Back in 1912, it was known as the Central Transfer and Taxicab Company and it is said to have begun with a single horse and buggy.
Today, the familiar city cab service, continues to serve Westchester County’s commercial hub and beyond.
The White Plains-based company, one of the oldest in town, has been ferrying passengers to their destinations for a century, with loyal fleets of drivers that have adapted and perservered, much like the city itself.
Raymond Carloni, a driver and principal of the company, said that in his 32 years in the taxi business, he has seen major transformations in the city’s landscape.
“I remember when there were dirt roads in White Plains,” he said. “Today it is very commercial—with hotels, The Westchester, and movie theaters—it really feels like a little New York City.”
According to Westchester County Historical Society librarian Patrick Raftery, White Plains was still a town and village in 1912, but was growing so rapidly that it incorporated as a city in 1915.
He said that in 1900, its population was just under 8,000, but by 1910 it had doubled and today, there are over 56,000 residents. The city's populations swells to 250,000 during the day.
Central Taxi has endured as a part of the fabric of the ever-growing city.
Generations of owner-operators have continued Central Taxi's legacy by driving the navy-blue-and-white cabs—its fleet now numbers thirteen—with each medallion and car being owned by the individual driver. The taxi company works under the auspices of the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety and abides by its rules and ordinances.
Driver Amy Braunstein, who has been driving cabs for more than 30 years, said that the name “Central Taxi” is a source of pride for its drivers. “We have a reputation of being the most experienced drivers around and we all know the area very, very well,” she said.
The flat rate for the zone within the city is currently $4.10—it goes up incrementally for further distances, according to Carloni, and he added that Central Taxi will go out of town, to the airports, or anywhere a customer needs.
The veteran driver acknowledged that the current economic climate has made things difficult for the industry. “I am hoping things pick up this year despite the competition and our smaller size,” he said.
And Braunstein noted that the taxi’s phone number: 949-0110, is one that has been around since the beginning of telephone numbers in the city. She feels that the number is part of the nostalgia that people feel for Central Taxi.
“People know us—they know we have integrity and that we are honest and knowledgeable, she said. “We are the model cab company for White Plains.”