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Write Me A Cab !

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:01 am    Post subject: Write Me A Cab ! Reply with quote

Today in Liverpool, England, if you’re downtown at a pub and want to get back to your hotel on the other side of town, you can send a text message containing the postal code of your destination to 83994, and it’s as good as done. By punching a dozen buttons on your cell phone, you’ve contacted the fledgling cab service called Texxi. (“The taxi you text.”) The company, which owns no cars and employs no drivers, acts like an automated travel agent for your ride home: Its computer receives your request and finds other Texxi users whose pickup and destination points are roughly the same, and it summons a single cab from one of the city’s cab companies for everyone to share.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After propagating the Texxi meme at various websites including YRIHF, I received two information packed emails from Eric Masaba, the founder and I think they need to be shared here. There's just so much here, but yet it's all so important!! Here's the first email he wrote me:

2 articles for you to see.


   Report highlights potential of rural and urban demand responsive

   Scottish pilot project offers local authorities more cost-effective

Stagecoach has called for investment in cost-effective Yellow Taxibus-style demand responsive services to boost social inclusion and cut congestion across the UK.

A new report by Stagecoach due to be published next week shows the Yellow Taxibus concept is extremely popular with customers, particularly women, and offers local authorities a value-for-money option to improve transport links in rural and urban areas.

The Stagecoach study, which follows a two-year experiment in Scotland,
suggests that “phone and go” services can be delivered at significantly lower cost to the taxpayer than existing publicly-funded schemes.
Yellow Taxibus - launched in Fife, Scotland in August, 2003 – is a
high-frequency demand responsive operation, running seven days a week, that combines a fixed bus route with flexible pre-booked taxi pick-ups.

Using nine upmarket Mercedes people carrier vehicles, the service runs up to every 15 minutes on a route from Fife, across the Forth Road Bridge, into Edinburgh – one of the most congested corridors in Scotland. As well as operating on a fixed route in and out of the Scottish capital, customers within a demand responsive area in Dunfermline can be collected at their door and taken to their destination.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the second email -- which is truly fascinating as Eric Masaba relates how he sees Texxi, the text ordered taxi service, as part of the general social networking (Sims, 2nd Life) using information technology to mob, socialize and get stuff via the web:


RE: Thanks for the nice words about Texxi

Texxi is also similar to AirTroductions (
) and Pink Ladies ( ).

What we really push is the social networking aspect of shared travel by
taxi (Texxi Groups)

RE: Texxi will be to Taxi Fares what JetBlue / EasyJet / Ryanair is to

I just saw some wonderful work on realtime demand mapping and felt it
represents what we are trying to do at Texxi - a highly scalable Demand
Responsive Transit Exchange.

We want to allow all transit systems in all cities to pre-emptively "sense"
what people in a particular city are planning to do - it will be in fact
the "database of travel intentions" based on historical information (like
historical volatility in financial markets)

We have invented the "Transit Exchange Concept" whereby we can use the
innovative ideas from capital markets and apply them to transit to make the
whole transport system in a city more reliable than it is in most cities

RE: The Exchange Traded Transit Model

Imagine paying only £2.50 for a cab ride each way every day from southwest
London to the City. For a yearly total of 1,000 (£5 / day, 200 days per
year) that is all your taxi rides covered to and from work. In a certain
type of vehicle. With a maximum guaranteed waiting time (e.g. 15 minutes).
(For 5 minute hire, you would expect to pay more - e.g. £10 per day each

A car can cost as much as this to run per month. If we can apply the low
fare airline model to taxi transit, we can change what services, choice and
experience users have access to.

If 8 people are doing this, a cab driver can make a sure £10,000 for one
ride each morning and one each late afternoon.

Better still, this can all be formalised onto an exchange and all the
relevant innovation which has been tried an tested in financial markets can
be brought to bear.

 Exchange Traded Transit is the central concept to a Texxi model.

Texxi trialled in Liverpool Mar 2006 - Sep 2006.  Please also refer to and

 Transit Futures will allow a taxi driver to get an idea of what income
 (s)he can expect for the next 12 months (assuming (s)he carries out the
 work). Drivers can sell futures on the exchange to fund bills / debt
 service after they have a certain behaviour rating.
 Customers can buy a certain class of trip futures (immediate, 30 minute,
 day ahead, 3 day ahead) in bulk ahead of time so that they can hedge
 against fuel price rises. Drivers who fall ill can then sell their trips
 to other drivers of a similar behaviour rating, but are not allowed to
 profit take on this (to
 prevent market cornering). Customers can do the same.

 This allows customers a guarantee that when they need a cab they will get
 it in a certain timeframe. It also allows drivers to know that as long as
 they honour their contracts, they will always have work.

Texxi provides a logistics resource cloud for physical transportation
fulfillment in realtime demand conditions.

Imagine if we had a Transit Exchange - similar to a Cotton Exchange or an
Oil Exchange for each UK city. Taxi operators (more generally vehicle
operators) could sell "ride futures" to guarantee cashflows and keep the
transit system running smoothly, while customers would be able to guarantee
service with certain attributes (e.g. I want a cab within 15 minutes of
hailing every Friday at 4pm until further notice) ahead of time for a
predictable cost.

As with commodity / bond markets, there will be yield (demand) curves which
will help buyers and sellers mitigate risk and find a fair price to do more
business in a regulated way. The current taxi environment (with the
exception of wonderful firms like Addison Lee) can only be described as

Amazon (the online retailer) has recently launched a couple of services
called S3 and EC2. EC2 is an abbreviation for "Elastic Computing Cloud".
It allows people to buy as much or as little computational power / storage
as they need for their projects. Because typically users do not know what
they need and it is expensive and risky to invest in too much
infrastructure ahead of time.

