Q2 2022

30 | Q2 2022 Mar22192 Most Innovative Private Hire Taxi Company – Bradford & Customer Service Excellence Award 2022 One of the longest serving private hire firms in Bradford, Zip invests in the very city that paved the way for its success. From sustainability initiatives to grassroots sports sponsorships, right through to driver and passenger wellbeing and safety, the firm makes its heritage the foundation of the way it does business, thus leading the way in corporate social responsibility. But how exactly did one small private hire firm grow significantly without jeopardising its commitment to the community and the environment? Ducks in a Row The saying is “don’t run before you can walk” – Zip believes the same applies to business. Starting out with only seven drivers and a small base in Bradford, the firm had no immediate plans to scale at large, instead perfecting its internal processes and the very basics of running a private hire firm. Not only did this set Zip up for the future, but it allowed it to build a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness. Director, Ken Ives says, “From the very early days, we knew we wanted to be a trusted firm and that meant getting everything in order behind the scenes. We committed to making our firm a great place for drivers to work, where they were treated fairly and with respect.” Acquisition It hasn’t always had the fresh and modern name of Zip; in 1975, the firm was called Tong & Knapton Taxis, and from 1996, Tong & Euro Cars, mainly due to the service area and location of drivers. However, with continued growth, the firm became Euro Cars in 2011, setting it on the path of acquisition. Operations Manager, Sufy comments, “The taxi industry has changed dramatically over the last few decades – and continues to yearly. Remaining competitive for drivers and passengers can be challenging and that’s why we ventured on the route of acquisitions. “As our company grew, we were able to provide great opportunities to drivers, including flexibility to work from a much larger area, with the added bonus of them choosing the shifts they wanted. Traditionally, companies require drivers to return to base after each journey to form a queuing system and adhere to a specific shift time – we don’t. Our technology allows us to fairly distribute journey requests, meaning drivers can choose their location and be allocated journeys based on where they are and how soon the passenger wants to travel.” With growth also came the opportunity to invest in its hometown and support its young people. Zip became the proud sponsor of East Bierley Cricket Club, providing funds to purchase kit and other items. It also sponsored a talented football team run from the Hand and Shuttle pub, as well as partnered with Bradford PHAB charity youth club to provide free journeys for their days out. Ken says, “Zip remains active in the community, making donations of time and funds to causes that need our support. As a firm, you’re not able to support every initiative, but it’s important to give back to people in the local community as much as possible. “During lockdown, we partnered with a number of medical organisations to transport emergency healthcare support to local hospitals and supported them with the transferring of blood samples for urgent testing.” Digital Transformation In 2000, Zip became the first company in Bradford to implement computerised booking and dispatch system, Autocab, just three years after the technology was first released. This revolutionised its operations with a positive impact on passengers and drivers, marking the start of its digital transformation. Later, it would move to an almost complete app-based operation. Going Green Sustainability and environmental impact is a huge focus in the industry but more so in Bradford due to the Clean Air Zone introduction coming into effect later this year. A proactive firm, Zip got ahead with sustainability plans and achieved almost 100% hybrid vehicle adoption – 97% of its fleet is hybrid with the remainder comprising of WAV, minibuses, and executive vehicles. With such a high adoption rate and the driver and local community in mind, Zip is also exploring options to install charging points at its base. Despite Clean Air Zone being a massive focus, reducing environmental impact goes beyond vehicle emissions. That’s why Zip’s new base comprises LED lighting, reduced power consumption, and everything cloud-based. Sufy says, “We aim to reduce our carbon footprint by at least 50% before the end of 2022. In preparation, we’re becoming paperless, only accepting hybrid vehicles, and reducing energy consumption within the office.” Passenger Safety Passenger safety is something all private hire firms need to be conscious of, especially given the horror stories circulating of late. Zip in fact puts its customer loyalty down to the steps taken to give peace of mind that journeys will always be safe. Through Zip’s app, passenger safety begins before the passenger even gets into the car. Profiles of their driver can be viewed, clearly showing vital information such as driver experience, rating, and an image so they are recognised when arriving. Also, the new ‘share my journey’ feature means passengers can send their journey to a friend or family member to see their whereabouts at all times. Additionally, the app can be used to report a problem to the operator should one occur. Indeed, private hire success really is just a Zip away, and perhaps that’s why the firm has seen such success in this year’s SME UK Transport Awards. Company: Zip Private Hire Website: www.wearezip.co.uk Zip Private Hire