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Ministry of the Interior, Oporto Metropolitan Council and Vodafone Portugal Foundation unveil operational phase of the Safe Taxi System in the Oporto Metropolitan Area

Oporto, 13 March 2007 – The Ministry of the Interior, Oporto Metropolitan Council and Vodafone Portugal Foundation today unveiled the operational phase in the Oporto Metropolitan Area of Safe Taxi – a system designed to discourage and combat security threats to taxi drivers.

345 taxis are already participating in the scheme and training has been given a similar number of other taxi drivers, with training sessions planned for around another 120. The equipment has already been installed in 85 taxis.

The system was developed by the Vodafone Portugal Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Security Police (PSP), and the Metropolitan Council is now responsible for promoting the scheme to its member municipalities.

Under the terms of the agreement signed in July 2006, the Vodafone Foundation donates the Safe Taxi System to the Ministry of the Interior, together with the equipment to operate it in police control rooms and training for participating taxi drivers, while the Ministry and municipalities in the Metropolitan Area contribute to the cost of the equipment to be installed in taxis, with the taxi owners paying only 40% of the cost.

The system is already operating in 700 taxis in various municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. The Vodafone Portugal Foundation has invested around 550,000 euros in the project.

Safe Taxi is an innovative and effective system for preventing and combating the violence from which taxi drivers are potentially at risk. It is an open system, meaning that it can be installed in all taxis provided that their on-board localisation equipment meets the necessary technical specifications and drivers opt to have it.

Its technology is based on the use of GSM and GPS, enabling the police to determine the location of the vehicle in real time as soon as the driver gives the alarm, both when stationary and on the move. As from that moment, in addition to being able to track its course, the police can listen to the sounds inside the vehicle. This direct link between the driver and the PSP enables the security forces to determine more accurately how dangerous the situation is, and decide the best resources to use and action to take.