The Taxi Lady Takes the Road

In 1923, more women were beginning to work as New York City taxi cab drivers.

The first licensed female NYC cab driver was Gertrude Jeannette in 1942. However, the first unlicensed female NYC cab driver was decades prior: Wilma K. Russey in 1915.

During the years in between, more women were starting to drive cabs in the city… but many men didn’t take too kindly to the change, as the New York Times Magazine reported:

The Police Department itself has so far recognized the prospect of a struggle that the girls have been instructed officially, “If any of the boys run into your mud guard or cut your tires, don’t try to cut back. Just take the number and report to me.”

One man warned that these women should be careful what they wish for:

Or, to express it in the rude words of a hardened male taxi driver, “What’d they think this is? A joy ride? Taxi-ing’s a tough job. Always trying to please the public and you can’t please nobody, and them holding back on the tip and traffic cops bawling you out. These girls ‘ull get more’n they’re lookin’ for, and then some.”

As of the mid-2010s, at least, women comprise about 1% of medallion-holding NYC taxi drivers.

The Taxi Lady Takes the Road
Published: Sunday, April 22, 1923

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