Hamish Petrie, founder of ticketing system, Moshtix, has turned his attention to taxis and launched ingogo, a digital taxi request service that directly connects drivers with passengers.
Ingogo offers a service that directly and safely connects passengers with drivers via Web, mobile and GPS technology.
It provides them with a free smartphone app and online service that lets users see available taxis nearby and request for one on their mobile or computer.
The taxi platform lets them know exactly where their taxi is at any time, in real time.
Taxi drivers will be provided with a free Android mobile phone, which is exclusively dedicated to ingogo.
The company plans to roll out an app for the iPhone first and is currently working on completing an Android version, then a BlackBerry version, followed by other formats.
It also wants to install a credit card payment system by the end of December this year.
Petrie said the service is safe and secure as taxi drivers will need a valid taxi authority and a drivers’ license and those that get on the system will have to go through a training program and are tracked by GPS technology.
He said his frustration with the current taxi system and the availability of technology to improve it led to the creation of the service.
“You ring up, you get to talk to an automated robot, and sometimes it does not understand you and you get put into a queue. Then, someone takes your booking and the cab often doesn’t turn up. You will have to then repeat the whole frustrating cycle again,” Petrie said.
The actual application will be free, but booking charges apply if the system is used.
Petrie claimed the charges are relatively cheaper than using existing taxi networks.
The company is also looking to add more features to the system. Its main goals are: to build the number of passengers that use the system, connecting more drivers, expanding the range of client applications that can connect to ingogo’s different smartphone devices and Web interface and expanding the service nationally, into all capital cities.
There are a number of private investors who have financed the system including the co-founder of MYOB, Google’s director of mobile sales and operations in Asia-Pacific and ArgyStar.com’s CEO, amongst others.
“It’s a $4.5 billion payments market. So we have to be very well funded to take on some well-entrenched, incumbent players,” he said.
Ingogo’s growth will also present an opportunity for software developers: Petrie expects to expand the team of 16. He intends to hire more staff to develop and maintain the system.
The new technology is currently being trialled by 200 drivers and will be launched to the NSW market in early October.
More than 500 taxi vehicles are expected to be live on the service when it launches.