A vehicle for hire is a vehicle providing shared transport, which transports one or more passengers between locations of the passengers' choice (or close to it).
Vehicles for hire can be distinguished from conventional modes of public transport in that vehicle for hire passengers are more or less free to choose their starting and ending locations (point of origin and destination), whereas in other modes, the passenger must choose from a limited selection of locations designated by the service provider. This mode should also be distinguished from hiring a vehicle for driving oneself (see car rental and carsharing).
The most common vehicle for hire around the world is the taxicab; other vehicles for hire include limousines, party buses, rickshaws, auto rickshaws, motorcycle taxis, velotaxis (pedicabs), horse-drawn carriages (including hackney carriages and caleches), and water taxis. However, aircraft can also be chartered (see Air charter).
Jitneys, paratransit, share taxis, demand responsive transport, public light buses and shuttle buses are hybrids - halfway between taxicabs and buses - and operate along somewhat fixed routes, with some flexibility in where passengers may be picked up or dropped off. Some of these routes may be very long, as in New Zealand.
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice. In modes of public transport, the pick-up and drop-off locations are determined by the service provider, not by the passenger, although demand responsive transport and share taxis provide a hybrid bus/taxi mode.
There are four distinct forms of taxicab, which can be identified by slightly differing terms in different countries:
Although types of vehicles and methods of regulation, hiring, dispatching, and negotiating payment differ significantly from country to country, many common characteristics exist.