Business in the Community entrant – CabAbility

Business in the Community entrant – CabAbility
Posted on 17.04.24
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Business in the Community entrant – CabAbility

Ahbid Choudry set up a specialist taxi firm for people with disabilities to stop them suffering from the embarrassment he says he faced growing up.

The 43-year-old, who is in a wheelchair himself, has spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative condition that he was born with.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, Ahbid couldn’t do the things his friends and peers were doing socially because he couldn’t get a taxi to transport him in his wheelchair. There were evenings out at nightclubs like The Place and Valentinos where he simply couldn’t get home.

It was this experience and his dogged determination to make a difference to those in the same boat as himself that led to the creation of CabAbility in 2017.

Starting with just two jobs in the first year of trading the company has grown hugely. Ahbid now has 22 wheelchair accessible cars and minibuses with a fleet of drivers covering North Staffordshire and South Cheshire and more than 50 regular customers.

Ahbid, who comes from a family of taxi owners, lives in Shelton. He said: “Growing up I experienced firsthand how difficult it was to get a taxi when you’re in a wheelchair. There was absolutely no dignity in it.

“Taxi drivers wouldn’t come and get me because it would take too much time to get me in and out, which meant less time to do other jobs which they saw as costing them money.

“And when I did manage to get a taxi, there would be times where my wheelchair wasn’t clamped in correctly which was just laziness on their part and dangerous for me.

“I wanted to something to change that and give people with disabilities their dignity back. In an age where there is supposed to be equality, why should a person in a wheelchair have to wait in the rain for hours just to get home because they can’t get a taxi?

“I went to New York around 16 years ago and over there calling for a taxi when you’re disabled was quick and easy – it was like having a 4th emergency service. I don’t understand why that’s not the case here, why isn’t providing an accessible transport system for all at the forefront of people’s minds?”

He added: “I want us to make a difference to people’s lives and from the reviews we are getting I know that’s the case. It makes me and the team incredibly proud and humbled to see how we are helping make peoples’ lives that little bit easier. I might have taken this line from the Batman movie but it’s true – we may not be the hero you want but we may be the hero you need.”

All the company’s drivers are trained in how to strap different wheelchairs in safely and correctly which is essential when some wheelchairs can be as heavy as twenty stone. Drivers also have British Sign Language, autism and seizure training.

Ahbid left school before taking any qualifications and started selling windows before working in sales for Vodafone. He credits this sales background and his own personal experience as the reasons for the company’s success.

He added: “I want to expand massively and would love the company to operate nationally. I want to leave a legacy and for me that legacy is CabAbility.”
Keen supporters of charities in the local community CabAbility regularly donates to the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and sponsors events including boxing matches. Ahbid is also in the process of setting up a charity to pay for electric wheelchairs.
CabAbility has entered the Business in the Community category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.

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