independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

New Government smartphone app helps taxi passenger identify 'rogue' drivers

Transport Minister Alan Kelly (right) with Gerry Murphy, CEO of the National Transport Authority.
 Picture by Shane O'Neill / Fennells.
Transport Minister Alan Kelly (right) with Gerry Murphy, CEO of the National Transport Authority. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Fennells.

A NEW app enables worried passengers to verify security details of taxi drivers before they get into the car.

 

They are being urged to refuse to travel with any drivers not signed up to the app.

The security app launched by the Government today allows a passenger to check the licence details of both the vehicle and the driver, and to see an ID photo of the authorised driver.

The passenger is then able to forward these details to a friend for added security.

The aim is to reassure taxi customers that they are travelling safely, and that there is a record of their trip.

It is compulsory for all taxi drivers to participate in the National Transport Authority app

Any drivers who refuse to sign up to the app will be fined.

Customers are being urged to walk away from drivers who are not on the system.

Launching the app today, Public Transport minister Alan Kelly said: “ We are using technology to give consumers more confidence in the taxi sector and make the public feel safer when travelling in a taxi.”

“ For drivers it will promote greater professionalism and accountability and the data is already public record but being made accessible to the public in an easy way,”

To use the app taxi customers launch it on their phone, and then input one of the following:

*   Ordinary vehicle registration number.

*  Vehicle licence number – displayed on roof-sign and on door signs;

*  Driver licence number (displayed on the ID card on the dashboard of the vehicle); or

*  Scan the QR code on the vehicle which is located on a disc on both the front and rear windscreens.

On first use, consumers will be asked to register their own contact details, to enable sending a quick message to a friend from a cab, and to assist in following up any subsequent reports they may submit.

Already, 70pc of taxi vehicles are registered with the database and members of the public are being asked to help get the remaining 30pc into the system.

Mr Kelly said people will begin walking away from taxis which return a “No details available” screen on the app.

“So I would call on drivers to ensure they are on the database. “

The NTA is enforcing the regulations by imposing the fixed charge fine of €40 on drivers who have not registered.

 Consumers can press a “Report” button option on any “No details available” screen they get on the app. This will then be followed up.

The app is free from Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play Store.

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