Mobile booking application GoCatch will use its $50,000 prize from the Tech23 awards to release a feature for its app where passengers can rate drivers, as the company hits back in its "war" with the NSW Taxi Council.
GoCatch facilitates taxi journeys by using a phone's GPS to connect passengers with drivers in the area, and took out the innovation excellence award. It plans to spend the prize money on development and sales
Its immediate focus to push out a feature where taxi drivers can be rated by passengers, a response to the criticism from the NSW Taxi Council that its iPhone application puts passengers at risk.
Sydney's major Sunday papers said that the NSW Taxi Council was at war with goCatch and CEO Peter Ramshaw said that the application could allow anyone to pose as a driver and take a booking.
At the time, goCatch co-founder Andrew Campbell dismissed the comments as irrational and alarmist, and 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 numbers of both the driver and the passenger.
The new feature will add another layer of accountability for drivers, he said.
"It creates an incentive to provide good customer service, and will improve the overall service levels in the industry," he said.
The app was launched in late June by founders Campbell and Ned Moorfield, and, since then, has been downloaded by over 1000 taxi drivers and "thousands more passengers".
The pair secured funding from the collaborative solutions grant from the NSW Government, which required the formation of a consortium of industry players to support the app, including Google, Nokia, Microsoft and RIM.