Winnipeg Cab History / 54: Jitneys (6)
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One charming artifact of the jitney craze is a 1915 Victor recording of "Gasoline Gus and his Jitney Bus". Click here to listen:


Gasoline Gus and his Jitney Bus by Byron Gay and Charley Brown [sheet music] (Los Angeles: W.A. Quincke & Co., 1915). Available online at MIT Libraries web site (

Winnipeg Cab History / 54

Jitneys (6)

The opposition of the streetcar companies resulted in legal bans on jitneys in Winnipeg (in 1918) and in 125 other Canadian and U.S. cities.

Ironically, despite the bans, jitneys refused to die. Reincarnated as legal, flat rate cabs, the jitneys were an even more deadly threat to established taxi companies. This threat became clear in the cut-throat competition -- a "taxi war" -- that intensified through the 1920s and 1930s.

Moreover, people had become so used to the term "jitney" as symonym for "taxi" or "cab" that the Winnipeg telephone directory retained the "Jitney" classification until well into the 1920s.

Many jitney owners continued to operate much as they did before 1918, but as meterless cabs instead of jitneys. For example, the 35 members of the Jitney Despatch company reconstituted themselves as Despatch Taxi under the management of Charles Wedley.

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