Aussies Beware: Crafty Taxis, Private Hire Cars Use Rogue Smartphone Apps

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 8, 2012 5:18 PM EST

Now that focus will gear more towards the fast-approaching Christmas season, the Australian Taxi Industry Association (ATIA) has warned commuters and consumers to refrain from using taxis or private cars for hire that used rogue smartphone apps to promote their services.

Benjamin Wash, ATIA spokesperson, said the busy shopping and shuttling Christmas season is a very much opportune time for unscrupulous people to victimise commuters.

"As we enter a high-volume period, customers may be tempted to use rogue apps, but they will forgo their personal protection in doing so," he said.

"These apps are outside the system and operate in a legal grey area. Anyone can register as a driver and pick up a passenger, including people with mental issues or criminal motives. There are no driver checks, no background checks, no accountability and no records. You don't even have to drive a real taxi. The implications are scary."

To ensure their safety, it would be best for Australian commuters to book for taxis or private cars for hire that are connected to recognised taxi company brands, since they utilise the smartphone taxi apps that are recognised by the Australian government.

Apart from being a great way to book a cab, authorised smartphone taxi apps from recognised taxi companies protect customers since these apps carry the name of the taxi that will pick them up the commuter consumer.

"Taxis are relied upon by business, the disabled, young people and the elderly, among others, to get them to their destinations safely," Mr Wash said, noting taxis in Australia transport two million people each day.

But regardless of the huge number of million they carry, Australia's taxi industry experience less problems.

"This is a direct result of on-going efforts by the industry to improve services and safety," Mr Wash said.

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