n application for the iPhone and Android smartphone has been launched in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire to allow people to check if a taxi is licensed.
The scheme is called “Am I Safe” and is currently being used in Watford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton.
Am I Safe was launched in hope that both the safety of taxi drivers and passengers will be improved says Milton Keynes Council.
Head of environmental health, Chris Londy, said “It’s important that people are aware that the vehicle they are getting into is legal.”
Londy carried onto say “This system can reassure people travelling by taxis or private hire vehicles in Milton Keynes that they are using a licensed vehicle.”
To check if the vehicle is registered, potential passengers can enter the cab’s registration number into their phone and the app will check the local council’s database, to see if the cab is registered as a licensed taxi. If the vehicle is not registered, an alert will be sent to the police and the council.
It’s also easy to track the passenger if needed, as the smartphone app uses a global positioning signal linked the phone to store the location, car registration, the time and the name of the person who the car is registered to.
The app also sends a message to a nominated family or friend member, giving them the location of the taxi and the taxi’s registration number.
The founder of Am I safe, Anthony Price-Thompson, said “We’re trying to ensure that genuine passengers and genuine drivers have an ability to feel safer.”
He said “Over the past 12 months, we have been working very closely with passengers, operators, police forces and councils to understand the challenges they face in ensuring the safety of passengers and drivers of taxis with private hire insurance alike.
“We have built a web application that aims to meet those challenges,” “Taxi drivers are already aware of the risks of the illegal taxi trade on their business, and fully support our efforts to stamp them out,” explained Price-Thompson.
The app will be available across the rest of the UK by the beginning of 2012 but users can download the app from the Milton Keynes Council website now.