New technology is changing the face of the taxi industry, with one Shropshire-based firm investing more than £1 million in cutting-edge systems to stay ahead of the game.
Bosses at Go Carz say more than 25,000 journeys a week – about 34 per cent of the total – are now booked through the mobile phone app and online.
And managing director, Carl Wilday, said the trend for customers to use mobile technology to book taxis was only going to increase.
“The number of people using our mobile phone app is rapidly increasing week-on-week,” he said.
“We have gone from nearly all of our bookings coming through our call centre about a year ago, to 34 per cent coming through other channels now, and we’re sure it won’t be long until that figure hits 50 per cent.”
National headlines have been made about the rise of app-based taxi firms, such as Uber, where people can only order a taxi through a mobile phone app which gets passed on to independent taxi drivers.
Firms like Uber are increasingly popular in city centres but have not yet made inroads to counties like Shropshire.
Either way, Carl is not worried.
“Competition is healthy for the industry,” he said. “Companies like Uber are clearly attractive to customers in cities but we are confident we can compete if they do start operating here.
“The taxi industry has always been fiercely competitive, which is why we have worked so hard to keep Go Carz at the forefront of new technology.
“We have invested well in the region of £1 million in recent years upgrading our computer systems, introducing satellite tracking of our cars, as well as the mobile phone app and website booking systems.
“On top of that, we have made a conscious effort to remember the good old fashioned values of customer service and professionalism, by making sure our drivers are polite and courteous and always wear the company uniform.
“We feel that by having a blend of cutting-edge technology and traditional values we will be well placed to compete with any new kids on the block like Uber.”
Go Carz has offices in Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Walsall, and has about 800 vehicles on its books.
The company was recently named as a finalist in the Shropshire Star Excellence in Business Awards alongside two other businesses in the Growth and Innovation category.
For more information, visit the website at www.gocarz.co.uk, or call 01952 501050.