Washington Taxi Company: “Call George!”

by Paula Bosse

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by Paula Bosse

The Washington Taxi Co. wanted your business in the cut-throat world of Dallas taxi service in the early 1930s.

taxis_washington-taxi-co_dmn_112931text(DMN Nov. 29, 1931)

Washington Firm Buys Maroon and White De Luxe Fords

Elaboration of service through purchase of a fleet of Ford DeLuxe sedans painted maroon and white from the Lamberth Motor Company, Ford dealers, 3800 Main street, has been announced by W. H. Hudgins, manager, Washington Taxi Company, 1310 Commerce street, opposite the Adolphus Hotel.

“Since establishment of the company on Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday, 1929,” Mr. Hudgins said, “it has been our policy to render prompt, careful, economical taxi service. Addition of the fleet of Fords with shatterproof glass further bears out this policy. Everything in the way of honesty and integrity that the name implies is offered by the Washington taxi service. Our drivers are selected for their careful and skillful driving. They are courteous and dependable. Every driver is an escort and women and children are as safe in our cabs as they are in their own homes.”

A. H. Decker is chief dispatcher for the company with many years’ experience in the occupation. The company offers storage facilities for 600 cars. Modern washing and greasing service are available. Coupes, roadsters and sedans are obtainable in the fleet of driverless cars.

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The line “every driver is an escort and women and children are as safe in our cabs as they are in their own homes” seems suspiciously like an ad. As does most of the rest of the article. Back then a reporter need to know he could get a cab PRONTO, and if a little puff piece would assure that….

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washington-taxi_dmn_020934b(DMN Feb. 9, 1934)

An ad taken out in a special advertising section celebrating the opening of the new Ford Motors plant in Dallas. In this ad, ‘ol Fats Decker (now promoted from dispatcher to superintendent) assures the customer that the Washington taxi driver is a “settled, married man” — feel free to call him “George.”

washington-taxi-dmn_062129(DMN June 21,1929)

“George” didn’t originally drive a Ford, though — when the company opened in 1929, the cab of choice was a “new and spotless” Victory Six Dodge, with “well appearing drivers.”

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The following day, the company placed an ad that looked like a newspaper article. “I wasn’t scared once” — quite the testimonial.

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When a trip to Highland Park was quite the long haul. Their “careful, courteous, contented” drivers were “always ready to roll.”

washington-taxi_dmn_102632(DMN, Oct. 26, 1932)

An interesting Dallas-centric ad, touting the fact that their entire Ford fleet was “assembled in Dallas by Dallas labor.” Also: “Every nickel invested in Washington Taxis is Dallas money. We are dependent upon the support of Dallas people for our success and we are grateful — that’s why we practice what we preach — we make our money in Dallas and we spend our money in Dallas!”

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It took me a second to realize that the “driverless cars” mentioned in the top article meant “rental cars.”

The taxi industry in Dallas at this time was extremely competitive and pretty cut-throat (as I assume it’s always been). This was during the period when the city had yet to really regulate the industry and there were all sorts of illegal and unlicensed “jitney” operations, unbonded drivers, intense fare wars (one report had one of the cab companies charging only a dime!), and repeated threats by the city and the police to shut down the ability to cruise for fares because of increased traffic congestion, especially on Elm, Main, and Commerce. At least the Washington drivers were, according to their ads, “well-paid and contented men who take pride in their work.” All right, then! Thanks, George.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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