A taxi, also known as a cab or a taxicab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice. This differs from public transport where the pick-up and drop-off locations are decided by the service provider, not by the customers, although demand responsive transport and share taxis provide a hybrid bus/taxi mode.
There are four distinct forms of taxicab, which can be identified by slightly differing terms in different countries:
- Hackney carriages, also known as public hire, hailed or street taxis, licensed for hailing throughout communities
- Private hire vehicles, also known as minicabs or private hire taxis, licensed for pre-booking only
- Taxibuses, also come in many variations throughout the developing countries as jitneys or jeepney, operating on pre-set routes typified by multiple stops and multiple independent passengers
- Limousines, specialized vehicle licensed for operation by pre-booking
Although types of vehicles and methods of regulation, hiring, dispatching, and negotiating payment differ significantly from country to country, many common characteristics exist. Disputes over whether ridesharing companies should be regulated as taxicabs resulted in some jurisdictions creating new regulations for these services.