The first Yellow Taxicab Company was established in 1912 in New York City, and was so named after the owner repainted his fleet of cabs from green and red to bright yellow. Two years later, the Yellow Cab Company of Chicago opened, using a distinctive orange-yellow color.
The modern taxicab industry had its start in 1907, when New York businessman Harry Allen became so enraged by a hansom cab driver gouging him for a fare that he vowed to start a competing company that would provide service at honest rates. He founded the New York Taxicab company and imported hundreds of automobiles from France. Five years later, he repainted his fleet and became the operator of the first Yellow Taxicab Company, although other operators had used the color before.
Over the decades, many different Yellow Cab companies have sprung up, each based in a different city. The popularity of yellow as a fleet color is attributed to how it makes the cabs stand out in traffic. The Chicago Yellow Cab magnate John Hertz claimed that a scientific study had proven that his shade of yellow was the most noticeable. He later formed a company to produce yellow taxis and sell them to other operators, and eventually sold that business to General Motors.