Taxi app founders dispute safety claims

GoCatch, the smartphone application that makes it easier to catch cabs is setting commuters up for an unsafe ride, according to the NSW Taxi Council.

Andrew Campbell, one of the founders of the application that connects taxi drivers directly with passengers via their mobile phone handsets, has dismissed the Councils allegations.

The response follows the statement made by Peter Ramshaw, CEO of the NSW Taxi Council, in the Sunday Telegraph’s 31 July edition.

“If unauthorised networks are dispatching taxis, passengers cannot guarantee that the driver has been authorized by NSW Transport,” Ramshaw said.

However, Campbell believes that the application enhances safety, and that the Council’s remarks reflect a concern about the shifting dynamics within the taxi industry.

“There is no doubt apps like goCatch will see control shifting from entrench players… I can understand why they are concerned, but raising safety as an issue isn’t rational and smacks of alarmism.”

Campbell also argues that there are no guarantees when the public picks up a taxi on the street.

“You can’t be sure until you are in the taxi if your driver is registered. What’s more, there might be no record of the journey taking place. With goCatch both the driver and passenger have been identified by their phones and there is accurate record of location based data.”

Arguing that the application substantially reduces the opportunity of an attack either by the driver or passenger, Campbell believes goCatch moderates the possibility of anonymity, rather than enhancing risks.

“You have to consider these accusations in light of the taxi industry inquiry in Victoria, which is looking at, amongst other things, innovation and the structure of the industry. It looks to me like they are vested interests keen to avoid progress.”

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