A new Cardiff taxi company with a difference – “Drive - Cardiff Taxis Co-operative” - is making headlines across the UK. This is not just another taxi company. The nine drivers who have come together to set up Drive as a worker-owned cooperative are shaking up the way taxi companies operate.

The trend in the taxi market in recent years has been towards larger and larger taxi companies, often linked to global Apps, where significant central administration fees are charged to the drivers. These drivers are technically self-employed, and because of the intermittent nature of the work and the large administration fees can find themselves earning below the National Living Wage. Many drivers have left the industry because of the precarious nature of the work and their inability to make a living.

Drive is trying to do things differently, by giving a quality service and a fair deal to the passenger – and a fair deal to the drivers too!  With the help of the GMB union and the Wales Cooperative Centre, the drivers have set up a not-for-profit co-operative company which is wholly owned by its members, meaning every driver will be charged the lowest amount possible in order to use their dispatch system and central overheads. In this way the drivers can make a decent living, invest in their vehicles and the company, and boost the local economy by keeping the cash recirculating in the local economy. It’s a win-win for passengers and the pioneering driver-owners.

As a co-operative firm, every driver that joins Drive gets one share of the company. This entitles them to one vote and a say in how the company works. Paul O’Hara of the GMB union and one of the Drive founders said this approach “was much better than just forming yet another company with only a few people at the top taking all the profit”. Officially registered with Co-operatives UK and the FCA, the Cardiff Taxi Co-operative is a fully constituted society and will be run under the co-operative principles defined in the International Co-operative Alliance Statement of Co-operative Identity.

While the company is still very young having launched on St. David’s Day this year, Drive is already having great feedback from their passengers and drivers. They are also open to enquiries from other drivers who want to join Drive and get the benefits of being part of this young but ambitious cooperative company.

Cooperative and Labour Party Members of the National Assembly for Wales have been keen to promote this exciting new cooperative business venture, which was supported Social Business Wales through the Wales Co-operative Centre. Social Business Wales is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government.

National Assembly for Wales Cooperative Group Chair Huw Irranca-Davies AM says “We are working with Welsh Government to promote more worker-owned cooperatives, where the money stays in the local economy, and the profits go to the employees and to invest in the company and their vehicles, which all benefits the passengers too. We want to see more companies like Drive powering the Welsh economy and putting power back in the hands of the workers. It’s what good ethical business is all about.”

So when you need a taxi in Cardiff, make sure you hail a cooperative cabby. And at the end of the journey there’s only one thing to say really, and that’s  …  “Cheers, Drive!”

For more information on “Drive – Cardiff Taxis Co-operative” contact: Paul O’Hara at cardifftaxicoop@gmail.com

Drive Taxis are available by calling 02920 140 140 or emailing cardifftaxicoop@gmail.com