Major Italy’s Taxi Fleet Accepts Bitcoin.
Cooperativa RadioTaxi 3570, Italy’s largest taxi fleet, now accepts bitcoin. The company boasts over 3,700 cars in Rome, providing more than 10 million cab services each year. It was founded in November 1968 by a little more than 100 founding members, RadioTaxi 3570 is “the Roman radio cab cooperative belonging to Roman taxi drivers who want to be part of it,” states its website.
The company claims to have the lowest price in all of Europe. Its switchboard receives roughly 30,000 calls daily, 7,000 of which are from foreign tourists.
RadioTaxi 3570 is ISO 9001 certified and is the first taxi organization in Italy to obtain quality certification. It also received the ICT Innovation Prize 2010 and ICT Innovation Prize 2012. The company claims:
“It [Radiotaxi 3570] is the largest Italian organization in the sector and the largest radio cab cooperative in Europe.”
Bitcoin is listed under “Payment methods” alongside credit card, Bancomat, and PayPal as one of the “commitments that Cooperativa RadioTaxi 3570 takes towards its clients,” according to its website.
Payment in bitcoin is made possible, thanks to Chainside, a startup enabling businesses to accept bitcoin. In September, Chainside formed a partnership with the Italian Union of Radio Cabs (URI) and its founder, Loreno Bittarelli, to offer wallet, invoice, and monitoring services. Bittarelli is also president of RadioTaxi 3570.
The Chainside platform is integrated into URI’s booking app for smartphones and tablets, IT Taxi. RadioTaxi 3570 is also using this app. Users booking a trip connect to IT Taxi for price and route calculations. Customers paying in bitcoin are redirected to a page on Chainside. Once payment is received, confirmation is sent back to IT Taxi.
The partnership with Chainside is not the first time that URI and RadioTaxi 3570 have explored a Bitcoin payment option. In June 2015, they co-hosted a hackathon for the industry at RadioTaxi 3570’s media room in Rome. TaxiHack was the first hackathon for innovations dedicated to taxi service. The 48-hour event was organized by URI in partnership with Codemotion.
The winner of the hackathon was BitTaxi, an app that allows customers to pay for rides in bitcoin. “Our team has been working to create an integrated module in itTaxi,” the company’s website states.
“Of course, to think that everyone can accept being paid in Bitcoin is hard to imagine, but what we want to walk from this initiative is that we are not as conservative and opposed to innovation as we often describe. We have always seen innovation as a growth stimulus. We want to give a strong signal to our competitors.” Bittarelli commented after the hackathon.
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