Taxi body's app reaction alarmist: goCatch

Taxi body's app reaction alarmist: goCatch

Summary: The co-founder of taxi mobile application goCatch has hit back at criticism by the NSW Taxi Council that its iPhone application puts passengers at risk.

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The co-founder of taxi mobile application goCatch has hit back at criticism by the NSW Taxi Council that its iPhone application puts passengers at risk.

The goCatch application facilitates taxi journeys by using a phone's GPS to connect passengers with drivers in the area, but it has come under fire from the NSW Taxi Council for safety concerns.

In the Sunday Telegraph, NSW Taxi Council CEO Peter Ramshaw said that regulation requires authorised dispatch networks to provide drivers who have passed checks for criminal history and have valid drivers' licences, and are operating well maintained and registered taxis.

He said that the application, however, could allow unauthorised drivers to take bookings.

"If unauthorised networks are dispatching taxis, passengers cannot guarantee that the driver has been authorised by NSW Transport," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

However, in a statement, goCatch co-founder Andrew Campbell dismissed the comments as irrational and alarmist, and said that the entrenched players in the industry were threatened by new technology.

He said that the app reduces the possibility of anonymity as it tracks the pick-up and drop-off points in a journey, and also captures the phone number of both the driver and passenger.

"[With the existing booking networks] there might be no record of the journey taking place," Campbell said. "With goCatch, both the driver and passenger have been identified by their phones, and there is a record of location-based data."

The app is supported by a grant from the NSW Trade and Investment's Collaborative Solutions Program.

The NSW Taxi Council wrote to the NSW Government and asked the Minister for Transport to review how the regulation applies to these types of booking services.

It pointed to New York, where unregulated services are illegal.

Campbell told the government that using goCatch is comparable to hailing a cab off the street.

"We're willing to work with the government and any authority or regulatory body, to improve the safety in the taxi industry," he said. "We believe our technology has the ability to make hailing a taxi on the street safer."

He said goCatch hasn't been approached by the Taxi Council to discuss the safety concerns.

Topics: Apps, Government, Government AU, Start-Ups

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4 comments
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  • is the taxi council an independent body fearlessly protecting consumer itnerests? is it an industry body looking after its monopolists? does the government ensure consumer interests are paramount when such bodies are created? is it under the thumb of taxi monopolists? we need answers to these before we can believe any of these stakeholders do not have vested interests which taint their attempts to denigrate new shoots of innovation.
    Ken Dorge
  • Problem with GoCatch is they ignore the regulatory bodies. There are reason's the rules are in place. They're to protect the drivers and the passengers. With no driver validation anyone could pose as a taxi driver using there app. You can even have drivers who have lost their license using the app. The moment someone is kidnapped or killed using the app everyone will complain and ask for more regulation. Problem is GoCatch are not following the regulations in the first place.
    Derek@...
  • I think there are a couple of points here:
    1/ the driver has the same obligations under the law that the fleet operators do
    2/ the driving of taxis by unauthorised drivers is an everyday occurrence (illegal but it happens) within the current fleet system
    3/ hitchhiking is dangerous for a variety of reasons but it is not illegal - if people can't tell the difference between a vehicle that's a taxi and one that isn't, then caveat emptor seems like a sensible strategy for thinning their ranks.
    4/ GoCatch will get nowhere unless they can offer a better and more convenient service than the taxi fleets. The taxi fleets are in the best possible position to offer the best service to both their customers and their drivers - if they are not doing this, then GoCatch will either send them broke or cause them to pick up their act.
    Rob of Adelaide
  • Ah yes government are as useless as **** on a bull. First the give you a grant to start the company, then they want to shut you down. Heres an idea get rid off government and let people get on with it. Ive seen a few similar apps in the US namely Uber who are killing it.
    porsche-87cf1