Rogue apps used to book taxis can compromise safety

PEOPLE with mental health issues or criminal motives could be driving taxis booked through rogue smartphone apps.

Australian Taxi Industry Association spokesman Benjamin Wash warned that customers could put their personal safety at risk using rogue smartphone apps to book taxis or private hire cars.

He said the industry was stepping up its campaign to protect the public following increased publicity about the third-party smartphone apps, including overseas companies entering the Australian market.

"These apps are outside the system and operate in a legal grey area," he said.

"Anyone can register as a driver and pick up a passenger, including people with mental issues or criminal motives.

"There are no driver checks, no background checks, no accountability and no records.

"You don't even have to drive a real taxi. The implications are scary."