Australian company ingogo has responded to claims made by the NSW Taxi Council that taxi booking services like ingogo are "rogue apps" and "unsafe", saying that these claims are misleading and were made to protect "Cabcharge's virtual monopoly interest" in its taxi bookings and payments system.
The ingogo app in action.
Ingogo is a Sydney-based service that pairs a customer directly with a taxi driver, and includes a payment system built into the service; therefore, cutting the taxi networks out of the transaction entirely.
"We are being used as scapegoats because we threaten the Cabcharge business model," said ingogo founder Hamish Petrie in a statement. "There's nothing unsafe about ingogo. The fact we have more than 60,000 users tells the real story of what people need and want from the taxi industry."
This comes a day after the NSW Taxi Association partnered with Crime Stoppers in a new campaign designed to warn against smartphone apps and services created outside of the established taxi industry.
"[This campaign] is aimed at educating people about the risks and dangers of travelling outside the regulatory protection offered by taxi networks," said Mr Peter Price, CEO of Crime Stoppers. The NSW Taxi Council does not directly name "rogue" apps in its warning, but says that the warning extends to any apps outside of the ten network apps it recommends.
Ingogo contests that it service is unsafe, and says that its electronic record keeping for all trips makes it safer than hailing a taxi. For every transaction, ingogo maintains the details of the driver, taxi plates, payment records, plus pick-up times and drop-off locations. All drivers wishing to participate with ingogo need to be validated and ingogo keeps a record of all driver licenses. Customer phone numbers are also verified for the protection of the drivers.