At the announcement of the Dash service in Galway with NUI Galway student and Dash inventor, Richie Commins (front) were, from left, Dan Khan, NUI Galway Students’ Union Welfare Officer; Owen Jennings, Big O Taxis; Jimmy McGovern, NUI Galway Students’ Union President; Joe O’Halloran, Big O Taxis and Garda Denise Kelleher.
Nov 14 2016 Posted: 09:21 GMT

Final year NUI Galway student invents service to see students get home safely

A new service, Dash, will allow students to get taxis even when they have no cash, bank card or phone while ensuring the drivers get paid. Dash (Driving All Students Home) was created by NUI Galway final year Business Information Systems student Richie Commins and is currently available in Galway City and will be launched nationwide in January 2017.

Richie, from Claregalway, Co. Galway, came up with the idea after being left in situations many times without the physical means to get taxis. Research carried out with the NUI Galway Students’Union verified that students often do not have the means to get a taxi at the end of the night leading to the safety of students being put in jeopardy.

Students simply need to sign up for free at the website, www.dashcabz.ie/ and upload a photo of themselves and a bank card to pay for emergency taxis. Richie has designed a simple app for taxi drivers so even if a student gets into a taxi with nothing, all they have to do is tell the driver their name and four digit pin for the driver to view the student on the app. The driver verifies the student by their photo, sees their method of payment and takes them home at no extra cost.

Richie said: “This is the very basic version. There are many more features coming early next year such as top-up, parent back up and the beacon button to let others know you’re safe even when you’ve no phone. Dash is planning a movement of safety across all campuses that won’t cost students anything extra and ensures taxi drivers get paid.”

Richie did his third year student placement on campus with the Blackstone Launchpad where he developed the idea further. The University supported Richie to sign up hundreds of students to test the prototype with three local taxi companies Big O Taxis, Pro Cabs and Galway Taxis. After successfully proving the concept, he spent the summer months meeting student unions and taxi companies across the country. The app will be implemented in the coming months in all university cities.

Luke Fitzpatrick, UCD Student Union said: “I genuinely think it is fantastic that taxis, unions and students are recognising the need for getting students home safe. It is something I personally stand behind and hope all Dublin taxis jump on board with Lynk, Xpert and so on.”

Colin O’Mara,Cork Chamber of Commerce and Cork Taxi Co-op, said: “Cork Taxi Coop are delighted to be involved in ensuring the Students of today and tomorrow have the peace of mind to get home safely.”    

An Garda Síochána will be supporting the initiative through their Campus Watch programme. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention,said: “The taxis that have integrated with Dash have really shown they care about students, and hopefully, all taxis will soon be branded with the safety Dash brings.”

For further information on the initiative visit www.dashcabz.ie/.

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