Fylde coast taxi firms team up for the future

John Coombes
John Coombes

Two of the Fylde Coast’s best known taxi services have teamed up in a partnership that merges more than 60 years of service.

Kirkham Macs has been taken over by Fylde Executive Cars and new boss John Coombes says the industry is undergoing the biggest changes in its history.

Kirkham Macs has been the taxi service in Kirkham and surrounding villages since Macs and Kirkham Taxis merged in 1987.

Mr Coombes said the industry has seen significant changes, with the introduction of smart phones, app’s and the internet, the challenge of Uber and changes to licensing regulations seeing an upsurge in cross border hiring.

Outgoing managing director Ricky Cochrane said: “For almost a year we have been working closely with Fylde Executive Cars. Working with John Coombes, we have been helped to review our services and develop a vision for the future to ensure we can continue to provide local jobs and a swift, safe and courteous taxi service to our clients. As a result of this partnership it became clear that there were obvious synergies between the two organisations.”

From October 1, Kirkham Macs will become part of the Fylde Executive Cars Group, with both teams offices and drivers being retained. And it will move from its rear Poulton Street offices to a new location on the high street itself next year.

John Coombes said: “This merger will give the clients of both access to a fleet of over 60 vehicles, making the combined group the second largest provider of taxi and travel services in the borough of Fylde.

“As part of the merger we have already moved quickly by adding two new wheelchair accessible eight seat minibuses to the fleet, whilst at the same time introducing the environmentally friendly three passenger Smart Cars to our fleet. We will also be rolling out new technology to enable booking over the internet, with our free Kirkham Macs app launching in October.

"You can book at the press of a button and monitor its progress while in the restaurant or meeting until its arrives.

"The new App will also give you the opportunity pay by credit and debit card. It is hoped that this new technology highlights Kirkham Macs commitment to investment and to ensuring we keep at the forefront of adopting the latest technology available, setting the new standard for taxi travel in the Borough”

The taxi industry has seen major changes and new players to the market in recent years with Taxi Apps such as Uber regularly making the headlines with its outspoken CEO and scandals relating to some of its drivers. The latest blow to the Company being the revocation of it’s Operators Licence by Transport for London.

Mr Coombes added: “The astonishing rise and fall of Uber was a wake up call for the whole industry, it highlighted a demand from the client not being met by the old taxi industry which struggled to accept how the mobile telephone was going to change how people booked their taxi travel.

"It also highlighted the significant risk posed by cross border faring where members of the public had no idea who was picking them up or where the driver or car was from. By using your local taxi firm you have a point of contact and redress at all times.”