Startup takes on taxis

12_-_gocatchA Sydney startup has found itself battling the Taxi Council after its app that offers a new way to hail a cab stirs controversy.

The entrepreneur behind mobile marketing company Tex2Get and new mobile app GoCatch has found himself fighting the NSW Taxi Council.

Andrew Campbell, a founder of both companies, features in the August edition of My Business magazine, where he chats about GoCatch as part of our feature on finding and retaining workers. For what it is worth, Campbell has had great success using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool and even met his business partner at GoCatch through the service.

The pair created an app that lets individuals find nearby taxis using the GPS facilities in smartphones instead of booking a cab. The app then connects passenger and driver, without the intervention of cab companies’ call centre or booking service12_-_gocatch

But GoCatch has now struck controversy. The Taxi Council of NSW’s CEO Peter Ramshaw has told Fairfax and News Ltd that the app may endanger passenger safety because passengers “cannot guarantee that the driver has been authorised by NSW Transport.”

Campbell has hit back, saying "You can't be sure until you are in the taxi if your driver is registered. What's more, there might be no record of the journey taking place. With GoCatch both the driver and passenger have been identified by their phones and there is an accurate record of location based data."

"You have to consider these accusations in light of the taxi industry inquiry in Victoria,” Campbell added. “It is which is looking at, amongst other things, innovation and the structure of the industry. It looks to me like there are vested interests keen to avoid progress."

Campbell can also point to the fact that GoCatch was assisted by NSW Trade & Investment's Collaborative Solutions Program.

What do you think about this situation? Is GoCatch dangerous? Or is the Taxi Council digging in its heels when confronted by disruptive innovation?

Let us know in Disqus below.

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