London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3
Hackney-Coach and Cabmen.
I HAVE how described the earnings and conditions of the drivers and conductors of the London omnibuses, and I proceed, in due order, to treat of the Metropolitan Hackney-coach and Cabmen. In official language, an omnibus is "a Metropolitan Stage-carriage," and a "cab" a "Metropolitan Hackney" : the legal distinction being that the stagecarriages pursue a given route, and the passengers are mixed, while the fare is fixed by the proprietor; whereas the hackney-carriage plies for hire at an appointed "stand," carries no but the party hiring it, and the fare for so doing is regulated by law. It is an offence for the omnibus to stand still and ply for hire, whereas the driver of the cab is liable to be punished if he ply for hire while his vehicle is moving.
According to the Occupation Abstract of , the number of "Coachmen, Coachguards, and Postboys" in Great at that time was , of whom were located in England, in Scotland, in Wales, and only in the whole of the British Isles. The returns for the metropolis were as follows:—
In the number of "coachowners, drivers, grooms, &c.," was only , and the "horse-dealers, stable, hackney-coach, or flykeepers," , or in all; so that, assuming these returns to be correct, it follows that this class must have increased , or more than quadrupled itself in years.
The returns since the above-mentioned periods, however, show a still more rapid extension of the class. For these I am again indebted to the courtesy of the Commissioners of Police, for whose consideration and assistance I have again to tender my warmest thanks.
By this it will be seen that the drivers and conductors of the metropolitan stage and hackney carriages were in no less than , whereas in , including coachmen of all kinds, guards and postboys, there were only in the metropolis; so that within the last years the class, at the very least, must have more than doubled itself.