Caribou is an on-demand taxi service founded in Leeds, England, with a history of over two decades. It began after Liam Crotty, and four other investors purchased the city’s former cab company, City Cabs of Leeds. By 2000, Caribou was operating 72 vehicles across six surrounding counties: West Yorkshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. In 2007 Caribou announced its intention to expand into the entire UK market by purchasing City Cars in Bradford and Pennine Radio Taxis in Halifax. Some of its major investors include Bank of Scotland Corporate Finance and Benchmark Venture Partners, and it has recently signed a deal with Mercedes-Benz. In 2015, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the German automaker Daimler AG, parent company to Mercedes-Benz, and owner of other major car rental brands like Avis and Europcar.
Caribou started as City Cabs of Leeds Ltd in 1997 when Liam Crotty and four other investors purchased the company. After struggling financially for about a year, the company was sold to its current owners in 1998. The new owners rebranded Caribou Taxis Ltd and began offering vehicles on an “on demand” basis rather than waiting for customers to call them directly for a pick-up. This is more commonly referred to as a “Dial-a-Cab” system and is now featured in several major cities throughout the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh.
In 2007 it announced its largest expansion since the company was rebranded. The plan included purchasing City Cars Ltd in Bradford for £12 million before expanding operations the following year with the purchase of Pennine Radio Taxis Ltd in Halifax. The move marked Caribou’s first entry into Yorkshire outside of Leeds and Bradford and its first venture into the Halifax region. It also gave it ownership of 65 Mercedes Vito minibusses to transport passengers throughout West Yorkshire. it plans to add 150 vehicles to its fleet over the next five years, both for expansion and replacing existing vehicles that have grown too old to be road-safe.
It has quickly become one of the largest taxi cab service providers in Britain, with nearly 450 vehicles in seven counties: West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. They also provide door-to-door services for disabled passengers, including wheelchair users and customers with pushchairs or prams. This service is offered at no extra charge to standard taxi fares.