Autocab pledges £500k to support taxi industry through pandemic

Safa Alkateb

Manchester-based tech firm Autocab, which provides technology to taxi and private hire firms globally, has pledged £500,000 to support the industry during the coronavirus crisis.

Government restrictions on non-essential movement, which have shut down the leisure industry, encouraged home working and grounded flights, have seriously impacted taxi industry revenues.

In recognition of these difficulties, Autocab has set up a relief fund worth £500,000 for its customers.

Chief executive Safa Alkateb said: “The hundreds of taxi operators we work with can apply for this fund if they’ve been negatively impacted.

“It’s one of several measures we’ve introduced to help during this period of disruption.

“We’ve pledged to provide as much additional support and added value to our customers as we can, and make no profit while the crisis is ongoing.”

Autocab is also in discussions with several large UK retailers who are either overrun with demand or not set up to fulfil home delivery orders, to make use of Autocab’s iGo network for deliveries.

Through this platform, companies will be given access to a network of 80,000 taxi drivers across the UK.

Jon Smith, CMO at Autocab, said: “Private hire taxis are able to provide additional capacity for home delivery, along with other key services in their local communities.

“We have the technology, and the supply, that can link everyone together.

“We want to do our bit and make this happen as it will help people stay safe at home and enable drivers to pick up much-needed work.”

Many taxi firms across the country have been going above and beyond since the most vulnerable people were asked to self-isolate.

Some companies are offering free click and collect services for those who have no other means of getting essential food supplies, while others are providing free trips for NHS doctors and nurses.

Safa Alkateb added: “The taxi industry is highly regulated and run by quality operators, who are able to manage the challenges of a pandemic.

“We’ve seen companies step up hygiene practices, including disinfecting between trips and installing protective screens to separate passenger and driver.

“We feel it’s important to recognise the part taxi drivers, and their firms, play in serving a local community. That’s why we’ve set up this fund and are working on iGo initiatives to support them.”

Autocab customers are invited to opt-in to the Operator Relief Fund before April 6, 2020 if they require a discount on payments for their booking and dispatch software over the next three months. The entirety of the fund will then be distributed proportionally across all operators that opt-in.

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