By Lara McNamara, Galway Advertiser
Flag – a new taxi app designed for students will launch in Dublin City this December. The unique app is the only service in the world that allows a passenger to travel and pay for taxis with no phone, cash or bank card while ensuring the driver still gets paid.
Flag originally started out as a college project called Dash while inventor Richie Commins was a final year Business Information Systems student at NUI Galway. Since graduating, Richie has combined business graduates and experienced engineers with taxi industry experience from the US and Romania, to upgrade the software into the version the App is today. The latest member recruited to the Flag team is the original founder of GoCar.ie, Michael Newham.
The app is available in app stores as ‘Flag – The Taxi App’. This is similar to other to other taxi apps that allow you to get a taxi, however a feature unique to Flag is what is called “The wallet-less feature” 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, the user simply flags a taxi off the street, gives the driver their name and enters the four digit pin on the driver app. The user’s photo appears on the driver’s phone to confirm identity before the fare begins. Payment is processed from the user’s pre-registered card as normal upon arrival at the user’s destination.
The creative and innovative app boasts pin point location, tracking an accurate ‘estimated time of arrival’ as well as extra safety features such as the wallet-less payment (the only taxi app in the world to provide this service).
Richie has gained support from Enterprise Ireland, Nissan, AIB and many other organisations. Richie said: “I was lucky to eventually get a Chief Technology Officer who manages our large team of engineers to get the app ready for drivers and passengers in both iOS and android. When I started this in college we didn’t even have an app for the students.”
An Garda Siochana also supported the project from the early days through their Campus Watch Programme at NUI Galway. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention 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 Project has gathered an incredible momentum since the team were students. The team has decided to focus efforts on launching the upgraded app Flag, in Dublin only. To show their gratitude for driver support and encourage more drivers to see how good the app is, Flag will not be charging drivers any commission this Christmas. Flag plans to roll out across the country later in 2018.