Yet another article on city design by Prof. Kwon Yeong-geol. What would your ideal Korean taxi look like? No sense in doing it only on a municipal basis as often you can never tell where a city ends and another one begins here.
One of the first things people see after they arrive in a foreign country and leave the airport are the taxis. As taxis carry a core role in creating the image of a city, world-class cities have a certain colour motif on their taxis to distinguish them from regular cars. The most prominent example of this are the black cabs in London. They are a core factor in the image of London with their classic design, black body and kind service provided by the drivers. This black cab with its tall roof was designed with an eye on habitability in London where at the time the wearing of hats was common. Now it has become one of the images of England known to the public.
When you think of New York you think of rows of yellow taxis covering the road. The vehicular style of the New York yellow cab is a standard one. However, its yellow paint job contrasts with the grey concrete and dark steel buildings, making it easy to see anywhere.
How about us then? There are a total of 200,000 taxis in the country, 70,000 of which are in Seoul, but not only are they not distinguishable from the local environment but nor are they from regular vehicles. Without a special standard colour, the only thing that lets us know that this is a taxi is the íƒì‹œ (Taxi) symbol on the roof, and the red ë¹ˆì°¨ (empty car) letters lit up inside the window. Taxis need a design so that people that are not used to a place are able to easily distinguish them at a distance. Just as commercialized products are sold based on the black cabs of London and the yellow cabs of New York, our taxis need to become a symbol loved by the people of the city.