being provided.


In conclusion, while cabs and taxis share the common goal of providing transportation services, there are notable differences between the two. Cabs are often pre-booked and may have fixed fares, while taxis are readily available and operate on a metered system. Taxis are typically owned by companies, while cabs can be owned by individuals or companies. Both options strive to offer comfort and safety to passengers, but the condition and amenities provided may vary. Understanding these attributes can help you choose the most suitable option for your transportation needs.

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