Competition in the London taxi market is fierce, with apps such as Uber and Hailo significantly changing the industry in recent months and increasing pressure on drivers of the traditional London black cab.
However, newly-launched app Maaxi is hoping to come to the aid of London cabbies, with its new ride-sharing service offering passengers the chance to reserve individual seats in black cabs – meaning that you could end up sharing your journey with up to five complete strangers.
The idea behind Maaxi is to give users access to cheaper fares when it comes to getting around the city, with black cab journeys currently one of the most expensive ways to travel around London. By booking an individual seat – in a similar fashion as to how you would reserve a place on a train or a plane – you will share the cost of your journey amongst fellow passengers travelling on a similar route, who will be picked up and dropped off throughout the journey. Maaxi is aiming to become the first business in London to offer competitively-priced public transport from door-to-door.
Unlike Uber and Hailo, Maaxi is aiming its service predominantly at those areas which already have the highest demand for public transport, and currently has 2,500 drivers signed up at launch. Founder and CEO, Gabriel Campos, said he is aiming for the service to account for at least 1% of all public transport journeys in London by April 2016. To achieve this, the number of Maaxi drivers will need to top 10,000.
Initial safety fears have been quashed by Maaxi, who claim that passengers will be able to book whole cabs to themselves should they wish, and have the choice of riding in all-male, all-female or mixed-sex taxis if they opt to ride-share. All passengers need a valid UK address and bank account in order to register and travel in a Maaxi black cab, meaning they are trackable should any problems occur.
Maaxi believes that, by focusing on the public transport aspect of London travel, it has the potential to be much bigger than the likes of Uber and Hailo, with public transport the next industry to be disrupted by relatively new smartphone-based technology.
“I cannot see people taking two buses to get from place to place in three to four years,” said Campos. “It’s over. The revolution is growing and we are the bleeding edge of it.”