Interesting facts about Moscow cabbies

According to archival documents, the first cabbies appeared in Moscow in the sixteenth century. Over time, the Mother See grew, respectively, and the number of cabbies, whose services were willingly used by the townspeople, also increased. For example, in the middle of the seventeenth century, there were about 2, 000 cabs in Moscow, and by the end of the nineteenth century, ten times more. At that time, more than one million people lived in Moscow, according to this indicator, it was second only to St. Petersburg.

The number of cabbies in Moscow increased sharply in winter, and in summer there were much fewer of them. This was due to the fact that not only the inhabitants of Moscow, but also the peasants of the surrounding villages and villages were engaged in the transportation. Therefore, in the spring-summer season, they left the city and went home to do the housework.

It was customary to divide cab drivers into three categories: "vans", "high-spirited" and "reckless drivers". The cheapest were the services of "vaneks", the bulk of which were peasants who came to Moscow for seasonal earnings. They could not boast of a solid crew or fast trotters. But the trip was not expensive either, which attracted poor Muscovites. In addition, the "vanka" gave a significant part of their earnings for the lodging, because they did not have their own housing in Moscow.

But the "frisky" and "reckless drivers" were cabbies of a much higher rank. As a rule, they were engaged in carriage all year round. "Frisky" had excellent horses, and "reckless drivers" also had high-quality crews, often rubber-tread. They sometimes harnessed two or even three horses to the carriage. Which, of course, affected the cost of travel. The poor did not use the services of "fast" and "reckless".

In the middle of the nineteenth century, draft cabs also gained popularity in Moscow, who were engaged in the transportation of heavy loads: firewood, furniture, building materials, and so on. It was not agility that was required from the horses of draft cabs, but strength. Therefore, "lomoviks" used heavy horses in their work. By the end of the nineteenth century, more than 15, 000 people were engaged in drafts in Moscow.

There were celebrities among the Moscow cabbies. For example, in December 1901, the newspaper "News of the Day" published a note that Efim Bystryakov, who had been engaged in this fishery for 60 years, had celebrated a kind of jubilee. Bystryakov himself at that time was already 74 years old. The note noted that the veteran cab driver leads an exceptionally sober lifestyle. For six decades, Efim Bystryakov amassed enough capital for himself to buy a small estate near Moscow.

But not all cabbies showed exemplary behavior, like Bystryakov. There were also traffic offenders among them. In the same newspaper "News of the Day" information was published that cab driver # 3974 was drunk fishing and did not respond to police demands. For which he received the appropriate punishment - arrest for 14 days.

Before the revolution, cab drivers had to obtain an official permit for their fishing and paid taxes. They were given special license plates that were attached to the carriage. Until now, it happens that old numbers of cabs are found in Moscow or its environs. By the way, they are in great demand among collectors of license plates.

The street parking lot, where the cabbies were waiting for the riders, bore the loud name "exchange". Even in the famous dictionary of Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl, the word "exchange" has a double meaning. This is not only a "gathering place for merchant people", but also "a gathering place for cabs, their stop, where they waited for their riders. The most popular Moscow cabbies exchange was located on Lubyanskaya Square, next to the fountain of the Mytishchi water pipeline.

Over time, the rules for cabbies became more and more stringent. For example, age restrictions were introduced, only males who had reached the age of seventeen could become a cab driver. In the dark, they had to use special lanterns. It was not allowed to leave your crew unattended.

At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cabbies took about 20 kopecks for a trip inside Moscow. But, the price could rise or fall, depending on the demand for the services of cabbies at the moment. Vladimir Gilyarovsky in his book "Moscow and Muscovites" recalled how a cabman asked for 20 kopecks for a trip from Lefortovo to Khamovniki, but then agreed to 12 kopecks.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Moscow cabs had serious competitors. Trams first, then cars. And in the thirties, the first metro line was opened. Less and less often, passengers used the services of cabs. In 1939 there were only 57 of them in the whole of Moscow. And after a few years not a single one remained. Scientific and technological progress has done its job.