FREE NOW taxis are to become JAM Card (‘Just a Minute’) friendly as part of a new partnership that will support the service provided to passengers with learning and communication difficulties.
Created by Belfast-based social enterprise NOW Group, the JAM Card and app has been developed to help people with autism, brain injury or related speech impediments to ask discreetly for a minute of patience when carrying out everyday activities that others take for granted.
Driver Ambassadors using the FREE NOW app will get free, customised training in partnership with NOW Group to help them support JAM Card passengers and to take account of the hidden disabilities that affect many taxi users across Ireland.
Leeann Kelly, Business Development Manager at NOW Group, said: “Mobility and freedom of movement are vital aspects of every-day life for all people, regardless of ability or capacity. We are extremely pleased to have FREE NOW Driver Ambassadors join the growing JAM Card Community. For those with a learning difficulty, autism or any communication barrier, the JAM Card allows users to relay to others that they may need a little extra time in a simple, effective non-verbal manner. FREE NOW is leading the way in the private hire industry in terms of providing training to its staff to meet the diverse and varied needs of Ireland’s population.”
Fiona Brady, Head of Operations at FREE NOW said: “Our aim is to make mobility as simple and hassle-free as possible for everyone and we believe supporting JAM Card friendly training for drivers using the FREE NOW app, will improve the service experience for thousands of our customers.
“The JAM Card is a very powerful initiative that helps thousands of people across the country and we are delighted to support it. We want to provide drivers with the tools to cater for the diverse service needs of all of our passengers in Ireland, so we are delighted to partner with the NOW Group on what is an extremely innovative, worthwhile initiative.”
FREE NOW is the first Irish taxi operator to recognise the JAM Card initiative and is working hard to help taxi drivers cater for all passengers by offering training to those using the app. This development follows its recently announced free Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle training programme, which has seen over 300 drivers already complete the training to improve service levels to passengers that are wheelchair users.
The NOW Group is working with FREE NOW to deliver a training package based on an e-learning platform and face-to-face interaction with drivers to support them to deliver the best JAM Card friendly service possible. Since being established in 2011, over 35,000 JAM Cards have been issued across the UK and Ireland. In 2017 NOW Group designed a JAM Card app which lets users rate the customer service they receive from participating service providers. In November 2018, NOW Group won the ‘UK: Tech for Good Award’ for the JAM Card App.
JAM Cards are available from the FREE NOW driver office on 11 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2, or from designated TFI transport hubs. The public can also request one directly from NOW Group by visiting the JAM Card website and filling out the request form. There is also a JAM Card app available for Android and iOS.