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Thurso-based Highland Cabs voted taxi service of the year

By Jean Gunn

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The team from Highland Cabs, Thurso, picking up their award. From left Paul Reid, Monica Stankevičiūtė, June West and Robert Connelly.
The team from Highland Cabs, Thurso, picking up their award. From left Paul Reid, Monica Stankevičiūtė, June West and Robert Connelly.

Local business owner Paul Reid is delighted that Highland Cabs has come out top in the Scotland Prestige Awards.

His team have been going the extra mile to ensure customers are given an excellent experience by keeping up with modern trends, including text updates, an innovative website, local tours, and a new 24 hour service.

After picking up the trophy from the special presentation at Norton House Hotel, Edinburgh, at the beginning of the month, the winners had to keep things quiet until the official announcement last Friday.

"It is fantastic news – it feels satisfying that me and the team have done what it take to keep the business alive," said Paul. "It has been quite incredible, especially with the challenge of getting through the pandemic. We are really grateful – I am very pleased."

Commenting on what happened after they got nominated, he said: "We got contacted by the Scottish Prestige Awards, they took some info and their judges got back to us to say we had won the award for best taxi service. I thought that was absolutely amazing – this time it is an official trophy. The award presentation was a fantastic experience."

The taxi service, which originated in Inverness, has been running in Thurso for six years at its base at 52 Princes Street. At moment the business operates four vehicles and has a team of three drivers.

Paul continued: "Things are going nice and steady – the pandemic was a set back but a couple of months after the first lockdown we got ourselves trying a service 24 hours a day."

The cabs use a booking system which can be done online or through a mobile app and they offer card and other non-cash payment systems. Lots of photos and videos of the tours are posted on the website.

Paul explained that some people had been feeling very stuck during lockdown and felt that when they were able to reopen a 24 hour service would be a good thing. This has allowed them to help someone with asthma after they got in touch with them.

On another occasion when the business owner was on night shift himself he came across two horses in the Watten area which had escaped and he stopped to try and get them safely off the road.

"The majority of the feedback on Facebook has been five-star," he said. "We are not just carrying passengers, we have also installed bike racks.

"We do what we can – we are also putting Thurso on the map as well, especially the NC500 which they (customers) see on the website. We have our own tour guide driver, he is really, really good at what he does. I am quite proud of what we are doing, we make sure we have an excellent customer service."

Texts to customers telling them that a car is on the way and when it has arrived are all part of the service. The alerts have been well received. "A lot of customers are absolutely delighted to be able to get the alert when a taxi arrives," said Paul. "They are getting peace of mind, especially if they have a tight train connection."

The Scotland Prestige Awards 2021/22 celebrates small and medium-sized enterprises consisting of localised businesses and sole traders that have thrived in their highly competitive community and have proven their success.

Over the past year 4781 nominations were received by the team at Prestige Awards from industry experts, readers, and satisfied customers.

Winners were chosen on their marketing and branding, business growth methods, customer experience, and approach to new ideas.

Awards judge Andrew White, commented: “All winners demonstrated a strong presence in showing motivation and drive within their industry. We are keen to see how they will continue to succeed in the future."

The latest nominations featured plenty of award-winning options to pique interest, ranging from a burlesque academy to pole aerial fitness, and Scotland’s world-famous whisky bars.

The awards team found it had been heart-warming to see local and independent businesses rally together in a tremendous show of community spirit.

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