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Texxi - the taxi you text, appears in the July Edition of Taxi Talk magazine
The text of the article that will be available in the printed magazine from July 14th:
Texxi – The Taxi You Text
A new service is to be trialled in Liverpool this summer that has the potential to significantly improve the availability of late night taxis and increase taxi drivers’ earnings by up to 250%.
Texxi, as the service will be known, is now in the process of recruiting drivers to join the scheme. To encourage taxi drivers to sign up, Texxi is providing incentives of an increased share of the revenue in the first year to the first 50 drivers who participate in service.
Liverpool hackney cab driver Tony Campbell who has already signed up to the scheme commented: “The technology Texxi has developed means that I will be able to take up to 5 people back to their respective homes and earn £25 on what would normally be a £5 to £7 fare. To me it’s a no-brainer. It’s also very simple to operate; all I need is my mobile phone and there is no joining fee or additional running costs. I can see this service being particularly attractive to students.”
The way it will work is that prospective passengers will text their house address and postcode to the Texxi SMS number. The system will then aggregate other passengers wanting to go to the same area and confirm details of the taxi driver’s name and badge number to the passengers. Passengers will be directed to pre-determined ‘muster points’ to meet up with their driver who will have received a text confirming each passenger’s booking reference. Each passenger will pre-pay a flat fee of £5 meaning that the taxi driver will be able to collect up to £25 for a journey that would normally earn him, or her, less than £10.
Should a passenger not turn up then Texxi may apply a no-show charge and using its information systems, will be able to restrict future access to the system if a passenger does not have a legitimate reason for not showing up. It is hoped that this will reduce the likelihood of no-shows, mean that other passengers are not kept waiting and that taxi drivers will not lose out on any fares.
It is intended that the trial will run within the Liverpool city limits. However, when the service is fully rolled out in the autumn there are plans to extend the service to neighbouring towns and to include a two-way journey option that will bring people into the city centre at the start of the evening as well as taking them home. By this time Texxi expects cab drivers will be clamouring to join the service and will easily be able to meet the pent up demand that is obviously out there.
No one from Liverpool needs to be told that there is a problem trying to get home after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Having had to walk home from Liverpool City Centre themselves on many occasions the founders of Texxi thought it would be a good idea to use their combined legal (one founder is a practising barrister) and technology expertise to develop a Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) system.
The Texxi concept ironically came from an Operational Analysis research problem applied to the financial markets. One of the four founders noticed that ‘credit contagion’ algorithms he had developed in investment banking could similarly be used to aggregate groups of people going to roughly the same destination and direct them to a single vehicle maximising the limited resources available.
The Texxi system will enable more people to go home more efficiently, be safer for lone women than the current options they have, will increase the amount a taxi driver can earn and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions as fewer journeys will be needed to transport the same (and possibly a larger) number of people.
The application of Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) systems is being increasingly taken up by local authorities in the UK. Flintshire Council and Bedfordshire County Council are both operating DRT systems and numerous consultations and projects are currently underway within the UK transport sector.
Crane Dragon is a technology company which specialises in solving common problems using approaches from the cutting edge of technology and operational analysis. Its founders are drawn from the fields of technology, law, investment banking, electrical and aeronautical engineering and hedge funds. The Texxi system is its first project in the UK.
To find out more about how the scheme will operate and to enquire about participating, drivers should email email@example.com or contact Texxi Communications by fax on 08708 316 197.
Drivers can sign up directly by texting “Texxi ops [driver name] [badge number] [area]” to 87222 and reserving their place in line immediately.
eg. “Texxi ops John Smith 12456T Liverpool”
(Messages charged at 25p + normal operator charge)