The Uber-style app which could make life easier for vulnerable residents in St Helens

Ant Chisnal (second on right)l and Emma McNally (third on right) visited St Helens Town Hall to demonstrate their new smartphone app to Council Leader Derek Long (fourth on the right) and council staff ahead of the app's trial with the councils adult social care transport team's fleet of mini buses
Ant Chisnal (second on right)l and Emma McNally (third on right) visited St Helens Town Hall to demonstrate their new smartphone app to Council Leader Derek Long (fourth on the right) and council staff ahead of the app's trial with the councils adult social care transport team's fleet of mini buses
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A St Helens start-up firm has launched a Uber-style app which is designed help improve the lives of some of the borough's most vulnerable residents.

DriverNet, a local technology start up business has teamed up with St Helens Council to launch a new smartphone app which could help improve the lives of some of the borough’s most vulnerable people.

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Based in the Beecham building in St Helens town centre, DriverNet - founded by Eccleston resident Ant Chisnall and Emma McNally from Sutton – has created an Uber-style mobile app which can be used by buses, coaches, lorries and even bin wagons, to make deliveries and collections smarter and safer.

Having worked with St Helens Council, which has supported and monitored the company’s growth for a number of years, DriverNet will trial their app with the council’s adult social care transport team's fleet of mini buses that transport elderly and disabled residents and college pupils with additional needs - providing alerts, tracking and drop calls to speed up collections and drop offs, improving safety, service and convenience levels for passengers, families and guardians.

The app contains a number of features which improve communications, vehicle safety and standards and driver regulations and management.

Not only does DriverNet help safeguard the wellbeing of passengers, it is also having a positive impact on the environment too, with savings on fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions being achieved. This led to the company scooping an international Sat Nav innovation award in 2017.

“It's a lot harder to find a team and fund an app in Sankey Valley than Silicon Valley, but launching it first in St Helens is very important to us,” said Ant who has travelled as far as Singapore and Los Angeles to secure DriverNet's first customers, with a trip to Silicon Valley scheduled early next year. “Decent ideas and solid teams can have international appeal and we've now got traction with councils to some of the biggest global names in logistics."

Ant added: "DriverNet offers a more controlled and connected experience for drivers and passengers, everyone; safeguarding the transfer of some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and giving peace of mind to friends, families and guardians, so the app goes way beyond improving performance.”

Council Leader Derek Long, who was given a demonstration on how the app works by the DriverNet team outside St Helens Town Hall before the official launch, said: “The council is very happy to support local businesses to boost growth in the borough. Our agreement to trial this app is an indication of that commitment.

“The safety of all our residents, particularly the borough’s most vulnerable, is of paramount importance. Ensuring safe and convenient transport will be a major contribution to residents’ good quality of life.”