John Hertz, who later started Hertz-Rent-A-Car, founded the Chicago Yellow Cab Company in 1915. Why yellow? According to folk lore, Hertz commissioned a study by the University of Chicago to determine which color is best seen from a distance, and the result was yellow. However, others point out there were already numerous yellow cabs in other cities at the time. New York City has over 12,000 taxicabs serving approximately 240 million passengers each year.