No Money? Just Flag Your Taxi

29 Nov 2017 | 01.48 pm

No Money? Just Flag Your Taxi

Richie Commins' unusual taxi app

29 Nov 2017 | 01.48 pm

A new taxi app called Flag is to be released in December, designed by NUI Galway graduate Richie Commins, which allows a passenger to travel and pay the taxi fare without a phone, cash or bank card, while ensuring the driver still gets paid.

The Flag app originally started out as a college project while inventor Richie Commins was a final year Business Information Systems student at NUIG.

Commins (pictured) has since assembled a team of business graduates and engineers, with taxi industry experience in the US and Romania, to upgrade the software into the commercial version. The newest member of the Flag team is the original founder of GoCar.ie, Michael Newham.

The app is available as ‘Flag – The Taxi App’ and is similar to other taxi apps in terms of hailing a taxi. However, a feature unique to Flag is ‘wallet-less’, where users are required to upload a photo ID and create a personal digit pin code to secure an account.

If a situation arises such as a user’s phone is dead, and they’ve insufficient cash or no bank card with them, the user simply flags a taxi off the street, gives the driver their name and enters the four digit pin on the driver’s app. The user’s photo appears on the driver’s phone to confirm identity before the fare begins. Payment is taken from the user’s pre-registered card at the end of the journey.

The app also has pinpoint location, tracking, and accurate ‘estimated time of arrival’, as well as extra safety features such as the wallet-less payment.

Enterprise Ireland is supporting the project, as are Nissan Ireland and AIB, and so are the Gardai, whose Campus Watch programme at NUIG is on board. Crime prevention officer Sergeant Pat Flanagan said: “The taxis that have integrated this app have really shown they care about passengers, and hopefully all taxis will soon be branded with the safety it brings.”

The initial launch will be in Dublin, where drivers who have signed up will get a Christmas bonus from Flag — they won’t be charged any commission over the holiday period. And Flag will go national during 2018.

The company has more details on Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook at flagtaxis, and on its website.

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