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Saturday 10 December 2016

How this Irish company plans to improve the safety of taxi drivers

Published 17/11/2016 | 18:56

Patrick Cotter, CEO of FleetConnect, is hoping to make taxi driving a safer experience
Patrick Cotter, CEO of FleetConnect, is hoping to make taxi driving a safer experience

An Irish company is set to improve the everyday safety of taxi drivers - while adding some free Wi-Fi for customers into the mix.

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FleetConnect, who operate Wi-Fi on buses and trains around the country, are planning on introducing the safety measures to Irish taxis.

The measures include a security camera and a panic button which drivers can use to alert passers-by if they are in danger.

“Drivers will be able to connect a security camera to multiple devices and back to our hub where we can alert the authorities,” Patrick Cotter, CEO of FleetConnect, told Independent.ie.

“There will also be a panic button feature which drivers can use to alert passers-by if they are in distress,” he continued.

The panic button, which can only be activated by the driver, uses a voice alert to say that the driver is in distress.

Mr Cotter said he hopes the camera and panic button will create a safer working environment for taxi drivers.

The product comes just months after a Dublin taxi driver was stabbed repeatedly by passengers in a horrific attack.

Thomas Vayalil, who is in his mid-30s and originally from India, was subjected to a vicious and unprovoked attack and had his taxi stolen in Swords, Co Dublin, in the early hours of a Saturday morning in September.

Mr Vyalil picked up two men outside a busy fast-food restaurant and drove the two men just a short distance when he was assaulted and stabbed a number of times.

It is believed that he was stabbed six times in the neck, chest and stomach.

FleetConnect will also provide a Wi-Fi system for taxis, and can be used by drivers in rural areas where mobile data is limited.

“Our system operates on the Paddywagon tours, which drive throughout the country," Mr Cotter added.

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