Waterford taxi company celebrates 21st birthday
Just about the time people started talking about the millennium bug, the O’Brien family in Waterford had more important things on their minds.
It was 1999, they had just changed their name from City Cabs to Rapid Cabs, had five taxi drivers and while they had plenty of plans, they never thought they’d reach where they are now.
Twenty-one years later they have one hundred drivers and are targeting one million trips this year.
Rapid Cabs CEO Eric O’Brien explains what it was like at the start, “I was very young and had no idea how much of a risk it was at the time, it was just this adventure my parents were launching. But as the years went by, we grew and either merged with or acquired these other well-known taxi businesses it all got very serious.
"Computerising in 2002 was very important, people thought we were mad. Why would we change from the traditional paper trail? But it set a standard for our business which would continue right through to today. We always wanted to be ahead of the curve, pushing technology in order to be a step ahead of the competition. Thinking and acting bigger than we were.”
This attitude to technology and business resulted in Rapid Cabs launching the first taxi App in the south-east in 2013, followed by an online payment system in 2015 and the launch of the Messenger booking service in 2019.
Though Eric says it’s not all about technology, “Personal relationships are important too. Our relationship with WIT Students Union and the ‘Home safe’ campaign is very important, as is our links with Purple Flag and the City centre traders. Three-quarters of our staff have been with us for over ten years and nearly 60% for over fifteen years. That kind of loyalty and experience is irreplaceable.
"We’re also developing links with other taxi businesses around the country. Very soon you’ll be able to book a taxi in Cork and Galway using the Rapid Cabs App. It’s something we’re really excited about.”
Full of ideas and plans, the next 21 years looks bright for Rapid Cabs.
Rapid Cabs is a licensed taxi dispatch operator by the National Transport Authority and all of its drivers are fully Garda vetted, insured and licensed.
Open and accessible 24 hours a day 365 days a year, Rapid Cabs also has a computerised booking dispatch system from its local taxi call centre and has installed in-car driver devices in all of its taxis to ensure as such efficiency as possible.
Its App is available for free on Apple and Android.
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