On Sept. 14th 2003 David Tharp reported  the following in the New York Post column The Bulls Eye:


Who says banks won’t give you a free ride?

At least two banks here already offer free ATMs for non-customers – but the big global bank HSBC is upstaging that generosity with an even better deal.  A restored Checker cab is roving Manhattan streets, and if you’re lucky enough to hail it – and show your HSBC bank card – the driver will take you anywhere in Manhattan for free.

The cab is painted white with the red logo of HSBC, and is the only completely refurbished 1981 Checker on the streets of Manhattan.

The driver, billed as the world’s most knowledgeable cabbie, is Johnnie Morello of Queens, who beat out hundreds of other cabbies for the job. He won’t pick up non-HSBC fares.”

Eight years later Michelle Young wrote in her blog on Untapped Cities the following

“Looks like the HSBC BankCab is back with a new spin. I saw it drive by Lincoln Center yesterday and couldn’t believe there wasn’t more online about it. The vintage HSBC BankCab is free for HSBC customers, runs on compressed natural gas, has its on Twitter account @HSBCBankCab, and has a driver who comes replete with fun New York City facts.

According to the HSBC website, seasoned Bronx-born driver Johnnie Morello “can be recognized wearing a red sportcoat and driving the well-known red and white, HSBC branded, vintage New York checkered cab. Johnnie loves to learn about his passengers and surprises them with his knowledge of all that New York City and HSBC has to offer.”  There’s room for four, including fold down seats. Signs inside say no fares, no tipping. How’s that for a change?

Amazingly, the HSBC BankCab has been around for eight years. According to Drew Neisser, CEO of social media marketing firm, Renegade, “The reason the HSBC BankCab is still on the road after [eight] years is that the value exchange is extraordinary. First, people love to see an old Checker driving around the streets. Second, when they get in the BankCab, it is a refreshing experience complete with a truly knowledgeable cabbie. Third, HSBC customers get a free ride when engenders brand love. We recently renovated the HSBC BankCab, enabling it to run on compressed natural gas, thus making it a more “green” experience. As street programs go, this is about as good as it gets.”

I was about to flag the cab when someone asked me where 7th Avenue was. The light turned green as I answered and the taxi was on its way. The price to pay for being a good samaritan…There’s only one in the city so keep your eyes peeled!”

Last Twitter Post?

Six years later, the big question is: is the HSBC cab still running?  The last piece of photographic evidence can be found on Twitter.  A photograph was posted as a tweet on April 23rd 2014, almost four years ago?  What happened, where did it go, this writer can not find any shut down notices?

If you have any information please forward at the email on the top of this page.