( ,

I coined a phrase in 2004 / 2005 that we use at Texxi called a Hospitality,
Logistics and Transportation (HLT) Cloud. This is the same idea as Amazon's
S3 service but is applied to transport (albeit up to 2 yrs earlier).

Perhaps (Holistic Logistics and Transit Cloud is better?).

HLT Cloud (Hospitality Logistics and Transportation Cloud)

This is a concept which emulates that of national postal services or the
Internet. The Texxi system will allow a user to summon a vehicle by using a
device like a mobile phone to allow for real-time transit fulfillment. In
effect the user can "send" him/herself just like he/she may send a letter
or email.

With national postal services, users put a letter into a letter-box after
having addressed it and paid the fee (postage).They do not have to rely on
a singular postal vehicle to take their letter.

With the internet, email documents are addressed and sent via the worldwide
web cloud. There are many different carrier paths the message can take.

With Texxi, users address their destination and then get picked up by the
nearest (in time / space and attribute matching) available vehicle. (think
FedEx for people).

If one needs a ride each morning, the cloud supplies the fulfillment
provider (FP - bus, taxi, helicopter, private jet). It may be the same taxi
vehicle each morning or it may be a different taxi vehicle each morning.

In all cases, the user will be able to rely on the fact that once they have
bought a trip, it will be fulfilled. Much like the EasyJet / RyanAir model.

Depending on how far ahead in the future people buy trips, the trips are
cheaper. Depending on how flexible / inflexible people are about their
choice of ride partner, the trip(s) are cheaper / more expensive.

(See attached file: TEXXI_BUTTON_PHONE(2).jpg)

Why have buses driving around mostly empty when no-one is using them. Is
this 1806 or 2006? We know where users (potential users) are. We can
predict with algorithms and models where users will be and based on rolling
data gathered, we can even place those vehicles magically ahead of demand.

Virtual City

The "Virtual City Concept" will allow people who live in semi-rural areas
with no large cities (most UK counties in fact), to effectively have a very
reliable, robust transportation system without relying on huge government
funded transportation schemes.

These concepts combine to form TEXXI - Transit Exchange XXIst Century

 (Embedded image moved  Eric Masaba                              
 to file: pic00041.jpg) Managing Director                        
                        Crane Dragon Limited                    
                        The Old Tavern, Market Square, Petworth  
                        WEST SUSSEX, GU28 0AH                    
                        UNITED KINGDOM                          
                        Tel: +44 207 993 2324 | Fax: +44 845 127

Another Piece in the Fulfilment of Search

The integration between the boundaries of online search and travel will
become increasingly blurred to the point where the two activities are

If one considers that the intentions of a large number of people start with
an online search (including mobile online search) then there are two
fulfilment paths to consider:

In the first case, the intention is fulfilled by moving an item TO the
person who executed the demand. This is handled extremely well by the
logistics business space. There is room for evolution, but generally it is
a problem with excellent solutions. When the item required is digital in
nature, this is taken care even more effectiviely by the network /
bandwidth provisioning companies (Digital Logistics).

Secondly, an intention is fulfilled by moving the person TO the intended
place. This is handled neither particularly well nor seamlessly.

Assume I am a tourist looking for an attraction to visit in a foreign city.
Normally I would use a (space-domain) map, figure out where the attraction
was located, then figure out how to get there and how much the trip would
cost. I would then go to find the transport and try to coincide my
itinerary with a timetable.

Now with an evolved Texxi model, I would use my mobile communications
device with either a time-location-domain map of attractions OR a
cost-location-domain map of attractions (these are maps which show loci
depending on how long it takes get there or how much it costs to get there;
the actual distance is normally a secondary consideration, it is just that
this normally has some reasonable relationship to the time it takes to get

Then the final and critical piece. I click on the map and instruct the DRT
Exchange that this is where I wish to go. Texxi (the Broker) takes care of
the rest through its DRT Exchange activities and I am moved by a DRT
Fulfilment Provider (shuttle, taxi, bus, private jet) from either directly
where I am located or from nearby with a group of people with a similar
itinerary. This group is further filtered by behaviour/reputation
parameters - so I don't get put in with football hooligans.

This is 21st century travel. Effectively "FedEx for People".

What (additional) revenue models are available for Texxi Operations?

1.    Seat Revenue.

2.    Text Revenue.

3.    Bulk buy Palm Oil and Trans-Esterify into BioDiesel - supply to
drivers at discount to further boost their profits.

4.    Advertising & Channel Sales.

5.    Bulk-buy of Fleet Vehicles at a discount and resell to users of the

6.    Collateralised Bond Obligations and CDS on outstanding vehicle loans
– why this is a great win for any of Mercedes, PSA Peugeot-Citroen etc

7.    Carbon Abatement – the vehicles will be Carbon-Neutral or negative and we can become a net seller of Carbon Credits.
8.    School Run replacement.

9.    OAP (Senior Citizens) Supermarket Run.

10.   English Heritage / National Trust / Football Matches / Concerts /

11.   Remote Community Linkage.

12.   Train-ParaTransit Linkups (Text to get picked up from intermediate
station and get taken home, e.g. Crewe-Chester)

13.   Housing Development ParaTransit – instead of supplying parking
spaces, supply Texxi passes.

14.   Light Haulage Replacement - Texxi can become the entire intra-city
delivery network broker.

16.   Restaurant Deliveries.

17.   Emergency Delivery / Courier Services.

18.   Limousine Linkage Services – we can enable SME Limousine Companies to link up into a seamless Meta-Company.

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