A posse of homegrown gypsies are getting back to their nomadic roots by getting weary travellers off the streets and into 21st century caravan convoys.

The Str’8 Up Gypsies are a group of local guys, bent on getting friends from point A to point B safely, and in a comfortable environment, for a pre-set price.

“We’re doing this for fun,” said gypsy cab founder Travis Boa, adding the idea started through a want to provide transport in cold winter months for friends without wheels.

The gypsies started rolling on the roads of the 780 around the holiday season, and parties abound have wrought many prosperous nights, giving partiers a reliable alternative to the lure of drinking and driving.

The fleet hit the streets shortly after the Edmonton Vehicle For Hire Commission instated a $3 surcharge for all taxi customers after 11 p.m., an added expense that’s pushed budget travellers to alternative means of getting around.

Cabbies met Sunday to discuss frustrations with the commission to bring forward to council, including non-commissioned taxis, and the city’s proposal to issue more taxi licences.

So far, the gypsies are keeping advertising old school and low-key — through word of mouth, and word is spreading fast.

“We try to keep it really community-centred,” said driver Leon Hunter. “Most clients are our friends, and we’re really relaxed, as far as the whole business exchange aspect goes — it’s straight up.”

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