Manchester’s largest taxi operator StreetCars has made another acquisition in the city with the purchase of long-standing Chorlton-based operator Goodwins Olympic, a company whose roots stretch back 45 years.
The deal is StreetCars’ second this year in Manchester, following the takeover of Scotts Taxis, based in Sale, earlier this year, and managing director Aqeel Arshad said further takeover activity was in the pipeline.
The Goodwins Olympic deal adds around 70 cars to the StreetCars’ fleet, joining around 90 added with Scotts. Arshad said the two companies would run a combined back office but would continue to use their existing trading names as these were strong in their local areas. All drivers and staff are being retained, though owner Raffi Mohammed is not staying with the business.
“We don’t want to lose the local brands, and the pricing of these companies is a bit cheaper than Street Cars,” Arshad said. However, there will be some revised branding and both companies will run on Autocab software – Goodwins Olympic was previously on iCabbi’s dispatch system.
Arashad said there was room for growth with both businesses as their pre-Covid fleets had been much larger – Goodwins Olympic had more than 300 drivers and Scotts had around 230.
The new acquisition takes StreetCars’ total fleet to more than 800 cars, including 100 at Stansted Airport, around 150 at Manchester Airport and around 400 StreetCars vehicles in Manchester city centre. The target was to reach 1,000 cars, Arshad said.
He added that he wanted to switch the entire fleet – including 350 StreetCars-owned vehicles – to electric by 2025, but at present, a lack of infrastructure was stopping that. At Stansted, new conventionally-engined Skoda cars have been acquired.
Arshad played down a recent dispute with the GMB Union over commission rates at Stansted, where StreetCars took over the official contract earlier in the year. “We’re paying the same rates as the previous operator had been paying for nine years,” he said. We hold regular monthly meetings with the drivers and they’re happy with what we’re doing.”