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 pulled rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, motorcycle taxis, limousines, party buses, horse-drawn carriages (including hackney carriages and caleches), and water taxis. Aircraft can also be chartered. Disputes over whether smartphone-based ride hailing services should be regulated as taxicabs has resulted in some jurisdictions creating a new classification called transportation network company.
Share taxis, paratransit, 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.
Shuttle services are also offered from many airports around the world: they take multiple independent passengers, like a bus, and usually run between two fixed areas (typically an airport and a downtown or hotel area), but will often pick up and drop off passengers anywhere reasonable within those areas, like a taxi.
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