Yes, this is a taxi

Taxi cab as spotted by Kai Nagata

Eagle-eyed CBC reporter Kai Nagata spotted this cab, whose owner had added the word “TAXI” in black marker on top of a Telus ad.

This demonstrates probably more than anything else a flaw in this new, standardized design currently being phased in for all Montreal cabs: It’s not obvious, particularly from the side, that they’re cabs.

This is ironic, of course, because the entire point was to make cabs more identifiable. The city had considered making all cabs the same colour, but decided against that (at least for now), because it would be a huge expense to repaint every cab some hideous colour. So instead, they have a small decal printed near the back and a giant ad sign on top. The front of that ad monstrosity has a two-dimensional sign to mimic the former roof light with the logo of the cab company.

I don’t have an issue with ads on taxis, and I don’t think most people do either, but there should be a redesign to make it clear what these cars are. Including the (lit up) word “TAXI” on all four sides would be a good start.

16 thoughts on “Yes, this is a taxi

  1. wkh

    Those signs are dreadful especially in light of who gets the revenue. Considering how much we HATE those ad trucks, who the hell thought this was a good idea? Why did they need a redesign anyway? Like we couldn’t see the big blinking light on top? How about requiring decals on doors?

    1. Jean Naimard

      While an ad-truck goes about, burning gas, polluting and taking precious road space doing nothing really useful, the ad-taxi cab, while doing the same, at leasts scoots people about.

  2. Franc

    I’m sorry, but how many others vehicules on the road have some sort of advertisement in their roof? They shouldn’t be too hard to spot! I’ve recognized them since it came out!

    My motto is: If it’s not blue or red lights, and if it’s not a chicken or any type of food chain, it’s a taxi!

    1. Jean Naimard

      Whoa boy! Now what you propose is too much of a brainload for a prospective taxiload of drunk partygoers!!!

  3. Vincent Stephen-Ong

    thank you! i’ve been meaning to rant about this myself.

    also, i haven’t time to verify this, but does the new design still use the old system of “if the light is on, i’m looking for a fare” or does it redefine that? bleah.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      The small flag at the front does still light up and go off to signal if the cab is looking for a fare. The ad always stays lit.

      This means that it’s harder to tell, unless a cab is facing you, whether you can hire it.

  4. Marc

    I have to agree with Chris DeWolf of Urbanphoto. He says it’s a massive missed opportunity to design a standardized livery.

  5. Neumontréal

    I vote for the hideous colour. Give the painter industry some jobs. Surely we could dig around in the archives to find a suitable, distinctly Montréal taxi colour? Like, what was Mayor Houde’s favourite colour? Etc.

    1. Jean Naimard

      Given that he instituted the world-famous “camilliennes”, I would gather that Houde’s favourite colour was jaune pipi…

  6. mj_sklar

    Paint them all blue with a white stripe!

    Vincent Stephen-Ong has a really good point above. Do they shut off the add if the cab is in use? heheh

  7. Jean Naimard

    At a red light last night, I had a good long 30 second look at one of those newfangled taxis.

    On the back, it said “Diamond 1234” in a nondescript font.

    They could put the logo of the cab company (Diamond, Veterans, Co-Op, etc.) on the front and the back of the sign; people would then recognize them from afar.

  8. Alex Norris, city councillor for Mile End

    These new ads are ugly, ugly, ugly. They degrade the quality of our public space. Only the Tremblay administration could claim that plastering cabs with even more visual pollution than we already face in the city on a day to day basis is some kind of victory worth celebrating. I’m proud we were the only party to oppose these eyesores by voting against them in council. (Worth mentioning is that Vision Montreal backbencher Francois Robillard broke ranks and voted with Projet Montreal on this.)


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