Ambitious Hull-based Drive has taken over 659 Taxis in Layerthorpe, near York, giving it access to another important Yorkshire market.
The deal adds a further 60 cars to Drive’s combined fleet, which mainly operates in and around Hull and Doncaster, taking the total close to 1,000 cars. The 659 operation has already been rebranded to Drive.
Drive has built a regional powerhouse in East Yorkshire in the past year. In January 2022 it bought two operators in Doncaster, Mick’s Mini Cabs and Alpha Mini Cabs was completed in January, and both firms have been rebranded under the Drive brand. The combined Doncaster fleet is around 350 cars.
Drive is Hull’s Largest private hire and taxi firm, created through mergers of a number of local operators. The business was initially branded Ride in 2017, but changed its name to Drive in July 2019, following a local radio competition to choose a new name.
Headed by former Amber Cars and Veezu director Chris Hall since 2017, Drive has acquired Hull operators 57 Cars, 65 Cars, 70 Cars, 706 Cars, Sutton Cars and, most recently Five O Cars in June 2020, to create a taxi firm with around 550 cars and operating across the whole city of Hull and surrounding areas.
Chris Hall said the 658 Taxis deal means the team of eight dispatchers in York will stay with the company. He said he was looking to increase the current fleet of 60 drivers.
Hall said: “I am thrilled to be launching our service in York. 659 has been a key player in the market for many years, however, we now look to take it to the next level. Feedback from customers and drivers is that historically getting a cab in York has been somewhat of a lottery and it is our mission to change this for the better.”
Hall said: “The merging of many small fleets has benefited both the drivers and customers by reducing waiting time for the customers and dead mileage for the drivers.”
He said Drive drivers in York would be paid their fares twice each week, and the longest any driver would need to wait for payment was four days. “Customers need to be able to pay by card, which many already do using our booking app, and drivers need these funds as quickly as possible,” he said.
Stephen Ashford, manager at 659 Taxis, said customers would now find it much easier to get a car. “This is the end of having to call round every fleet in the area, like a game of Russian roulette, in order to go from A to B,” he said.