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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 07:29 GMT
Taxi texting to stop bogus cabs
Mobile sending a text message
Customers are given information about the cab they have booked
A text service is being offered to taxi customers in Cardiff letting them know their car has arrived to help stop passengers taking bogus cabs.

The service was first offered by Premier Cars but has since been taken up by other taxi firms in the city.

The scheme lets the driver send a text to the waiting passenger telling them their car is about to arrive.

The message contains details of the make, model and colour of the car as well as the registration number.

Alison Parry, a director at Premier Cars, which has a 200-strong fleet, said they began offering the service as a way of giving their passengers extra security following reports of bogus taxi drivers sexually assaulting female passengers.

We introduced the service because there had been a lot of reports in the press about bogus taxis and taxis not being safe
Alison Parry, Premier Taxi

She said: "If someone is in a busy pub for example and they are waiting for a taxi, this service lets them know exactly who is going to turn up and when so it gives them added peace of mind.

"We introduced the service because there had been a lot of reports in the press about bogus taxis and taxis not being safe.

"Our drivers are all registered and we pride ourselves on putting safety first.

"We already offer a ring-back service, where people can get a ring to their phone to let them know we are approaching.

"But now if someone phones us from a mobile to book a taxi, we can offer them a text back."

Ms Parry said that the service, which costs the customer 50p, worked for both the passenger and the driver.

'Good service'

She added: "If someone is in a busy pub and they aren't waiting outside, sometimes the driver will wait for a while but when no one comes out for the taxi they will leave because there is no way they'd be able to find the customer in a busy bar.

"This way, the driver can send a text to the customer and hopefully they will come straight out."

A spokeswoman for personal safety charity, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, welcomed the scheme.

She said: "This is a good service because people have been known to pretend to be cabs when they aren't.

"But this scheme lets people know exactly what car they should be looking out for.

"We always recommend to people booking a taxi that they ask what the make of car will be and to ask the driver who they have come to pick up.

"This scheme makes it far easier to identify the right cab."


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