As happens in Buenos Aires, Rosario and New York, Barcelona cabs are black and yellow. Wanna know why?

At the end of the 19th century, Barcelona was living golden times the explosion of the Industrial Revolution. The smoke of the textile factories covered the sky of a city, which was more and more connected thanks to the construction of new railway lines. And the emergence of the first automobiles. However, only the bourgeoisie could afford them since they were a sign of distinction. For many years these cars lived together with carriages, the “taxis” of that time, which had been working since the beginning of the century. However,  in the 1850s it became necessary to regulate traffic, especially with the design of current Eixample de Barcelona with the demolition of the Medieval walls that avoided city’s growth.

One of the first registered taxis in Barcelona, 1924.
A transport revolution in Barcelona

In 1864 Barcelona City Council established the “car-seat” concept and published a set of common rules for these first taxis, such as installing a taximeter or painting a line under the window. Rates changed according to the color. White colored were the cheapest ones (40 cents per kilometer), followed by red (50 cents), yellow (60 cents) and blue (80 cents).

Meanwhile, the city continued to grow. The 1898 Universal Exhibition  and the International Exhibition of 1929 opened Barcelona to the world. Hence, first tourists arrived. There was a fierce competition among taxi companies to satisfy them. Such that in 1934, the City Council intervened with the establishment with the establishment of a single rate and color: yellow.

The choice of this color responds to merely practical reasons. In the early 1920s, rental car owner John Hertz funded a study to determine which the most visible color was at long distances. The answer, as you may guess, was yellow. That’s why he painted his entire fleet of that tone and called his company the Yellow Cab Company. Same premise applies to New York, Buenos Aires or Rosario, cities that also have yellow taxis.