Serial entrepreneur Hamish Petrie, who founded electronic ticketing system Moshtix, has set up a new app that allows customers book and pay for taxis.
Ingogo is a web and mobile app that enables people to book a taxi on their phone or computer and then track the taxi’s whereabouts in real-time.
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“We think passengers and taxi drivers are getting the same raw deal that ticket buyers, venues and promoters were getting when we founded Moshtix,” Petrie says.
“We understand technology and how it can solve the problems people face getting taxis, the issues taxi drivers face for low pay and long hours, and we want to solve the problem.”
According to Petrie, Ingogo is intended to shake up the Australian taxi industry. Using GPS technology, the Ingogo app allows direct interaction between the potential passenger and the nearest taxi driver.
Instead of calling a particular cab company which uses its own booking system, Petrie’s system will allow any taxi nearby to pick up the booking, regardless of which company it is aligned to.
The passenger can bid extra for a guaranteed pick-up response and can also track and receive updates of the taxi’s location and progress. Ingogo will also have a chat option between the driver and passengers.
To ensure take-up, Ingogo will not charge cab drivers to get involved, instead providing all taxi drivers with a free Android phone that runs the booking software and has a built-in GPS, so there is no need for any equipment to be installed.
Training on how to use the software will also be provided, and Ingogo will pick up the tab for the data costs of the phone.
The start-up follows the founding of Moshtix in 2003. The venture sells tickets through its website, via mobile phones and select stores.
The Moshtix system is primarily focused on reaching a youth audience through live music events, dance parties, festivals and outdoor cinema.
Moshtix was acquired by News Digital Media in 2007 for an undisclosed sum, providing a new revenue stream for the media company and cementing its position in the entertainment industry.
After selling Moshtix, Petrie turned his attention to the art scene, becoming a full-time artist in 2009; his work has been featured in Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.
Petrie says he’s received a lot of public support for his new idea because it seeks to solve a problem that most people can relate to. The app is due to be released next month.
“Some of the existing players [in the taxi industry] are not going to be too happy but we kind of expect that. It’ll be interesting to see how some of the smaller taxi networks respond – it offers them a lot of advantages,” Petrie says.
“There have been companies in the past that have tried to put new technologies into cabs but the cost has been in the thousands. We’re talking less than $200 per cab.”
Petrie says it’s too early to tell whether he would consider selling Ingogo, although the company is looking at expansion plans outside of Australia.
“There are a couple of markets that are just right for it,” he says.