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Shropshire taxi firm celebrates 20 years in business

GO-CARS-05 (1)A taxi firm in Shropshire is celebrating 20 years in business following a remarkable rise from a single taxi to becoming the largest firm in the midlands.

Go Carz was established in November 1995 under its original name of Central Taxis by Carl Wilday, who was an ice cream man during the summer and drove a taxi in the winter months.

From those small beginnings the firm has grown into the biggest private hire company in the midlands with a fleet of 700 vehicles – and is the eighth largest in the whole of the UK according to figures compiled by industry magazine, Professional Driver.

The company is currently appealing for more drivers as demand booms, and Carl predicted the popularity of taxis would continue to grow.

“The last 20 years seem to have flown by,” he said. “We had to double check the dates because it certainly doesn’t feel like 20 years.

“The great thing about the taxi trade is that it always moves with new technology – there is always something around the corner to improve efficiency or make the service better.

“For instance, we invested £200,000 into a state-of-the-art call centre in Shrewsbury a year ago which has meant we can respond much more promptly to requests from customers.

“As technology improves, the taxi industry innovates, and we now have a mobile phone app which is a popular way of booking taxis nowadays.”

Carl started Central Taxis in Telford in 1995 after he noticed the potential while driving a taxi in the winter.

“I drove an ice cream van in the summer but demand for ice creams dips somewhat once October comes around so I started driving a taxi too,” he said.

“I remember there were so many calls coming into the little taxi office where I worked that there was a big demand out there but not enough cars to do the jobs,” he said.

“So I took the plunge and set up on my own, with the ethos of being as professional as possible and always being keen to use new technology whenever we could.

“Since rebranding as Go Carz last year we are determined to deliver an even more professional service, so our drivers all wear uniforms and we are committed to developing and training our staff to give them long-term careers in the trade.”

Carl puts the growing demand for taxis down to the increase in public transport costs, and a lack of buses in rural areas.

The firm is actively seeking new drivers and has held open days to give people more information about opportunities available.

“We are now taking more than 100,000 phone calls and carrying out about 75,000 journeys a week across Shropshire and the West Midlands,” Carl said.

“Getting a taxi is often cheaper than getting the bus for a group of friends or a family, and we expect demand to continue to rise, so we would urge anyone interested in becoming a driver to get in touch.”