The first taxi company in NYC was started in 1897 with 12 electric hansom cabs. By 1899, the company had about 100 electric cars running in the city. But in 1907 a fire destroyed 300 of company cars, causing the company to shut down.
As a result, horse drawn cabs became a primary means of transport in the city.
But that same year, a 30 year old business man by the name of Harry Allen imported 65 gasoline-powered cars from France, after a frustrating experience where he was charged about $125 in todays money for a .75 mile ride.
He painted his cabs red and green, but then repainted them yellow to be more visible from a distance. By 1908, his company had 700 cabs running in the city.
Note: photo is of a woman in a taxi in NYC, 1910.