BLACKPOOL’S cabbies are harnessing new technology to make hailing a taxi easier and safer.
A new smart phone app will allow passengers to call a cab at the touch of a button.
The Blackpool Licensed Taxi Owners Association (BLOTA) has linked up with national company cab:app and hopes to have the technology on board 50 of the resort’s hackney cabs by the end of July, with more drivers set to follow.
It will bring Blackpool’s famous fleet of cabs in line with taxis in cities including London, Dublin and Glasgow which are also adopting the technology.
BLOTA spokesman Bill Lewtas said: “For some time we have been wanting to bring new technology to the hackney trade.
“We now have our own website and a number of drivers already have chip and pin technology in their vehicles.
“We hope to go live with cab:app at the end of July initially with 50 vehicles but we can expand that as more drivers come on board.
“When customers use cab:app, they get the driver’s name, vehicle registration, description and plate numbers and even a Google map to see where their taxi is coming from so they can track its progress.
“We hope both residents and visitors to Blackpool will use it. It will be particularly helpful for disabled people by making it easier for them to call a taxi.”
Driver Steve Buckley added: “It is very user friendly for both the drivers and passengers, and will also improve safety.
“For example if a lone woman at night uses it, she will get the full details of her driver.
“It enables people to have full contact with their driver, so for example if you are going to be a few minutes late for your pick-up you can let them know.”
Jane Van Aken, of cab:app, said the system was already working well in London.
She said: “The app has been invented by Peter Schive, who is himself a taxi driver in London so he really understands what people need.
“With two taps on the phone, the cab is on its way. You haven’t got to hang on the line waiting for the dispatcher, and the system is GPS based so it knows where you are.
“It is a very quick, user-friendly and seamless experience, and it’s great that Blackpool is one of the first taxi associations to be coming on board with it.”