Monday 03 July 2023
From today, islanders will be able to hail a taxi in Guernsey using the Guernsey Taxi App.
This has been launched by Traffic and Highway Services following discussion with the Guernsey Taxi Drivers Association (GTDA).
The app is an additional, convenient way for customers to request a taxi in real time and simply adds to the ways in which customers can already arrange a taxi.
The introduction of a taxi booking system accessible by app was a key recommendation of the independent Taxi and Private Hire Car Review (published September 2022). As such, the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has agreed that signing up to a booking app will be mandatory for all taxi operators when their licences are renewed for 1 January 2024. From this date, taxi licence holders will be required to sign up to the Guernsey Taxi App or another taxi booking app of their choice, so long as the chosen app meets set criteria that ensures quality of service.
The key advantages of the introduction of a taxi app are that it will:
- Greatly improve the experience for customers by providing a more convenient alternative to contacting numerous companies or individuals when trying to secure a taxi on demand;
- Ensure more customers for the taxi industry, as often they make alternative arrangements if they cannot find a taxi relatively quickly;
- Enable drivers to reduce the amount of 'dead mileage' they incur, as requests for a taxi will be first offered to the taxi in closest proximity to the waiting passenger;
- Improve efficiency and effectiveness of taxi provision across the Island, particularly at peak times when trying to secure a taxi is more difficult.
To help facilitate this process the Committee has agreed to fund subscription fees for the Guernsey Taxi App until 31 December 2023 for any taxi licence holder that signed up prior to 30 June 2023.
For the time being, this will be an on-demand app only and pre-booking a taxi in advance will still need to be done by contacting taxi companies directly. The app will provide an estimated fare for the journey, however, the fare will be taken from the in-vehicle taxi meter and paid directly to the driver.
The app will continue to be developed, including improving the functionality to search by postcode. To get the correct location, it is best to 'drop a pin' at the appropriate location.
A well-established market leader, Taxicaller, has been chosen as the preferred supplier to provide the app. Taxicaller has a global presence in over 70 countries in all continents.
Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:
"There is strong customer demand from islanders and an expectation from visitors that this kind of app is available in Guernsey, and the independently authored Taxi and Private Hire Car Review highlighted that the provision of a booking app for taxis is vital for the future of the sector. The Committee has therefore decided to make it mandatory for taxi licence holders provide a booking service via an app by January 2024.
"To help facilitate this change and to support licence holders in the early months following introduction of the new service, the Committee has agreed to fund subscription fees for the app until the end of 2023, enabling them to experience the benefits of the new facility with no additional cost."
Nicki Bessin, Head of the Guernsey Taxi Drivers Association, said:
"The GTDA have been working with Driver and Vehicles Licensing (DVL) for the last 7 months, looking at ways in which a Taxi App could be developed and implemented in Guernsey. As technology evolves, so does the way in which people interact & communicate in all walks of daily life. Taxi Apps have been successful in many other regions of the world, and it has been a growing requirement for the technology to be brought to us here in Guernsey."
"Having been in post (Head of the GTDA since November 2022), one of my primary objectives was to create a working relationship between us (the GTDA) and the DVL/E&I. By working together, we can take all viewpoints into consideration and produce a scheme which is suitable and reasonable for the majority.
"We are pleased the new Guernsey Taxi App has been launched in time for the Island Games 2023 and we hope the scheme will be adopted positively by the industry as well as the consumer."